As parents, we have to remember to teach our kids a million things. Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. Too much of a good thing is not good. Wear sun screen. As they get older, it is imperative that we teach them about money. In the old days, using cash was a tangible and real way of adding and subtracting money. We could see what we had and what we had left. Today, with credit cards, gift cards and digital shopping outlets, money is almost an abstract concept.
Several years ago my daughter had saved several gift cards to purchase an I-pod. Her austerity was impressive. One day, while on vacation, she went shopping with her cousin and her cards without doing any kind of research. Later that day I showed her how I could have purchased the same item for 25% less. I pointed out that she had been so good at saving her money but then squandered it in seconds because she did not do some simple research. Needless to say, her I-pod was broken in a matter of months. She began to save her money again and before purchasing her new I-pod, she sat with me to research and comparison shop several retail outlets.
My parents taught me about money but several of those lessons no longer apply; comparison shopping is as easy as downloading an app, money is a digital unit and shopping is as easy as a click. To teach our kids financial responsibility, we created an account on Virtual Piggy. After inputting our parental controls, the kids can manage their money and make purchases. The best part is that the parental controls make sure that your kids can’t go hog wild but still gives them the power to spend their money.