For our young children, it’s about learning what money actually is and there are some great high-tech ways to go about this.
I CAN COUNT MONEY AUSTRALIA
This is a fun little app that allows kids to pay for items, work out the correct change, and count coins and bills. It’s highly interactive – kids can flip, spin and otherwise move coins around and it’s a really easy way to learn about the Australian currency. The iCan Count Money app is available in quite a few other countries too, so keep that in mind if you’re travelling.
AUSSIE KIDS COUNT COINS
This is another currency education option that offers six games to play, each covering a different money-education aspect. There’s learning how to pay for things, giving change, going shopping, selling things, saving lessons and comparing amounts. It’s bright, colourful and definitely worth a try.
Slightly older kids
As our kids get a bit older, it’s not so much about learning what money is as working out how much they have!
If you tie your children’s pocket money to household chores, then Westpac’s Pay Pig app is a cute way to manage that process online. You download the app, set each of your children up with a profile, set them specific chores with a dollar amount attached and track their progress. You don’t have to be a Westpac customer to use it.
It’s not an app as such, but Commonwealth Bank offers a dedicated section of their website – the Beanstalk – to provide online games, videos, money-related activity sheets to download, and savings tips for kids and parents. It’s definitely worth a visit for some inspiration and again, you don’t need to be a Commbank customer to use it.
When kids hit their tweens, spending and saving takes on a new importance! Online security is also vitally important at this age and while there are a large number of finance apps available, all with very cool features, many of these apps demand access to your real-life banking data. That’s something to think carefully about before signing up.
The following two apps have been developed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC’s) MoneySmart team, and don’t need access to your real-life data.
TRACK MY SPEND
When kids are old enough to earn regular pocket money they’re old enough to start using a budget and ASIC’s TrackMySPEND is a terrific budgeting app. It enables you to track your regular day-to-day spending and set savings goals for bigger purchases. Importantly, kids can separate their spending into ‘needs’ and ‘wants’.
TRACK MY GOALS
Another terrific app from the MoneySmart team, TrackMyGOALS lets your kids create savings goals, complete with pictures, nominate the cost of the goal and a timeframe to achieve it. The app then informs them how much they will need to save per week (or fortnight, or month) to achieve the goal. Kids can then track their progress towards the goal over time. It provides fantastic practice in both saving and delayed gratification.
Apps are only one part of the learning-about-money equation, but they do add a bit of fun.