My children want everything they see. I can't tell you how many times a week my son pauses the DVR and runs to get me to show me something else he "has to have". He usually gets the typical "put it on your Christmas list", and sometimes this suffices. But, sometimes if it is really really cool, he commences to pouting, which brings me to the discussion of how money doesn't grow on trees and how all those things he wants can add up to a lot of money. Sometimes he gets it and sometimes he doesn't. Usually dependent on where we are at the moment. If we are in a store and the item he craves is directly within touch, the concept of money flies out the window. That is what started my search for a product that would visually give him an understanding of how money works!
My search yielded great results. I found a company online called Money Savvy Generation, which helps teach children and teens how to properly save and invest money. What I loved and what touched me most about this company, is that its co-founder Susan Beacham did not set out to design a product solely for the purpose of turning a profit. Instead, Susan has a dream of teaching our children, the next generation of leaders, the basic concepts of personal finance. It is her dream that children learn at a young age how to manage money so they are not faced with the hardship many adults have found themselves in today. She has donated hours of her time to go to schools and teach the Money Savvy Kids Basic Personal Finance Curriculum (It literally brings tears to my eyes when I think about her dedication) and her dream is to have these lessons reach more families and children across the globe.
What Makes it Unique: The Money Savvy Generation has a unique approach to the traditional piggy bank. Instead of simply dropping coins into a slot, a child is faced with different categories toward saving. The banks (we chose the Moolah Cow) have slots for Save, Spend, Donate and Invest. Before letting the children just drop in the coins without any understanding of what they are doing, we were able to sit down and go through the Money Savvy coloring and activity book that teaches children what it means to save and the importance of donating and investing. By the time we finished reading and doing the activities in the book, I felt reassured that my children understood what the bank stood for and the importance of thinking about their money spending habits. They also offer a story book within their Money Savvy Kids Club that teaches children through interactions with the characters in the book. I highly recommend getting either the coloring book or book set in conjunction with a bank, so that you can get the most out of this product and assure your kids understand the concept behind it.
I also want to link to a page that has some wonderful videos. One is called 5 Tips to Teach Your Kids About Money which directly addresses how to begin teaching your child about money. It's a great place to start if you have no clue on how to begin.
The Good: When I first started out setting the bank on the table, the kids immediately wanted to start dropping coins into it. They didn't read the labels on the side and just thought it was "cool" that they had the different slots to choose from. My mom mode kicked in...."STOP", I told them...and had them empty out the money. I wanted their start with this bank to be done right. We sat down and completed a list of their money saving goals. They took turns discussing about what they really wanted and wrote it down in the activity book. Apparently, my son wants the hook up on a Nintendo DS and my daughter wants a horse. We talked about college (yes, they are only 8 and 10, but they already think that college is not an option but a normal continuation of their schooling), and about saving for their first car (my daughter's long term goal). We even discussed what charity they would like to donate some of their money to, of which, they chose the Ronald McDonald house.
Then, once I felt confident that they understood what the Moolah Cow bank was designed for, I let them have fun filling it whichever way they wanted, after they "paid themselves first" by placing a few of their coins in the Invest slot. When I gave them their $1.00 coin, I let them choose how they wanted to spend it. I was so proud at their choice...donate.
They got it!!! They understood the concept and every time they get money now, they do indeed think about how they want it to be spent. The bank comes with labels that can identify which goal they are working towards, but since my children are sharing their bank, we didn't apply them as each has different goals.
I have nothing bad to say about this product, and for that reason, I give it my seal of approval!!!
How to Buy: The Money Savvy banks can be purchased directly from the Money Savvy Generation website. They have a variety of styles...pigs, cows, footballs...and each costs $16.99. These products are also available in some retail locations. Check your state to see if there is a retail store near you!
Money Savvy Generation has offered one of my readers a chance to win their very own Money Savvy Bank. It's easy to enter. Just complete the mandatory entry requirements below, assure your email address is visible in your profile or within your comment and enter any bonus entries for extra chances at winning! This giveaway is open to U.S. residents, aged 18+ and only where not prohibited by law. To read a complete list of rules, regulations, disclaimer and disclosure, please visit the Legal page. I will use random.org to choose a winner and the winner will have five business days to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
This giveaway is open until September 26, 2010 at midnight central time.
Mandatory Entry: Visit the Money Savvy Generation website and tell me something you learned from the site!
Bonus Entries: The mandatory entry must be done before any of the bonus entries will count. Leave a separate comment for each entry.
- "Like" Money Savvy Generation on Facebook to show your support! (+1 entry)
- Follow co-founder of Money Savvy Generation on Twitter (+1 entry)
- Follow Critique of the Unique on Twitter (+1 entry)
- Follow Critique of the Unique by Google Friend Connect (+2 entries)
- Comment anywhere on Susan Beacham's blog. Link me to the post. (+2 entries)
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