by James K
For kids, the digitalization of money is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, apps and games make it easy for kids to learn about money in a fun and engaging way. On the other hand, many kids have a hard time internalizing basic concepts like spending and saving if they don’t get some experience with paper money and coins first. However, money apps can be an excellent teaching tool once kids know how cash works. Much like the budgeting apps available for adults, kids’ money apps make saving more fun and easier to track. Here are seven of our favorites.
Virtual Piggy. Available on Android and iOS, Virtual Piggy is a free app that allows children to manage their budget and savings, donate to charities, monitor transactions and much more. They can also use this tool to shop at their favorite stores and check out using their user name and password, protecting their identity and your credit card numbers. If the purchase is in line with parental controls, it goes through.
Allowance. A+ Allowance is unique because it is built around a payment system for chores. This free iOS app encourages children to learn that they must earn their money, and then it helps them manage and spend it. You can pick your child’s weekly chores, and it will assign an amount for each that you’re free to edit as you wish. It tracks completed chores and earnings, and divides weekly sums into 10 percent giving, 10 percent investing, 10 percent savings and 70 percent spending.
Savings Spree. Savings Spree will set you back $5.99, but this award-winning iOS app offers children five and older a wide variety of money lessons. They’ll learn how to earn money and avoid impulse purchases, how to set saving and spending goals, and numerous other important financial lessons. As the child is rewarded or penalized based on his or her financial performance, it helps develop financial discipline.
Bee Farming. Bee Farming starts your child off with a barebones bee farming business. Your child will have 10 weeks to grow her $100 into $500,000 and, along the way, will learn how to budget and time the market. Note that, for only $2.99, this iOS app offers great graphics, but is a bit complicated for younger children. It is more suitable for children 10 and up.
The Game of Life. The Game of Life is the electronic version of the classic board game. It costs a mere $0.99 on iTunes and helps kids understand the value of making good financial decisions, budgeting and saving. It also gives them a sense of the major purchases they’ll face in the future.
Kids Money. Kids Money is a free iOS app that is excellent for preparing children for large purchases. Its beauty lies in its simplicity, meaning little Joey or Mary doesn’t need to be on the fast track to MIT to use it. It allows your child to enter how much he or she needs for a purchase, his weekly pocket money and gift money. Then, it tells him how much he needs to make the purchase and how long it’ll take to save that amount.
P2K Money. The P2K Money iOS app is a free, easy-to-use tool for your child to manage his income, spending and budget. It doesn’t offer the top-notch graphics of some of the other mentioned apps, but its simplicity makes it a great way to teach kids financial responsibility without an information overload.