Teaching Your Kids the Value of a Dollar With Virtual Piggy
Disclosure: I received a promotional item for my thoughts about Virtual Piggy. All opinions are my own.
Did you know…
· American kids get a hefty $780 per year in allowance, on average, but almost none is saved! – TIME Magazine
· 88% parents say, “knowing how to spend their money well” is the 2nd most important factor to their child’s success (Source: JWT Intelligence)
· Yet, only half of all families talk money with their kids (Source: TIME)
Emma is turning 7 this fall and has been interested in doing odd chores around the house for money. As her class works on money concepts like counting she is becoming more aware of it’s value. Although we have not given any of our children an allowance, we do give them the opportunity to earn money by going above and beyond our “you live here and we all contribute” chores. As much as we’d like to, we just don’t buy into giving them an allowance because they’re cute .
I recently became aware of an online site that helps teach kids to manage, track and spend their money. Virtual Piggy is a parent-controlled & safe environment – plus, helps to ignite an invaluable financial literacy conversation at home.
Signing up for an account and keeping it are free. The sign up process is quick and simple asking only the basic things like your name and address. To complete the process you will need to provide a credit card number to fund your child’s account or attach your Paypal account (currently only two stores in the list accept Paypal).
In Emma’s case we did not set up a weekly allowance. As she earns money, though, we will make a deposit into her wallet that she can then spend at the participating online stores.
Here is just a small glimpse at the list of participating stores that Emma can spend her earnings at. Virtual Piggy also has store gift cards that can be earned/purchased for brick and mortar shopping.
Although Emma does not use Virtual Piggy without our supervision, if by chance she were to sign in during her computer play time and start shopping there are safeguards built in. Virtual Piggy will alert her when she is about to leave the site.
Emma can browse the shopping site, add items to her shopping basket and even begin the checkout process. Here at Claires you can see the checkout with Virtual Piggy button. If Emma were to try to purchase the headband she has been asking for she would begin with that button.
As much as she wants it, if she has not earned the money in her Virtual Piggy account the order will not go through. She will receive the “We’re sorry. Your purchase cannot be completed because you do not have the sufficient funds in your Virtual Piggy wallet.” message.
That’s ok! though. Emma can log into her Virtual Piggy account and make a wish list of items to work towards.
Here Emma can add her headband to her wish list as well as other items from any of the participating stores. They will stay on her account for her view and I can see them from my account as well. I love this because even if Emma hasn’t earned enough to purchase the item herself, I can see it and possibly pick the item up myself to surprise her for extra effort, a good grade or for whatever reason I choose. Sometimes little incentives can be hard to come up with… this allows me in her head a bit and I can surprise her with something she actually wants.
Virtual Piggy gives parents total control over every aspect including approving purchases, adding/removing funds and adding approved stores to shop at. As your child grows and becomes more capable of making appropriate purchases you can relax the parental control a bit. Emma can see her balance grow, choose to donate, save or spend and all without the chance of losing her little coin purse or loose change while playing with it (yes, this has happened many many times) or squandering it away a quarter at a time in a vending machine.
This is definitely a site that will help (and encourage) Emma to work towards her goals and see that the items she desires do cost money. No more “But you have a credit card!” statements to my “We don’t have enough money for that right now.” response when asked for a particular toy during a shopping trip.