When we talk to parents about financial education, many mention how their children are spenders or savers. Savers collect their pocket money for a rainy day, while spenders, well, spend. Money burns holes in their pockets. Teaching kids about money is as much about teaching kids about how to spend wisely, as it is about learning to earn and save. Here we bring together some of the best tips on helping children to spend in a digital world. 

Ask “what would a smart kid do?”

Academics agree that talking to them early about money (“you have to pay for it”) is a good way to start. Finance expert Beth Kobliner believes that sometimes you can help a child to remove themselves emotionally from a tempting situation – such as wanting an expensive toy – by asking them what someone else would do. You could let your child decide who that person might be, it could be someone like a grandparent, a best friend or a favorite TV character who might normally encourage them to save. Someone who would offer similar advice to yourself. Kids like to give advice themselves so this helps them to think calmly about their choices and avoid impulses. 

The difference between want and need

Another useful way of teaching kids about money is ask them to explain to you the difference between something they wanted and something they needed. Ask them to list the last five things they bought and decide which category they fall into. Another useful exercise is involving kids in the household finances to help them understand what it costs to run a house.

Set guidelines around pocket money

We all know that our kids need some regularity and structure in their lives so it might be a good idea to give your children their pocket money on the same day each week or month. You could agree from the start on what you will pay for and what they will pay for. Once they are old enough, encourage them to write down what they spend so they know exactly where their money goes. If they overspend and ask for more don’t give in! This will help to regulate their spending and help them to control and plan their behaviour. 

Budgeting 

Getting children to make choices related to money can also help them start to think about how they might save in order to afford things. On your way to a day out at the zoo you could help your kids work out the best way to spend money during the visit. They may discover that not spending money on sweets might allow them to buy something they want in the gift shop. Any money they save could go into their savings or Pigzbe account to pay for the next trip. In their Pigzbe app, which we’ve designed specifically for teaching kids about money, children can visualise these savings through the Pigzbe money tree and keep that money for the next trip.

Praise

It can be understandably hard for kids to resist temptation. When your child is struggling, tell them how tough it can be to wait for something that you really want, and tell them of a situation where you yourself had to wait for something. It’s always good to then praise them if they resist that impulse purchase.

Handling both physical and digital money

When you are in the shop next with your child why not explain the process. When you tap your card to pay for items describe to them that the money now comes off your balance in your account. You could also do this with physical cash. Withdraw the money from an ATM and show them the numbers coming out of your account. The cash in their hand will seem less abstract than watching you tap your contactless-card on the machine. And it might even help you with your own purse strings! An MIT study revealed that people spend twice as much when using a card over cash.

If you are uncomfortable letting your child see your balance after a purchase you can now use child-friendly debit cards such as GoHenry. Paying for things with their pocket money can be used with their card. And parents can see what the child has bought and where. Via these apps they can put money in savings pots, view their spending and their balances.

You can make this more complex as your children get older. When you take them to the shop, let them choose the best value items. You could give them the money that they’ve saved as a reward. The idea is to get them to think about how they spend money. The more that goes out, the less they’ll have for other things.

How Pigzbe helps children spend wisely 

How Pigzbe helps children spend money wisely

We designed Pigzbe to help children think more about how they spend. Any outgoings are visualised on their money tree so that they have a digital history of how much money they’ve spent and when. Thanks to our partnership with Wirex, kids can also spend their hard earned digital pocket money in the real world with the Wirex Visa card – with approval from mum and dad, of course. 

Find out more about how Pigzbe’s digital piggy bank and kids pocket money app can be used to help kids aged 6+ learn smart money skills. And if you want more practical tips and tricks for managing pocket money at home, with or without Pigzbe, learn more about the benefits and disadvantages of pocket money on our blog