FamZoo: Preparing Kids for the “wild”
Making and Managing Money as a kid
As I’ve mentioned before . . . I grew up loving and being fascinated by money – counting it, managing it, and thinking of ways to make more. Most of my ideas as a kid did not pan out too well.
My famous bomb-of-an-idea was deciding to charge people to come into my room! I was around 8 and at the time I only had a younger sister. I knew I couldn’t charge my mom and dad to come into my room as they owned the house . . . so the sign on my door said something like “Cost to enter Lori’s room – 50 cents. Everyone pays except Mom and Dad (just Kelly has to pay).” Needless to say – I didn’t earn a cent. Kelly just didn’t come in my room, and I had too much of a mercy heart to charge my friends to enter my room. 🙂
Despite bombing at that entrepreneurial idea, one thing I was so thankful that my mom did when I was young was teach me about money management. (I’m sure it helped that I was naturally inclined and interested in learning all I could about making, saving and and managing my money well.) I remember when I was around 9 or 10 she gave me a book about allowances – and in the book it gave a suggested amount I should be earning based upon my parents income. I remember asking my mom how much money my dad made. When she told me, I quickly did the math in my head and then announced to her that I was not receiving enough allowance. 🙂 (I think she suddenly regretted getting me that book! However, my allowance did not increase. Oh well. It was worth a try!)
Managing and Teaching my Kids about Money
As I’ve had kids of my own, I’ve tried various ways to manage and keep track of their allowances as well as teach them about money management. We’ve tried having their allowances tied to chores, not tied to chores, giving it once a week or only once a month.
For me, with 5 kids – simplicity is crucial, and tying it to chores (ie – penalizing or rewarding for chores done) got to be too much work in keeping track and calculating – and then having all the small bills or change needed each week. Add onto that the desire to teach them about the “Spend-Save-Give” plan – and I needed even more small bills and coins so they could divide up their allowance.
We made our own 3-way containers to have separate “Spend, Save & Give” sections. But I found the kids would sneak into the savings part as soon as they heard the familiar delight of the ice cream truck coming down the street. (The containers were discarded about a year ago.)
My kids do each have their own savings accounts – but again, there was not a easy way (all in one place) to keep track of each of their savings goals, to help them manage their “spending money”, and to easily put money in or out (especially when they would hand me 12 cents they found and tell me “put it in my savings mom”. ATM’s don’t take coins!). I think lately I kind of gave up the dream of fully being able to teach my kids financial responsibility while they are young, and being able to have an organized and easy place to track everything (that the kids could have ownership in too – and not just me doing it all).
FamZoo.com – A Virtual Family Bank
I am so thrilled to have found FamZoo.com!
What is it?
From the FamZoo website:
FamZoo is a family friendly web site that helps parents teach children the practical skills they’ll need to thrive in the real world. Our learn-by-doing online tools include:
- A virtual family bank for teaching money basics, managing allowances & chores, setting budgets, tracking savings goals, encouraging charitable giving, and much more.
- Family checklists for making and sharing lists of all kinds: weekly chores, ToDos, homework assignments, groceries … you name it!
Using FamZoo together, families build strong financial, social, and organizational habits in a safe, friendly environment.
FamZoo.com is an online system (no small bills or coins needed each week – as it’s tracked all online) where you are able to keep track of all of your children’s allowances, purchases, savings goals, and more. It has many features to customize it to what will work best for you and your family, and if you have teens, you can even set it up to send text reminders to your child regarding chores, or other things!
I am excited to try FamZoo out and see if it fits our family and helps my kids learn how to manage their money, and help me to keep track of how much I owe who, when, etc! I love anything that makes this busy mom’s life easier! 🙂
A Few Features of FamZoo:
1. Set up like a real bank register
This allows my kids to get used to something like they will be using as an adult.
2. Parental control
Parents and kids have different access to the information, so parents can control the amounts deposited, deducted, etc.
3. Automatic deposits or deductions to various accounts (like Spending, Savings, Charity, Clothing, etc.)
This makes it easy to teach and show my kids how to divide their money in a “spend, save, give” system. You can set up the percentage amounts of the kids allowance into various accounts. Or for younger kids you can keep it simple with one account. You can also add interest to accounts, or even match your child’s savings to teach your kids a valuable lesson about the importance of saving and compound interest. The automatic allowance deposits will keep my kids from being frustrated at this mom for “forgetting”!
Add chores, to-do lists, etc for your kids to earn their allowance or extra money, or even dock them if they don’t do their chores. You can also create extra chores that anyone can claim to make some extra money.
5. Access through cell phone
You can use your cell phone to access your account through “quick commands”.
How much does FamZoo cost?
FamZoo offers a free 2 month trial to all new users – and you don’t have to enter any credit card info unless you like it after the 2 months! (you don’t see that kind of offer very often!) To continue with FamZoo it is only $5.99/month – or as little as $2.50/month for a prepaid plan. That’s only $30 for the year! How much do you spend on your favorite coffee drink each week/month, or to go see a movie? This is definitely not a bad price at all!
And if you change you mind – you can cancel at any time! They really do try to make it as easy and family-friendly as possible.
April is National Financial Literacy Month
This code is good for 3 FREE months of FamZoo for new members and 1 free month for existing members. Can be redeemed by new users on registration page or by existing members on Store tab.
BUT HURRY – it ends on 4/30/2012!