In the past year, we’ve really grown a lot around here. The kids keep getting older (how does that happen?) and we’re growing as parents as we’re navigating new waters with the kids.
One of those new experiences for us? Allowances.
A few months ago we started giving the kids a weekly allowance. And every week, as we distribute allowances, we have a good opportunity to talk to the kids about money.
This is the kids’ first real experience with earning money – and subsequently figuring out what to do with those earnings once it’s theirs. (Save it? Spend it? Donate? Or maybe some combination of the three?)
I remember as a kid, from the very first day we started earning our first allowance, our parents told us we needed to save half of everything we made. It wasn’t a complicated calculation and, since my sisters and I were accustomed to thinking in halves from that very first allowance, we never missed that portion that was already earmarked for our savings accounts. That “Save Half” mentality grew with me over the years and even as I started taking on part-time, after-school jobs, half of everything I made went directly to savings. And (for the most part), I never gave it a second thought. Until I turned 18 and was ready to head off to college. And I realized that I had quite a good deal saved up by that point. In fact, with those savings, I was able to make a large dent in my own college tuition bill. As I continued to work throughout my undergraduate years, I was able to keep up that saving mentality and pay my own way through all four years, without a student loan.
That very early lesson of saving versus spending was one of the most powerful lessons my parents gave me as a kid.
And that’s just one reason my husband and I want to find a way to share the importance of saving versus spending with our own kids. So that they can grow to be financially savvy.
So I’m thrilled to find Virtual Piggy to be our trusted assistant on that journey. Virtual Piggy is all about teaching kids about money and how to save, spend and donate safely online.
Here’s how Virtual Piggy works:
1. Sign up for a parent account. Here’s where you’ll provide a credit card and a shipping address. (Don’t worry. Your information is stored under the highest level security available. Also… your kids never have access to it AND you get to set up complete parental controls. See Step 2.)
2. Set up controls on each child account. Here’s where you can designate approved merchants and transaction limits, among others.
3. Your child shops and checks out using the Virtual Piggy button. And how does that work? Again, your child never has access to your credit card number. So to complete a transaction, your child enters their Virtual Piggy user name and password. They never are asked for their name, e-mail, mailing address or credit card number.
4. Virtual Piggy checks the parental controls. Does your child’s purchase pass the parental parameters you set up? If so, Virtual Piggy allows the purchase to finalize.
Easy peasy, lemon squeezy, as my son would say.
Here’s what else I love about Virtual Piggy:
• Wishlists – My son can create wish lists of the items he’d love. This will be a great motivator so he can keep a reminder of what it is he’s saving to buy. But it also will make it easy to share with family members who ask for suggestions (sometimes specific suggestions) on items he might want as gifts. Since I don’t want just anyone to be able to access that information, I can approve who has access to that list.
• Parental controls – There are multiple controls that we can use as we teach our kids. We can set allowances and we can also set goals (for savings or for charity donations). If I want to be able to approve each individual purchase my son or daughter makes, I can do that with Virtual Piggy. I can also set limits on the amount they can spend or restrict them from shopping at a particular merchant altogether.
• Grows with your child – As your child grows (and so does his or her understanding of money), you can choose to loosen some of the parental controls, if you wish. Or keep them all the same as when you started with Virtual Piggy. It’s totally up to you. And that’s exactly why I love it.
• Charitable giving – I love that there’s a special focus on charitable giving built right in to Virtual Piggy. We can help our kids create a donation goal.
• Variety of merchants and charities – There’s a great selection of merchants and charitable organizations (over 250) that currently work with Virtual Piggy.
• Online safety – When a child is ready to shop, he or she can just click on any particular merchant (on the Virtual Piggy site). They’ll be taken directly to the manufacturer’s website, so they’re looking and shopping the same site that any other consumer would be. And here’s where the safety comes in. There’s an orange “Virtual Piggy” button right on the checkout screen. Click that and they’ll enter their Virtual Piggy name and password. That’s it. No other information needed.
Win Your Wishlist
If you’re ready to try Virtual Piggy, be sure to create a Wishlist today. Right now there’s a “Win Your Wishlist” sweepstakes going on. Virtual Piggy will choose (randomly) 10 kids to win the contents of their wishlist, up to $500! Earn extra entries by sharing on social media and getting friends to register and join. You’ll have to be quick, though. The Win Your Wishlist sweepstakes ends tomorrow (Friday, 12/7).
Virtual Piggy Member Value Program
Also through January 15, check for special promo codes available to Virtual Piggy members, through the Member Value Program.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post from Splash Creative Media on behalf of Virtual Piggy. All opinions are my own.