Did you know that children's attitudes to money can be well formed by the age of seven? When I first heard this I was incredibly surprised. However, when I think back to my attitudes to money as a child, I began to realise that I was pretty careful with my money from a fairly young age. I don't know if that was to do with the fact that I liked collecting things, or the fact that I wanted to save money. I certainly collected money in almost any receptacle from around the age of 9 until I was 16. We have been trying out the new pocket money app, Jangle. This is a free app which has been developed by Experian and Sarah Willingham from Dragons Den.
Last year I was invited to lunch to try out the app with the team and a selection of wonderful bloggers. I was really interested in the app as I believe that financial education is incredibly important. The app aims to help to teach your children money skills, and also to make you life a little bit easier too! The idea behind the app is that children can save their pocket money for something specific and they can use the app to track their progress towards their goal. It is incredibly useful for parents because your children are making their own decisions about saving and spending choices, based on their own needs. Children can choose the amount they need to save and then money is added into a virtual pot where they can see the progress to the target. It's incredibly visual which I think really encourages children as they can see as they get closer to their goal.
My children are four and six at the moment and we started giving them pocket money for the first time last year. They get a flat rate of 50p a week, which can be topped up by 10p per chore. When we first started giving them money, we took them to the sweet shop in the village. My son spent all his money on sweets and my daughter just bought one sweet and saved the rest of the money. When we got home, my son was devastated that he didn't have any money left. To solve the problem, I bought half of his sweets off him (and ate them), so that he had some money again. He learned that lesson and now likes to save some of his money each time.
I can't emphasise enough how vital it is to understand the importance of money. To recognise influences on spending and saving, to decide whether or not items are value for money and to learn about the risks of borrowing money. It is invaluable. The best piece of advice I was ever given about money came from my grandma "if you can't afford it, don't buy it"! It has served me well throughout my years. I have never taken out a loan I couldn't afford or been ridiculously overdrawn. My only real debt is my student debt and I have no idea when I will be able to earn enough to start paying that back! I firmly believe that our children's financial education should begin as young as possible in order to equip children with the tools they need to understand and manage money well throughout their lives.
Jangle, the app is aimed at children aged 7-11. I think it's a brilliant app. Children learn well through experience rather than learning through instruction, and this app is a great way to do this. To find out more, check out the Jangle's website.
The app is currently only available from the app store to download to iPad and iPhone. However there will be an app for android which will be released in the spring.