Monday, April 02, 2007

Learning Cents Makes Sense

I was recently introduced to the Learning Cents Bank and I have to say it is one of the smartest products I have ever seen. My boys have always had "piggy" banks: put the money in, save it, when it's full, take it to the bank. Really not a learning experience other than saving money. Well, with the Learning Cents Bank, children are taught to manage their money. The bank is divided into 3 compartments: Spend, Save, & Give. The Spend compartment requires children to save up for something they have their eye on, this helps to eliminate the "I wants" while out shopping. I have already put this into effect with my son. He wanted something at Target the other day and it was so easy to say, "When you have enough money in your Spend compartment, we can come back." The Save compartment is designed to teach children about long term savings, that will be deposited into an actual savings account. What I really love about this bank though is the Give compartment. My oldest son is 5.5 and this is his first official experience with a "charity" of his choice. We have always done for others, but he has never been able to make a decision like this on his own. I explained to him that he could choose who he wanted to help and his answer was so pure, "sick kids." So, together we decided that his charity would be Shriner's Children's Hospital.

You are probably wondering how the money is earned? Well, the Learning Cents site recommends a weekly allowance. We decided that our son could earn $1 a day depending on the "outcome" of his daily chore chart (we use the Melissa & Doug Responsibility Chart, a GREAT product). The chart includes simple household tasks as well as behavioral goals like "no whining." So, basically he can earn up to $7 a week. At the end of the week, we give him his allowance in $1 bills and he then allocates the money into the different compartments. The first time we did this, I was SURE he was going to put all of the ones in his "spend" compartment, but to my surprise, he put $2 in the Spend, $2 in the Save, and $3 in the Give. I was nearly in tears when he said to me, "I want to give most of my money to sick kids." WOW... a real eye opener. What is amazing, is that this was not a one time thing. My sister had an early "egg hunt" and the eggs were filled with quarters, when he came home, without saying a word, I heard him in his room depositing his money. Every single quarter was in the Give compartment. I told him that it was OK to divide the money up, but that is where he wanted it. He has continued to be very generous, but has also been depositing into the Spend and Save compartments.

As a former teacher and mom, I highly recommend the Learning Cents Bank. It is wonderful learning tool and is made of high quality materials. Some other cool features, a dry erase pen and wipe off lids that allow you to keep track of how much is in each compartment. For older children, the Learning Cents site provides a ledger where they can keep track of all deposits and withdrawals. The bank comes in the Classic Blue version as well as a sparkly pink Girl Sense model. It also comes with adhesive letters that allow you to personalize it with your child's name.

Learning Cents Banks and fabulous "financial" tips for kids can be found on the Learning Cents site. Visit today and teach your children a skill that will "change" their lives!

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