New Technology Teaches Kids How to Save

Ten-year-old Evan Lipset is learning how to delay gratification one mouse click at a time. With the help of the interactive online allowance tracker, ThreeJars.com, he can sit back and watch his money grow and choose to either save, spend or share it.

Since logging onto the Website 10 months ago, he’s decided to save his allowance to the tune of $500, an absolute triumph if you ask his mom, Debra.

“Evan couldn’t hold on to money,” she says. “If he got a dollar or if he got birthday money he’d spend it immediately on really silly things…now, he’s running home from school and jumping on the computer to check his balance.”

When it’s time for his $10 per-week allowance, Evan receives an IOU from his parents, which is deposited into his virtual account on the Web site. His account also earns a small amount of interest. The site charges $30 a year after a free, two-week trial, but his mom says it’s worth every penny because it’s helping her son to prioritize and set financial goals, something she never thought possible at his age.

Online kid-friendly money management tools like ThreeJars, Zefty and FamilyMint show that financial literacy can start at home, perhaps more easily than ever before. While it’s important for parents to talk to their children about the importance of saving, these Web sites demonstrate that it can be equally — if not, more — effective to show them and have kids take the driver’s seat. Cool graphics and animations help, too. Evan says he likes the fact that ThreeJars looks and feels like a video game.

But while he loves technology, Evan’s apparently turned into an even bigger fan of saving. He initially set out to save for an iPad, but is now having second thoughts, with bigger goals in mind. “I could save it for college,” he says.

And something tells me, he will.