piggy banks do not teach kids about real banksA piggy bank teaches kids how to put cash in and take cash out. Piggy banks are cute and sometimes clever. However, piggy banks do not teach kids about real banks. 

Piggy banks are storage containers

Today’s piggy banks provide new features claiming to make them more educational. Let’s meet some piggy banks and see how they compare to adult banking.  

The chambered piggy bank offers four choices for adding money, namely save, spend, invest, or donate. 

Some adults do manage their money in such an envelope-type system. Most of us do not immediately divide our money this way. The number one objective is, or should be, to pay our bills. It is through budgeting that we identify funds for saving, investing, or donating.

The money counter piggy bank counts coins but not paper money. Most require the child to manually lower the counter to show the new balance after money is taken out. Not sure what the child does with paper money.

Your bank automatically and always processes your money, coin and paper, as a number. Your money exists in the bank as number such as $1,234.56 or $63.15.

When you ask about your balance the teller pulls up your account on a computer screen and finds the number that represents your money. When you log in to your online bank account you see that one number that shows your balance.

The cough-it-up piggy bank requires the child to press the pig’s snout and tip it forward to release money from the mouth. 

Adults do not need to manipulate their bank to withdraw money. They do need to know how much money they have and have available a money card, check or other transaction form.  

How to teach kids about banking

As parents, we live in a world of digital money where many transactions in our accounts never exist in the form of physical cash. Adults see money in and money out, number in and number out.

What if, instead of using a piggy bank, you taught your kids to keep a written record on paper or a computer spreadsheet? Your kids will see money in and money out, number in and number out.

With such an approach the very act of spending money requires a child to think through the process. Subtracting from the balance makes the number smaller. 

When depositing money a child has to think again. Adding to the balance makes the number bigger.

With these types of hands-on experiences a child sees how money choices change the balance in the account. Helping kids track money as a number is good training for the adult world where money exists as a number.

Piggy banks can’t teach about real banks. Parents and The No-Cash Allowance book can. 

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