Right now our 6 and almost 4 year old hoard their money in their little nylon wallets, eager to stuff in more but I know that the day of spending will arrive with no end in sight. Rather than appearing like a bottomless pit of money to our two children, we want to begin conveying the value of a dollar and how hard it can be to work for the things they want rather than what they need. Thank goodness for FamZoo!
FamZoo is a family friendly site that allows children to learn about the value of money through a virtual bank account that is tied to real money. Founded by Bill Dwight (aka Chief Dad of 5 kids), the site contains a wealth of easy to use online tools for parents to use to create child accounts to manage allowances, set spending limits, track savings goals, and even add or debit (gasp!) accounts for chores with the goal of building financial, social and organizational habits around money in a safe and friendly environment for kids of all ages.
I could write more about the history of FamZoo, describe the easy set up, and the many features but seeing is believing so here is Bill with an exclusive video for Tech Savvy Mama readers that walks you through the site!
FamZoo costs an affordable $5.99/month but you are welcome to take advantage of the two month free trial so you can try it without commitment. If you are doing mental math and realize that this costs $72 a year, I believe the cost is well worth it. Here are some reasons why.
Child and Adult Friendly
As you could see from Bill’s demonstration, FamZoo is nothing like the dreaded Quicken. It only takes a few minutes to create your family’s FamZoo account and all parent and child accounts. The built in “How Do I” button is extremely helpful if you are feeling stuck or have questions about what to do next. I also like the wizards that make it even easier to set up financial plans for each child’s allowance and setting percentages for dividing allowance into spending, saving, and charitable giving.
FamZoo is easy to navigate thanks to the use of cartoons as avatars and fun illustrations by an award-winning cartoonist populate the pages of the site to make it visually appealing. I appreciate the use of avatars, tabs, and color coding debits versus savings because they help kids navigate the site without knowing how to read. While you may not be giving your 2 or 3 year old an allowance, it isn’t too early to get them acquainted with the site to start teaching them the value of money and how mom and dad like to divide their income into spending, saving, and charitable donations too. And don’t worry, the illustrations aren’t at all cutesy so your tweens and teens won’t find the illustrations dorky!
In keeping with the theme of many visuals, FamZoo provides a wealth of different kinds of graphs for kids to get true understanding of their money. Some kids learn better with bar graphs while others prefer graphs in the pie or line format. FamZoo features all kinds of graphs to provide kids with visual representations of their money so it will make the most sense to them.
FamZoo provides the building blocks for you to set up your accounts according to the way they work best for you, your family, your values, your financial situation, and your children. It is completely flexible. The wizards are there to help you with the calculations but the dollar amounts are purely up to you!
It can be as simple as you need it to be for your elementary aged student and include an allowance for chores but then more sophisticated for your teenager who is always blowing their budget on texting, clothes, movies, and gas.
As an experienced dad, Bill set up a budget for his teens that included an annual budget for clothing, monthly debit for cell phone insurance to cover constantly broken phones, and the ability to track expenses related to hobbies just so his teens could see the costs associated with such endeavors.
**Parents of teens and tweens: I know you want to sign up now! Visit FamZoo and remember 2 months free!
While the set up may be quick, the life-long lessons you teach your child when you sit down and go over FamZoo together are invaluable. FamZoo creates the opportunity for conversations about money and will probably spawn many teachable moments where they bring up questions you might not have thought of or present ideas that will be proud parent moments.
Being able to sit down with my kids and talk about concepts like spending, saving, and charitable giving now will certainly shape how they look at money in the future. While it might not teach them to save every penny, I think it will have an impact on their impulse buying when they can see how long it takes to earn the money they need for their purchases and helps introduce the idea of charitable giving at a young age.
GIVEAWAY: One Tech Savvy Mama family will win a lifetime membership to FamZoo!
To enter, leave a comment about how you think FamZoo can help your family and what the most interesting aspect of the site is, based on Bill’s video tour. Include your e-mail address or Twitter handle.
For extra entries,
- Follow FamZoo on Twitter
- Become a Fan of FamZoo on Facebook
- Subscribe to the FamZoo blog
- Tweet this: @TechSavvyMama recommends @FamZoo 2 teach financial literacy 2 kids- even tweens/teens! Win lifetime membership here: http://bit.ly/cRV4Fh
Winner will be selected on Friday, April 30 and will receive a lifetime unique registration code good for a FamZoo membership.
I received a lifetime membership to FamZoo and was compensated for my time in evaluating the site and writing this review.
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Original post by Tech Savvy Mama