If you want your kids to learn about the value of money in a way that’s both educational and fun, then encourage them to download an app — or three. Below are 8 of the most popular and kid-friendly money management apps available, and the best part is that they are all free.
FamZoo Family Finance
(Available at: Apple Appstore; Age range: 5-18)
This app functions as a virtual bank. Parents are the “bankers” and the kids are the “customers.” The whole family is connected, so it’s easy to move money around. Aside from teaching kids how to save money and track their spending over time, parents can transfer real money to them with prepaid and reloadable debit cards. Other useful features include the ability to give your kids loans, and then teach them how to pay them back in installments.
(Available at Apple Appstore; Age range: 5-8)
This app functions like a virtual piggybank where kids save for a special purchase. They can post pictures of it and keep track of how close they are to making that purchase. They open virtual accounts, with unique PIN numbers, to give them a sense of responsibility for their money. As kids get closer to their goal, parents can contribute virtual money to help them.
This app lets kids experience what it’s like to be a virtual investor. They start off with a single lemonade stand and depending on how successful they are at managing it, they can acquire more complex companies, including banks and oil companies. They also learn important management lessons by having to hire employees for their various companies.
(Available at: Apple Appstore; Age range: 5-12)
Designed to teach kids how to manage their money, this app includes a wish list that helps them compare the cost of items they would like to buy, and track how much progress they have made towards making those purchases. This helps kids not only learn to save money, but also to budget for and prioritize different goals. They are also encouraged to be generous by setting aside money for charity.
Star Banks Adventure
This app teaches kids more complex money management principles, including asset allocation, diversification, and the dangers of risky investments. Kids act as space aliens who perform various “jobs” for which they are paid. Other useful features include short quizzes on financial concepts that allow them to earn extra money. Kids will learn how to save, spend wisely, invest and set financial goals.
This app teaches kids to keep track of how much money they have earned from their parents and how much money is still owed to them. Kids set savings goals and then can see, through easy-to-use charts, how close they are to reaching them. The app includes a so-called “safe” option where kids can send money to a virtual safe, thereby teaching them to distinguish between short-term and long-term savings goals.
Created by 11-year-old Dani Gafni and her father, Etay, for their own family’s needs, this app teaches kids how to save and budget their allowances and other sources of income. Kids open up virtual bank accounts where they set specific savings goals and then track their ability to reach them. It simulates real bank accounts by registering allowances as recurring payments and encouraging kids to balance their accounts.
This app is for teenagers who want to learn how to better budget their money. Linked to one or more real bank accounts, it includes charts and data visualizations that display past spending patterns and information about their current finances, which help kids identify potential areas for savings. This also lets them create more realistic budgets for the future. Other useful features include reminders of when bills are due and a receipt database.