In my day pocket money used to be a small amount which we could store in our piggy bank and take to the paper shop every week where we could buy sweets and comics. I never really learnt very much about money management and I wish that I had. These days things have changed with a new system that allows children to access their pocket money online – PKTMNY.
The system is aimed at children aged 8 -16. As the parent of a 12 year old boy I was interested in trying it out. At the moment my son gets £10 a month pocket money which he tends to save up in his piggy bank until he had enough to buy something he wants. I wanted him to become more aware of money and using debit cards and this system seemed perfect. I created an account on-line and set it up to transfer £10 a month into his account. My son can then log-into his account and see how much money he has.
It is not much use having the money in an on-line account unless he can spend it. PKTMNY send out a pre-paid debit card which he can use when he finds something he wants to spend his money on. He can use the card at a cash machine, on-line or in store, depending on what I have allowed. If I did not want him to use a cash machine I can turn this feature off. In addition to this the card is set up with restrictions which means that he is not able to buy adult goods, like that 18 game he has his eye on! This means I do not have to worry that he is gambling on-line. I can also set limits on the card before my son can use it.
The thing I really like about the PKTMNY system is that my son can log in and see his own account. There is a nice bar chart that shows him exactly how much money he has in his account and how it is increasing every time he gets his pocket money. He can add a savings target so if there is something special he is saving for he can see if he is near the target or not. I can also set tasks which will enable him to earn more money. If he washes the car or helps me do the cleaning he can earn extra. He can see the tasks and how much he can earn for doing it. All I can say is that the car has never looked so clean!
There is also a spending option so he can see what he has been spending his money on. This is very useful as he tends to think that me and his dad go into his piggy bank and take his money, when he has actually spent it. This way he has proof in front of his eyes that he spent it! He can also add items he would like to buy to a wish list, this allows him to see how much things cost and how long it might take to save which is important in managing money. (It also gives me ideas for things he might want for a present).
When I first introduced my son to the system he was very interested and excited about getting a debit card. I sat down with him and explained how it all worked and he has really taken to looking at his savings to see how they are progressing each week. He has been happily adding to his wish list as his savings grow. I think the system has been quite useful in helping him realise that by doing extra jobs he can earn more money as he has been really keen to help out since we registered. He keeps checking to see how much he has and if he has enough to get the things he want to buy yet. He is definitely gaining more of an awareness of money since he has been using this system.
I think this is a really good way to teach a child about budgeting and the use of a debit card. So often we do not think of a debit or credit card as real money which can lead to debt problems. I am hoping the use of his own debit card will avoid these problems when he gets older.
PKTMNY costs an initial £5 when you register for a card and there is £1 a month service charge. If cash is withdrawn your child will encur a 50p charge.