Invisible money. Many years ago, the thought of such a thing would have never crossed anyone’s mind. But in today’s digital age, where electronic transfers and tap and go are on the rise, teaching kids about invisible money has become increasingly important.
Unfortunately, because fewer transactions are being made with actual physical cash, it has become more challenging for kids to wrap their heads around how money really works. Nowadays, most kids don’t even realize that digital money is still real money.
Teaching Kids About “Invisible Money”
Teaching kids financial education can help set them up for financial success. Exposing them to situations where money is exchanged may have been ideal years ago, but in a world where entertainment and groceries are bought online, and cards are swiped, it’s something they rarely experience.
That being said, many kids have the misconception “invisible money” is an unlimited resource rather than real money that gets added and deducted from their parents’ bank accounts. So how can you teach your kids about money and the value of saving when it is invisible?
You can start by being intentional and looking for (and creating) teachable moments whenever possible. This can be done by creating a scenario where they make and manage their own money. This is where revolutionary apps like BusyKid come in handy.
The easy-to-use app is designed to motivate kids to save, invest, share, and spend allowance they earned while helping with the household chores. You can also take financial education a notch higher by introducing them to kids debit card.
BusyKid’s Visa® Prepaid Spend Debit Card is not only easy to use, it is also one of the most secure and effective ways to teach them to properly manage money they can’t see.
Golden Opportunities to Talk to Your Kids About Money
Below are some key opportunities you can use to talk and teach your kids about money, both invisible and real.
Getting cash out of the ATM
Each time you withdraw money from the ATM, use it as an opportunity to teach your kids that money you are withdrawing will be deducted from your checking or savings account. It would also be worthwhile to explain that you had to work to earn the money being withdrawn. Explaining this can help reinforce the concept of financial responsibility.
Purchasing apps and games online
Each time your child asks you to download an app or game on a tablet or smartphone, involve them in the purchase process rather than just handing the device back when completed. You can also use this opportunity to explain how much the game or app costs.
If they get paid for helping around the house, you can also encourage them to use a portion of the money they have saved, so they can start to understand the reward process of purchasing something with the money they earned through hard work, essentially teaching them that hard work pays off.
Some statistics show that 61% of kids purchase apps or make in-app purchases regularly. Therefore, it is crucial to establish ground rules to ensure your kids are aware of their spending and its rewards, along as consequences.
To help them become more familiar with digital transactions, you can guide them through the process when they use their debit cards to make purchases online. This is an excellent opportunity to show them that the invisible money used to pay for their purchases is deducted from the balance that’s available on their card.
You can also take the opportunity to teach them the basics of how debit cards work. For instance, it is important to teach them that their spending will be limited by the balance that’s available on the card. When the balance available is not sufficient to cover the amount of the item they want to purchase, their transaction will be declined.
To help your kids understand debit and credit cards better, below are some of the basics they need to know:
Personal versus Borrowed Funds
With a debit card, they are accessing money they have in the bank and not borrowing money they have to pay at a later time. They also won’t need to pay for interest on purchases made. However, in some cases, banks can charge monthly fees like most credit card companies.
Unless, there’s draft protection, they won’t be able to spend more than what they have in their accounts each time they use their debit cards. Unlike credit cards, debit cards won’t be able to help them establish their credit ratings since they are not borrowing money.
With a credit card, they need to make sure they don’t go beyond the credit limit provided. If they do, certain penalties can apply. Typically, a credit card’s spending limit is static (although it can increase if they handle their spending responsibly overtime).
By contrast, they need to pay attention to their bank balance when using a debit card. The spending limit of their debit card will depend on the amount they have on their card. Understandably, the amount can fluctuate on a daily basis.
Where the Cards Can Be Used
Kids should be able to use their debit cards anywhere they can use their credit cards as most are offered by the same companies that offer credit accounts. However, when a debit card is swiped, an ID might be required.
When using a credit card, you need to teach your kids that they need to pay back at least a portion of what they spend every month. It is recommended that you provide the much-needed guidance as kids don’t often understand the importance of keeping track of their spending and payment schedules.
Unlike credit cards, prepaid cards won’t require monthly payments. However, you need to teach them to monitor their bank statements on a regular basis to ensure all the recorded transactions are authorized and accurate.
Like with most life lessons, the sooner you teach your kids about financial responsibility, money management, and invisible money, the better. Kids who are taught how to be financially responsible early on, are less likely to get stuck in a vicious and dangerous debt cycle. They are also better prepared for emergencies and might even have enough to support their communities and give to charity.
As a parent, you can also get your kids’ financial education off to a great start by downloading the free BusyKid app here.