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Understanding how to manage money is key to developing independence skills. For many young adults the actual skill of counting out money is not there. With our daughter, we started with the basics of recognising coins, but counting out money is an ongoing process. Luckily, in this world of high tech, she probably won’t need to worry as much about the counting as perhaps we did. Yet we still look for ways to make her familiar with the concept of earning money, and then having the freedom to spend that money on what she wants.
In order to get her used to managing her own money we started with Rooster Money (See below for more information on this app. Currently, it’s free). After a while she wanted her own ‘real’ bank account, which we are currently working with. There are other apps out there but this is the one we used, mainly because we didn’t want to go straight down the ‘live’ bank account route.
The other thing we did was encourage our daughter to track her spending using the Wally app.
(Currently, it’s free) This helps her to see where she is spends her money. Basically you put in where you spent, when you spent and what you bought with your money. Obviously it is reliant on remembering to do it, but we found it’s a start to at least helping her know where her money goes.
She has moved on to a ‘real’ bank account and contactless card but she still uses Wally. We are at the early days of using the contactless card so when we know more about the pitfalls we will share them here. One day soon we are going to talk about looking at bank statement (online of course) and then comparing this to her Wally spending. This will part of developing her money skills.
We found this app is a good starting point to understand how money works, without actually giving her access to real money. It’s not so much about how to handle actual money but to help her understand its value. Spending money is an abstract concept. However, once she saw money disappear from her Rooster Money account she suddenly started to think about what she wanted. Recently at a museum, where she always needs an ‘invaluable’ souvenir, she wasn’t so keen when she saw the change in her Rooster Money balance if she bought the souvenir. Basically you download the app and set up an account for your young person. They can access their part of the account from their own smartphones. I had it set up to transfer a set amount each week (payment for the chores she does each week). My daughter could then look and see how much money she has in the bank. When she wanted to buy something, then it was a case of her looking on her Rooster Bank app to see if she had enough cash in the bank. If she did, then she got the cash from me and we deducted that amount from her Rooster Bank account.
We didn’t use any of the other additional features like setting goals but these may work for saving towards big purchases. We felt it was really useful at giving her an understanding of the idea of a bank account with limited risk.