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When I was a kid, I saved all my pennies to buy baseball cards from the ice cream man. I had no idea how much they cost. I just knew that if I put a pile of coins on the counter, he would give me packages of cards. Up until recently, my children were the same way. The products have changed, but the idea of taking a pile of money and putting it on a counter to get something you want was still there. For my oldest, that all changed this summer.

So the No. 1 child (or as she will tell you, the superior one) worked as a nanny, or mother’s helper this past summer. At 14 and about to start high school, she wanted to have more responsibility and spending cash for when she went out with her friends. She learned very quickly how much time she has to put in at work in order to pay for her chai tea lattes at Starbucks.

I realize now that we did not do a good job of teaching our children about money and how to use it wisely. In retrospect, I should have looked to see if there were any good apps to help with this. Thankfully there are, and you can take advantage of these so your children can learn. If you’ve read any of my previous articles, you know I try to feature free apps. While there are more robust applications with advanced features, not everybody wants to pay for those. Take a look below, and if it isn’t what you need, definitely check out some of the paid apps.

PiggyBot

PiggyBot is what it sounds like; a virtual piggy bank. It helps children (and their parents) keep track of their allowance and how much their parents owe them. No actual money is exchanged. This app serves as a digital reminder or IOU to track how much has been earned. As the parent, you will get notifications to “pay” the children for their chores. One negative is that it can only be used on one device.

Bankaroo

Bankaroo is as close as you will get to a real banking app or site. Our young savers can create virtual bank accounts and track their available funds, income (from allowances) and savings goals (for that new video game). Set up as a colorful game-like application, there are even some somewhat realistic bank features available. Bankaroo also offers a merit system to keep the kids interest. This is a great app for multiple children or even a classroom.

Kids Money

One of the most important skills to learn, even for many adults, is the ability to budget. Kids Money helps with that. It has interactive sliders, so that if your child is saving for a big ticket item, they can keep track of their goal here. It is very easy to use, and teaches an incredibly important skill.

Handling money is a very difficult thing to balance when it comes to our wants and needs. Our children need to learn not to fall into some of the traps that we have in our past. Hopefully one of these free apps will help.

Talk to Victor

Victor Alfieri is an avid music fan who has three children with his wife, Stephanie. Connect at Facebook.com/VJAlfieri and @VictorWordkr.

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