Monday, March 1, 2010

TOS Crew: Family Mint

The financial world has been up in arms for some time now; with a recession going on, it's even more important to know where you stand financially and how to cut back on things to save money.  Early on in our marriage, Dan and I got into a bit of financial trouble, and it has haunted us ever since.  We are truly beginning to climb out of our hole of debt, but it has been a long road, and it's still not over yet.  We had to learn the hard way, though.  Through everything we've been through, I definitely don't want that for my kids.  I want them to know where they stand when it comes to money, credit cards, etc.  I want them to be well educated in financial matters, so that they can make good, sound decisions.
That's where Family Mint Comes in.  Family Mint is all about helping your kids to "appreciate money."  It's a system that can be used to teach your children how to handle their money.  Not only do they get to create their own goals, but they get to track their goals, as well, teaching them how to budget wisely.  Every time Jacob gets an allowance or birthday money, or what have you, he can make a deposit, although, his allowance will be automatically deposited, just to save the parent hassle; keep in mind that the money tracked on Family Mint is virtual money, so it can't be stolen or anything.  It's just a way for him to keep track of how much he has earned and how much he's spent.  He can deposit money, withdraw money, and transfer money.  As the parent, I'm the banker, so I'm responsible to help him handle his money and pay him when he requires it.
I can also set up interest rates, in order to let him see how a real savings account, with interest, might work.  If he has set up a particular goal that is worthy, I can match his goal.  If his goal is not meeting his expectations, he can easily go in and edit it.  So say that Jacob wants to save up for his favorite Lego set.  He can set that as a goal and then work towards it.  If he decides to change his mind and decides he needs the next Star Wars action figure instead, he can change his goal to accommodate.  If he decides he wants both items, he can change his goals and add or subtract goals.
It's all about appreciation of money and what's most important to him.  As he gets older, he may realize he wants to set a goal of saving for college or for that vacation he wants to take when he graduates.

With Family Mint, there is a parent's side and a child's side.
So, I can easily log in and see the progress he's making, but he can log in and also see how he's doing on the child side of it.  He'll easily be able to see all of his goals and edit them from his homepage.  So far, I'm pretty impressed with Family Mint.  I really think this will be a great help to Jacob and even Jaden as he gets older.  With Jacob, he's very money conscious anyway; the trick has been teaching him that his money is only there as long as he saves it....he has to make the decision whether or not the particular item he is purchasing is worth it; does he want to spend a great deal of his money on that one item, or is it something that can wait?  Does he need that item?  Is the purchase truly that important to him?  We always tell him that he has to make the decision, but he really needs to think about the consequences.  Is he going to regret not having any money left or having very little left?  He has started to become very conscious with his money, and I can only see this program as a huge help.  Now he'll be able to truly track his money and how he's wanting to spend it.

You can read more about Family Mint on their blog, and you can follow them on both Twitter and Facebook.  For now, Family Mint is free, but later on this year, they will have a Pro version available.  You can read more reviews on the TOS Homeschool Crew blog.

(Disclosure: I was provided this free version of the program by Family Mint, in association with the TOS Homeschool Crew.) 


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