Savings SpreeSpring 2011 Mobile Apps
Parents' Choice has long been a fan of the Money Savvy Pig, a four-chambered bank that allows children to separate their coins into slots for short-term savings, spending money, money for donations and money for long-term investments. The bank is designed to teach children, from an early age, the importance of making smart choices for using their money. The financial literacy experts at Money Savvy Generation, makers of the Money Savvy Pig, have transplanted this concept squarely into the 21st century, tapping Carstens' Studios (Math Doodles and Sum Stackers) to design and develop an engaging and educational app. In short, the artwork is charming, the navigation intuitive, and the games are playful, educational, fresh, and fun.
The practice section takes players through the differences between short-term and long-term savings, how we get money (by earning it), the risks associated with impulse buying, and how to make better choices everyday to build our savings. In round 1, for example, children are given icons for different purchases that they can make and they must slide these into the appropriate piggy bank slot. An icon for the Red Cross would go into the "donation" slot or an icon for a car would go into the "invest" slot. The remaining rounds (there are 6 in all) offer kids an opportunity to earn money and test their skills on the concepts listed above. When they have finished practicing, they can move on to the game. As they play each round, they earn money for making smarter choices and lose money for incorrect answers, or poor money choices. At the end of the round, they are shown their checkbook balance with the previous balance, the amount of money deposited for the round and their current balance. The highest score (the largest amount of money earned) is saved in the game.
Our parent testers appreciated how each concept is explained at the beginning of a round in an age appropriate way. For example, the "Wealthy Habits" section demonstrates that "small daily expenses can add up faster than you think" by showing how purchasing just one soda a day for $1.50 can ultimately end up costing $547.50 for the year. The final graphic with soda cups filling the screen and the high dollar amount made a visible impression on our young players.
Savings Spree delivers solid age-appropriate and fun-filled introductory lessons that demonstrate how what we decide to do with our money today affects what we can do with it tomorrow. Some grownups may even learn that giving up daily fancy coffee fixes can help ease the pain at the pump.
Editor's Note: Although suggested for children ages 7 and up, younger players will certainly enjoy and benefit from playing this game with a little help from mom or dad.