It’s a sad day for Rave and Review; just today yet another of our favorite brands has called it quits in light of the bleak economy. As much as it absolutely pains me to see any brands fail at all, it is especially hard when it is a small family-owned business, as that hits too close to home for me and my family. I had long prepared this review to coincide with April 15th as my weak tie-in to tax day, but decided that it seemed more fitting to post it now in keeping with the current atmosphere of the office.
Money management wasn’t something we discussed at all when I was growing up. All of my siblings and I had savings accounts that our mom managed for us, but I never knew the balance or kept track of my deposits in any way whatsoever in all the years I kept that account. It was two months before I got my first bona fide job, that my older brother took me to get my first checking and savings account. The lady that signed me up for the account explained how to use a checkbook and register, and it was the first time I had ever seen one. As sad as it is that my first hands-on experience with money management began at age 15, I really don’t think that my experience is all that unusual. In fact, I would guess it is much more common than you would imagine.
Having watched my sister teach her children about money from a really young age and seeing how eagerly they absorbed every money lesson, I already knew that’s how I wanted to raise my children as well. From as far back as I can remember, my niece has always been extremely money conscious and coincidentally, very motivated to work hard to always have a few extra coins in her piggy bank. This is evidenced in the fact that she can out lemonade stand just about anyone, even in scorching hot temperatures. When I ran across the Moonjar Moneybox teaching banks I just had to get one for her to help her organize her money in a clear and easy to use way.
Each Moonjar kit contains three separate removable compartments: one labeled Save, one labeled Share and the last one labeled Spend. The idea behind the three-part piggy bank is that financial responsibility involves making a plan for how you will allocate your funds each time money is earned or received, and the Moonjar kit helps your child to create that plan and then stick to it. By far my favorite part of the Moonjar kit is the passbook, or piggy bank register, that comes with each bank and teaches kids how to manage their finances on paper. As someone who got my first and only real budget balancing lesson from a sweet old lady at the bank, I am adamant that my children will be well armed with this crucial knowledge many years before they can legally hold a job or open a bank account. With Moonjar, I am certain that they will, and hopefully they will have learned something else from this unique three chambered financial tool: the importance of creating financial goals for yourself and the satisfaction that comes from succeeding at them.
But, as my niece pointed out, the three part bank also has another very practical application as well, because the bank can actually be separated into three pieces it makes it easy for children to use it individually as well as together as a whole. The example she gave is that she likes to leave the “Save” portion out for her parents to take to the bank for her periodically, and by separating the compartments it makes it easy for her parents to know what amount goes to the bank. The opposite is also true for the “Spend” compartment and the fact that if you only take that portion with you to the store, you won’t be tempted to spend more than you had planned on.
Moonjar also makes other products to help teach your kids about money, including three different “Conversations to Go” games that ask thought provoking questions about money management, travel and other topics that will get you and your children talking. I love that Moonjar offers children and parents a way to discuss money issues that affect personal finance as well as national issues. In a time when businesses all around us are failing, Moonjar offers a thoughtful and creative outlet for curious children (and their parents!) to learn about finances.
They also offer customizable Moonjar for your business or organization as well as classroom packs recommended for grades 1-4.
Price: $7.95 for the standard Moonjar, $24.95 for the tin Moonjar and $14.95 for Conversations to go.
Looks: Colorful and cute, perfect for your budding financial analyst.
Overall: 5 out of 5 marks. As something that combines learning about finances with fun, it’s the perfect gift for nieces, nephews and children of all ages.