I'm a big fan of David Owen's book The First National Bank of Dad (←affiliate link), but apparently my 8 year old prefers to put his money in the First National Bank of Dog instead.
As a follow-on to his "Don't Let Your Dog Eat Your Money" tip from last week, my son presented me with this hand-made deposit slip filled with coins he'd been collecting in his Piggy Bank. I guess he'd decided that his cash stash was getting big enough that the risk of theft from siblings was getting uncomfortably high. Time to put it in the virtual family bank. Good call.
I noticed that he called it a "Colby Check" (Colby is our miniature dachshund — the unofficial FamZoo mascot and successor to our dearly departed Bonzo). This provided the perfect opportunity to have a little chat about the difference between a deposit slip and a check, and how both work in general. It was a nice impromptu teachable moment.
FamZoo's virtual family bank helps parents follow what some call a "cashless allowance approach". You can read a nice brief description of the approach in Greg Katz's recent article "Cashless Allowance System Seems to Work".
Some people say that the approach robs children of the experience of handling real, tangible money. I haven't found that to be the case. Kids still have opportunities to interact with real money - opportunities like the "Bank of Dog" deposit experience I shared with my son. You can always let the kids withdraw (reasonable amounts of) spending cash from their "cashless" accounts to stick in their wallets, purses, or piggy banks for moderate impromptu pending or emergencies. In our case, I guess that would be the "Bank of Dog ATM" scenario.
What do you think of the cashless allowance (aka "Bank-of-Mom/Dad/Dog") model? Have you tried it with your kids? We'd love to hear about your experiences. What's worked well? What hasn't?