Earlier this week, on November 17, National Entrepreneur’s Day celebrated the brilliant minds who have changed the way we live and laid the foundation for our futures. Innovation is essential for a constantly evolving society, answering to new needs and always wondering, “how can we make this better?”
Esther Diaz, a healthcare professional and mother of two, asked herself a similar question. Her son had started bringing in neighbor’s trash cans from the street for a small fee. All of a sudden, he had quite the income. Diaz and her husband wanted their son to be intentional about saving and they tried out a few different kinds of piggy banks. However, even the ones with a savings option were not satisfactory— it took the use of chopsticks and medical forceps to pry out the money, ripping bills and spilling coins in the process. Did organizing and accessing money really need to be this hard for children?
Introducing: The Piggy Box
“Traditional piggy banks weren’t really designed for kids to actually practice or access their money readily,” Diaz said. “The old notion was you put money away, then you finally break the piggy bank with a hammer.”
And so The Piggy Box was born. The easy-to-use piggy bank fosters smart money habits and promotes financial literacy and charity, elevated by its functional design and digital app counterpart. It has three separate drawers: one for spending, one for saving and one for giving. With space specifically sized for coins and bills, kids can easily manage their funds and the app lets them keep track of their spending.
“[An] important financial principle is the notion of budgeting and tracking,” Diaz said. “If they had a way of tracking their spending, then they could see and they could allocate their money accordingly. I think it’s just part of basic financial principle of good accountability.”
Money intersects all parts of life
Though the United States runs on capitalism, the culture at-large generally deems conversations around money as taboo. By talking about finances with kids early on, Diaz hopes to change this.
“Money percolates every part of our life. We can’t get away from it.”
According to a 2018 study in “Journal of Family Issues,” giving kids hand-on practice managing money is a key method of financial socialization, the process through which parents impart financial knowledge onto their children. Ashley B. LeBaron, who led the study as a University of Arizona postdoctoral student, knows it can be hard to let kids make mistakes, but explained it’s an important part of the process while the stakes are low.
“If the first time kids use a credit card or have to work or have to save up money for something or have a bank account is when they’re on their own, that’s not a good time to be practicing,” LeBaron said.
The Piggy Box is the perfect stepping stone to opening an actual bank account. By allowing kids as young as 4 to develop their understanding of finances, Diaz hopes to promote healthy lifelong relationships with money, setting up kids with good habits now in order to avoid pitfalls later. By the time a child is old enough, they will have formed critical skills necessary for their own checking and savings.
Good habits start early
One online review sums up the efficiency of the specialized piggy bank: “It looks more like a decorative box on display in their room than the other options I saw online… [And] the app is incredibly helpful to track how much they have (especially for my 4 year old who is still learning and moves the money between drawers sometimes).”
For a more wholesome understanding of finances, Diaz also knew the concept of giving back was key. Through money, children can realize there is a world outside of them and that true happiness comes from giving, whether that be through money, services or other resources. Such encouragement can inspire a better community, a better world. We may not be born givers, but we certainly raise givers.