Financial literacy is a difficult concept for most adults to grasp, let alone children. That is why Lalie Scandiuzzi created the Moonjar Moneybox in 2001. She firmly believes in starting the conversation about basic monetary values at an early age and approaching it in a fun, kid-friendly way. The name Moonjar comes from the idea of “Shooting for the Moon,” along with the ancient custom of placing hopes and dreams in a jar.
Following this theme, Moonjar chose to donate their product to Kids Wish Network since we, too, are all about hopes and dreams and became one of our Guardian Angels. Moonjar and Kids Wish Network are connected by similar values of always having hope and encouraging others to never give up on even their wildest dreams. This applies to everything from utilizing the Moonjar to save money for a dream college education to using it to share money with an organization like Kids Wish Network to make another child’s dream a reality.
Mary Ryan Karges, of Moonjar LLC, explains the simple concept behind the Moonjar Moneybox:
“The Moonjar Moneybox is a 3-part teaching bank that hones age old principles into a fun and dynamic way of establishing goal setting and even allowing for children to learn from managing their own money. It is far better to make a monetary mistake by purchasing a poorly made toy as a child rather than a poorly built car as an adult!
Broken down into three easy steps, Moonjars are tools that help children weave the actions SAVE, SPEND, and SHARE into the fabric of their everyday lives. The foldable and colorful product is assembled into a three compartment kit that shows kids how to plan for the future and build their dreams. Made to inspire and incorporate strong financial responsibility into children’s mindsets, the Moonjar is comprised of the three following categories:
• SAVING : the blue slot is the piggy bank portion meant to encourage children to save some money for a rainy day
• SPENDING: the green slot is the instant gratification section meant to allow children to immediately enjoy some of the fruits of their labor
• SHARING: the red slot is the charitable part meant to advise children to contribute some of their earnings to a good cause (like Kids Wish Network!)
What really makes the Moonjar so special is that it initiates a discussion. Families using Moonjars can talk to one another at the dinner table about their hopes and dreams and how they can be achieved monetarily through SAVING, SPENDING, and SHARING.
The true heart of the Moonjar is in the SHARING section though. By instilling the importance of choosing to give back to the community in a capacity that speaks to a child, we have the opportunity to watch them blossom into engaged citizens. Aided by Moonjars, parents of children as young as 4 and 6 are actively teaching their children the value of money. In just six months time, they notice that the frequency in which their child asks for a new toy decreases. Their son or daughter is more interested in the quality of the item instead of the quantity. Their child wants to see how far a dollar stretches and what their allowance can multiply into week after week. Every child is unique and will have different curiosities, questions, and concerns about money. However, that is part of the joy of starting the conversation about financial literacy as early as possible.
Personally, I was shocked when my 8-year-old was so fiscally conservative that she was honestly afraid to spend any of her money. This was even after we had already planned out what she wanted to go buy. Conversely, my heart was full of joy when my 5-year-old explained that he wanted to share his money with the homeless. He decorated his Moonjar by adorning the SHARE section of it with black and white photos. This aspect of his moneybox reminds him that when you are down on your luck, life feels colorless. The opportunity for us was to invite each of them to explore all three ideas: SAVE, SPEND, and SHARE.
No matter how old your child is, thanks to the Moonjar, talking about money doesn’t have to be a dull, dry, uncomfortable, and scary conversation. Understanding finances is a life-skill. Money is a tangible means of making the world go round that connects us all. Just remember the 3 “S” Rules when it comes time to explain this to your child – SAVE, SPEND, and SHARE.”