While flying to Tampa, Florida for a quick Spring Training Baseball and beach getaway last month, I found myself mindlessly flipping through the Skymall catalog in the seat-back pocket in front of me. If you have never seen this in-flight catalog, it is kind of like a regular mall on the pages of a magazine you read in the sky (hence the name). The color pages are filled with hundreds of products, from dog beds to language course programs, elaborate outdoor water fountains to an escape ladder for use during a house fire (which I always joke about buying, even though we live in a one-story ranch home). The collection of items for sale are from dozens of different retailers and, on planes with telephones implanted in the headrests of the seats, you can place orders during the flight.
I often show this catalog to my daughter to kill time in the air. She digs the numerous pictures of cats and dogs (it seems there are a lot of pet products for sale in there!). This time, I stumbled upon something I had never seen before, an ATM Machine piggy bank for kids. It includes an ATM card and instructions for setting up a unique personal id number. The machine works like a normal piggy bank, holding coins and bills, the difference being that this one can provide your child with their account balance and allows your youngsters to take withdrawals using the ATM card. It is a fun, interactive and visual way to teach kids about saving money and a realistic, real-world way for them to begin managing their own monetary situation. With the balance being shown after each deposit and withdrawal, kids can learn about decision making when it comes to money, for example, if they take $10 out and see that they will only be left with $5, they will be forced to think about how much they really need that $10 right then and there. For kids too young to visit a real bank, this $30 ATM Machine is a good investment for families looking to introduce the value of money and the importance of savings in a fun, fresh and unique way.