Spending Is as Easy as Pushing a Button. The Hard Part? Keeping Track.

There are a ton of money apps for children and teenagers, but I was hoping to find something to help him focus on developing patience and delaying gratification. Today, bags of groceries magically appear on our doorstep without any visible transaction. If we need something, we can just press a button — as adults, we’re a month removed from any consequences, and children are often completely unaware that there was any exchange at all. Stuff just arrives when you want it.

To help acquaint my son with the reality of how all of this works, I decided to pay him an allowance of $5 a week. Instead of putting it in physical “save, spend and give” jars, he’s tracking the same categories on an iPad. I scanned a few different apps, but the simplicity of PiggyBot seemed well suited for younger children. He immediately set a goal to buy two of those books — but he’s going to have to wait nine weeks to get them. (I also told him that we could just go to the library.)

Outside your job, what tech product are you currently obsessed with?

I live a pretty low-tech life. We listen to music through Sonos and watch television through a four-year-old Roku device, though we haven’t entirely cut the cord because my husband is a soccer fan. I did recently learn that we can hand in our cable box and pay a little less, while keeping access to cable channels through Roku, though you lose the ability to record.

There are also several apps that I use daily or weekly. I always have roughly five dozen tabs open on my computer screen, as well as stories I come across on Twitter that I want to read later. To minimize the clutter, I save everything to the Pocket app, which I’ll read on my commute. I also keep a to-do list on the iPhone “reminders” app.

I also love Ink and Postagram for turning my children’s photos into cards for relatives, all from my aging iPhone 6s, which has started to shut down in the cold.

I have a long wish list of apps, but I really want more sophisticated tools that would help us become smarter consumers. I want to enter a product name into an app so it can assure me that we’re not feeding our children weed killer in their oatmeal.

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