Start a fantastical savings quest with your child to teach them good habits for life

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(Image: iStock)
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Anyone who has ever tried to talk money with a six-year-old knows it is not easy (read: impossible) to hold their interest. Cue Sanlam’s first-of-its-kind Sanlam Savings Jar. The free app turns kids into young dragon masters embarking on a quest to collect shiny treasure to get their magical dragon to grow. The more virtual coins they save, the bigger their rambunctious dragon gets!

Available on Android and iOs, the app uses gamification to create an interactive tool for parents.

Fantastical, fun and downright adorable, the dragon is the perfect sidekick to keep kids motivated and focused on growing their treasure. This sets little ones up on a journey to financial confidence. The confidence to believe they can build the best possible life for themselves by going after their goals. This opens doors to future success and financial freedom. It’s a charming introduction to the wondrous world of saving!

Mariska Oosthuizen, Head of Brand at Sanlam, says, “The app teaches little people smart skills like goal setting, planning, personal mastery and perseverance. We know that children learn best when learning is done unconsciously. Usually, the longer they engage, the better the learning outcome! That’s why we designed the app to be interactive. It’s intended to get families talking – to have important money conversations and set shared savings goals, together.”

sanlam savings jar

(Image: Supplied)

Here are six smart money lessons little ones may learn from the Sanlam Savings Jar app – plus some conversation starters to have on the side!

1. Every quest needs a big goal! From finding a dragon to rescuing a prince or princess, every adventure needs a goal to work towards! And the same goes for saving. Kids need something special to save their treasure towards. What’s your child’s big goal? To buy a skateboard? Or gifts for the family? Or donate to pawsome friends at a nearby animal shelter? Write it down together! (Lesson: goal-setting)

2. Now for a plan: Nobody ever found a dragon without a map! Every quest needs a plan, so the hero knows exactly what steps to take. Saving for a real-life goal is just the same. Ask your child to think about how much time it’ll take to reach their goal and what they’ll do with the treasure they earn on the way. A goal without a plan is just a dream! Help them make it a reality. (Lesson: Financial planning)

3. How will they pay for their adventure? Going after a dragon is pretty pricey. There’s lots of equipment needed to wrangle such a mighty beast! Plus, they eat A LOT. Same goes for your child’s real-life mission. Draft a budget together, so they have all their needs and wants covered, while still putting enough aside to reach their goal.  (Lesson: Budgeting)

4. Using talents to earn treasure: Just like a dragon, kids have all sorts of talon-ts they can use to earn the money they need for their goal. Help your child write a list of their talents – drawing, supervised cupcake baking, doing extra chores for cash – to get their paws on more shiny coins.  (Lesson: The value of money and how we work for it)

5. Is a goal a want or a need? It’s super important for little ones to learn this distinction. Ask your child if a dragon needs or wants: pizza, a house, a toy, healthy food, talon-polish (nail polish for dragons, of course). (Lesson: Needs vs wants)

6. Spending less means more to save: Next time you go on a quest to the shops, compare the prices of things. Which cereal is the cheapest? If you buy a cheaper cereal, it means more money for something else… Have a competition who can find the cheapest brand of each type of good. Or give your child a budget of R20 and let them see what they can get for it. (Money rule: Spend less. Save more.)

Big adventures take time, but they’re so worth it. Oosthuizen adds, “The other wonderful thing the app instils is delayed gratification. It uses repetition and reward (more coins = a bigger dragon) to encourage savings behaviours, to keep kids on track to reach their ultimate goal – a fully grown pet!

She concludes that the Sanlam Savings Jar is another way Sanlam is pursuing its mission to empower people to live with financial confidence. “This is our brand promise and purpose. And we believe it starts in childhood. With this app, we hope to entrench positive savings habits to help parents start their children on the journey to financial confidence. Done in a fun, interactive, playful way!”

Download the app for iOs here and Android here. For more information, visit

This post and content is sponsored, written and provided by Sanlam.

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