Budget Aid

Helping children develop wise money management habits.



User Experience, User Research, Product Design, Visual Design, Prototyping


4 Weeks, Fall 2018


Budget Aid is a digital piggy bank that helps children learn how to budget and save money with goals.

In this project, I explored money management for children, more specifically how they can develop the habit of budgeting and saving. By studying behavior change, interviewing parents and children, and developing various concepts, I designed a digital piggy bank that syncs with an iOS app for iPad and iPhone, that can be used by parents and children.


How might we teach children good money management habits so they could learn and appreciate the value of money?


What Is The Problem?

Many people have bad financial habits and find themselves struggling over their relationship with money.



1. Many children are not taught how to properly manage their finances.

Children who are not taught money management skills tend to grow up making poor financial decisions and develop a bad relationship with money.

2. Children of this generation are growing up with easy one-click purchases, which makes it more difficult for them to be mindful of spending.

We end up spending without even thinking of the financial consequences and with the rise of digital spending, it’s even more difficult to be aware of our spending habits. What more of children who are exposed daily to these digital sites?

I talked to parents to find out how they teach their children money management and I asked their children how they view the value of money. I learned that children develop motivation and patience through a reward system.


Who Is It For?

I designed Budget Aid for parents who want to teach their children money management and for children who can use it to develop better financial habits.



Rose, 35 Years old

She is a single mom who works full time and budgets her money. She also wants to start teaching her daughter how to budget and save money.


Rachel, 6 Years Old

She recently started getting an allowance for school. She also likes buying new toys.


Why Children?

In order to develop good financial habits and decisions, it should be taught at a young age. With this in mind, I researched the different phases for children who are taught about financial decisions to learn when is the right time to teach them. The timeline I created informed my decision to focus on children ages 5-10. According to my research, this is when they start to go to school, learn basic Math, and receive allowance, which develops their skill to make their own decisions based on their wants and needs.


Developing The Concept

I researched similar products in the market and developed 30 concept sketches as exploration. I moved forward with six of my ideas as reference to create the product.


Existing Solutions

I looked into money management apps for children such as Bankaroo and Pennybox to learn how they use the system of reward to teach and encourage children to make better financial decisions daily. I also studied both apps interface to understand how they made it kid-friendly and engaging to use.


Concept Model

Based on my research, I created a concept model to determine how Budget Aid will work as a system. From my Market Analysis, I noticed that both apps almost functioned similarly, so I wanted to make it more unique by developing it a simple goal setting tool that children can use to save up for a specific item. It also incorporates a reward system which is a familiar behavorial framework for children when teaching anything that is intended to be habit forming. This reward system is also used in both Bankaroo and Pennybox.


Concept Sketches

I developed 30 concept sketches. Due to time constraints, I mapped out all my concepts using the Impact Achievability Matrix to determine which ideas were viable to develop in a short period of time. From there, I was able to focus on 6 concepts to move forward it. I combined an aspect of each concept to create the final product.


Creating The Visual Brand

I wanted the entire experience to be playful, clean and vivid so that it engages and motivates children to continue using it.


Final Product & Packaging

I created a physical box for the digital piggy bank and a simple set-up guide to go with it. Due to time constraints, I did not make the actual digital piggy bank and had it outsourced in order to show my idea.


Designing The Digital App

I designed a digital piggy bank that syncs with an iOS app for iPad and iPhone, that can be used by parents and children.


Getting Stuck With Interfaces

The biggest challenge I faced was creating the UI for the app. I hit a lot of creative road blocks — such as how to present information and concepts in a way that children will understand and be engaged with. This was mainly due to the challenge of designing two different interfaces that had two different users. I had a lot of things to consider and it was overwhelming. However, approaching the problem by making a user flow helped me dive in and understand which main components I wanted to focus on and how I want the system to work instead of getting caught up in the visual design. I learned that image compadrison was a good way to teach children about the concept of how much things costs in relation to another item they are more familiar with. I also made it simple and straightforward for parents to use the app by simply getting notifications and being able to track their child’s progress.


Designing For Behavior Change

I asked myself how Budget Aid can potentially change children’s behavior towards developing better money management habits.

I studied the Fogg Behavior Model by B.J. Fogg to determine what causes behavior change and discovered that three principle elements affect this: motivation, ability and prompts. With this, I created an axis to determine where Budget Aid can fall on the Motivation and Effort Scale based on children’s learning behavior.




Goal Setting


Key Features

I created Budget Aid’s attributes around the three principles of Fogg Behavior Model by B.J. Fogg.


Motivation - Reward System

With a reward system, children can be motivated to spend less and save more, and develop better habits along the way.

Ability - Visual Timeline

With a visual timeline, children can track their progress and be more aware with how they are doing.


Prompts - Milestones & Goals

With milestones and goals, children can be highly encouraged to achieve their goal.


App Demo For Parents

On Boarding + Sign-Up


Setting Up Child’s Profile


Tracking Child’s Progress


App Demo For Children

Setting Up Account + Onboarding


Setting Goals



My biggest takeaway for this project is learning how to focus on the important things and to not get easily caught up with a single part. As I mentioned above, I got stuck for a long time with designing the interface and worrying whether my research was enough to validate my work. In the end, I learned how to work with what I had, especially with such a limited time constraint. It was a big project that involved a lot of things and I placed myself in a challenge of having to essentially design for two users (children as my primary users and parents as my secondary users). I also learned how to properly manage my time well considering I was also juggling other projects for other classes while developing Budget Aid.