The little elephant that solves a big problem

posted in: Musings | 0

My eldest daughter has just turned 5. With this milestone came a waterfall of emotion that totally blind-sided me, and a new responsibility as a mummy: to set up new school-day routines and support the next level of learning. What perfect timing then that the day after Olive’s 5th birthday, ASB launches Clever Kash – an innovative cashless savings box.


Clever Kash solves two problems for me relating to those mummy responsibilities:

  1. It gives Olive an incentive to contribute
  2. It offers a concrete way to see her earnings and learn about numbers


These are fairly big problems in our house because my daughter is very head strong. I mean reeeeally head strong (the fact that she’s a Scorpio born to two Scorpios is not lost on us). We’ve tried a number of things over the last couple of years to influence behaviour change, and none have worked. Olive likes control. That’s why we try not to use the word ‘chores’ in our house (though I sometimes still slip up); ‘chores’ being a negative word that comes with a huff and a stomp. Instead we use ‘family contributions’. But despite the positive language, our headstrong daughter has always found ways to negotiate and manipulate her way around the contributions (I fear for the teenage years, I tell you!).



Until now. Until Clever Kash.


What is it about this little fella that has Olive wrapped around his, well, trunk?

He’s real: he’s a physical friend who trumpets and cha-chings when he gets money deposited. His tummy updates real time with his new account balance. Olive has control over him – she gets to swipe her finger over a 10c coin on my or her Dad’s mobile phone and literally see the money land in Clever Kash’s belly.


There are two basic needs common to all of us, and children are no different. Children want to have a sense of context; of belonging in their world. And a sense that they are significant. Having some ownership and control in their life helps them to feel these things. As littlies, there’s not much they can have control of (hence, tantrums!)


That’s why I think Clever Kash is brilliant. It gives kids control and with that, a sense of empowerment.


In our house, I’ve watched with delight over the last two weeks as this has played out. Olive is empowered to be independent and is showing initiative with her family contributions. We rarely have to ask now. She just does them (list of our contributions at the end, if you’re curious).


What I’ve also delighted over is that Clever Kash is self-directed learning. Olive chooses to earn, and in so doing, she chooses to learn – asking us to help her work out what 10c added to her previous balance now makes, and work out the difference between her current balance and her savings goal (which Clever Kash lets you set).


So there’s been much delight in our house. Finally, a tool to influence behaviour change that actually works for Olive. She’s inspired. And we’re relieved! We’re seeing behaviour change, financial literacy development, and (dare I say it, perhaps best of all) it’s easy for us as parents! For someone who never carries cash (Daddy) or who only has cash in inconvenient places like the cup holder in the car (for parking meters at the park) or the pushchair (for drinks enroute – Me)… Clever Kash is simply genius. All we need is our mobile phone (and let’s be honest, unlike cash, we’re always carrying these). I simply get my mobile phone out, login to ASB’s mobile banking app and together Olive and I complete the transaction – no cash required, anywhere, anytime.


So many things to love about this guy. Here’s my big 5:

  1. It feeds childrens’ fundamental need for belonging and significance by giving them a sense of control and empowerment
  2. It makes financial literacy fun and meaningful – they can see their earnings and their money grow
  3. Beyond financial literacy, it teaches cause-and-effect and can be used as a positive reinforcement behavioural tool
  4. It’s easy; no fossicking for coins!
  5. Oh and he’s super cute


As an ex-ASB digital marketer I’m proud to partner with ASB to promote this wee guy. This post is in collaboration with ASB, however the experience we’ve had is distinctly ours – that’s the great thing about Clever Kash: you apply your own family values to it. The musings here are, as always, taken from my own inspiration. But don’t take my word for it. Check out Olive’s delight as she unwraps him over on


There’s a big waiting list but ASB are committed to giving every little kiwi a Clever Kash (age criteria apply). You can register for one at




Olive’s family contributions:

  1. Getting herself dressed in the morning
  2. Getting herself breakfast (age appropriate – not toast yet!)
  3. Doing what we ask the first time, every time, across a whole day
  4. Doing something that shows particular empathy/compassion/kindness
  5. Managing a ‘big’ emotion by using one of her calming strategies


These are things that are either helpful to Mummy and Daddy, or that stretch Olive’s personal development. All of them are optional opportunities to earn 10c. We call these “contributions” because they contribute to an easy flow each morning and a happy household. As these behaviours become entrenched habits and we find new behaviours we want to encourage, the list will change. Things like setting the table, clearing her plate, tidying toys away are not optional so they’re not money earners.