Kids learn how to count, add and subtract; they learn multiplication tables and mathematical formulas that their parents have long forgotten. Yet, they don’t learn about money — how to earn it and how to spend it. The children’s educational brand, Jones & Mae, aims to change that.
While it’s important that kids learn about math, science and language, they also need to understand money — what it is and what to do with it. The best way for them to learn is through hands-on experience, which is why Jones & Mae’s, The Trio Method, is such a clever educational product (available in U.S. and Canada).
Essentially, The Trio Method is a set of money banks — one bank for spending, one for saving, and one for sharing. Custom-designed, these banks are made from sustainably-sourced bamboo and non-toxic wood finish — safe for the environment and the kiddies. The Trio Method teaches your kids how to make responsible financial decisions, building healthy money habits that’ll accompany them into adulthood.
Run by mom and dad, Bethany and Brian Neumann, Jones & Mae is a literal “mom-n-pop” children’s brand. Prettier and smarter than the piggy bank you had as a child, the Trio Method saving banks also come with a teaching guide, helping you educate your children about spending. But don’t worry, it’s also the simplest way to teach your kids about money.
I had the opportunity to speak to Brian and Bethany about their company and the importance of financial education. Here’s what they had to say:
Q1: What inspired you to start this company?
Simply put, our children. When our son was three, he started asking us to buy him lots of things. We started to have conversations as parents about how to teach him about money. We did research, bought books and looked at piggy banks, but ended up feeling unsatisfied with what we found. We were busy — both working corporate jobs and we needed something simple, effective and didn’t look silly like a piggy or dinosaur. So, with a background in finance (Bethany) and design (Brian) we collaborated on our first product, The Trio Method. This met the needs that we had in searching for a way to teach our son about money, with a simple guide, sustainable manufacturing and a clean design aesthetic. Jones & Mae was born.
Q2: When should we start educating our kids about money?
Our recommendation is age three, or close to that young age because that is the time when they are able to understand and accomplish an earning activity. They’re not going to understand everything about money, but they will start the process of realizing the power of earning money through doing something of value, and making plans with the money they earn. Building a foundation on the simple process of thinking through money at a young age will provide a lifetime of benefits.
Q3: Who should be responsible for providing this education? Schools or parents?
Whether it’s your choice of school or your choice of lifestyle, a parent is the catalyst for most of the child’s learning. So parents have to take responsibility for what the child is going to learn. Since schools don’t teach a lot about personal finance, it becomes the parents’ responsibility to be a role model and actively teach their children a healthy perspective on money. However, parents don’t always take on the task for one of three reasons: they don’t think about it, they are too busy, or they don’t feel equipped for the task. That’s why we created our system to teach the basics; the simplest way to teach kids about money.
Related: Money Basics For Every Kid
Q4: What is the best way parents can teach their kids about budgeting (weekly, monthly, etc.)?
Basically, budgeting means to plan ahead for an expense. Kids don’t really have expenses except for what they are saving for. We’re not talking about saving for college or a house. When we talk about saving with kids, it’s for a toy or item that they want. The simple concept of saving is the first step towards understanding the concept of budgeting as they mature into the world of expenses in adulthood.
Also, when the child is saving for something, they should be able to achieve the item within a month. Some children have patience and can stay focused longer than a month, but many will lose interest if they continue to save and don’t see a result within a few weeks. We see our system as laying a foundation for healthy budgeting as the child grows older and gains more financial responsibilities.
Q5: Can you tell me about The Trio Method?
The Trio Method is the simplest way to teach kids about money. The system comes with an educational guide for parents and three bamboo banks: Spend, Save, Share. The idea is that the children engage in earning activities around the house, and after they earn the money they put some in each bank, which is designed for both bills and coins.
The Spend bank is for smaller items around a few dollars for things they want at the grocery store, like a mini figure or treat. The Save bank is for items they want, but are not an everyday purchase, like a larger toy or a special doll. The Share bank is where they can learn philanthropic principles. We suggest they give monthly or quarterly to something that interests them like an animal shelter or local fundraiser, but let the child make the choice (obviously with parental guidance).
The goal is for children to gain the concept of earning whatever money they would like and consciously decide how to spend it at a young age. This is very basic, but it will lay a financial foundation that will put them on a path that even many adults aren’t on! We work so hard as parents to protect and teach our children. The Trio Method is our tool to help parents with teaching the world of money.
Q6: The Trio Method product itself is very beautiful. Can you tell me more about the design and materials used in making it?
Thank you! When we were looking for ways to teach our kids about money, we couldn’t find anything that spoke to us. Brian has a background in design so his vision was to have something that would not only be beautiful but also timeless, smart and universal in terms of fitting in any children’s room decor. We chose bamboo because it looks good and it’s naturally sustainable. It’s important to us as parents to teach respect for the planet and to be non-toxic, so our bamboo is food grade quality and safe for every child. Our manufacturing partner is FDA and FSC certified.
Q7: What kind of feedback have you received from customers?
Our customers love The Trio Method! We have numerous glowing reviews and hear from repeat buyers that they purchase again because they want to give it as a gift. But the best feedback is when we see parents post photos on Instagram or feature us on their blogs showing how useful The Trio Method is for their family. Nothing beats seeing kiddos at a lemonade stand earning and learning with our banks!
How to unschool 9 (8?10? I lost count..?) kids you ask?? Possibilities are endless, but a lemonade stand on wheels is surely the cutest! ??✨?? Big bonus points if you have these AWESOME money banks! @jonesandmae "The simple way to teach your kids about money. Without a piggy" ?? There are 3 banks labeled "spend" "share" and "save". Perfect tools for teaching how to earn what they want and how to handle the money they earn responsibly. We had such a blast with @chelsea.jean (who snapped this sweet picture ??) She and her hubs are raising some incredible little entrepreneurs here on Maui, great friends for my little guys to look up to. ☺️??
Q8: How important is sustainability to you as a brand?
The foundation of Jones & Mae is built on the idea of providing value in the most responsible way possible. Every product that we will make will have an environmental story because we believe that is what being a responsible company on Earth means. Our Bamboo is sustainably farmed and managed, so we can provide our product in a way that does no harm to the environment. So, sustainability is not just important, it’s a fundamental part of who we are as a company.
Q9: Where can readers get more info?
Our website is www.jonesandmae.com where you can find out more about our company and our products. You can also find us on social media: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Or feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we love hearing from parents!
About the Neumann Family
Brian and Bethany Neumann, both native Coloradans, started their family back in 2009 when they had their son, Harper Jones. In 2011, they welcomed their daughter Elodine Mae (hence Jones & Mae). They’re an active family loving all things outdoors. Jones & Mae was born out of Brian and Bethany’s desire to teach their own children how to be smart, responsible humans, which explains why their products encourage fun and engaging parenting. Oh, and the Neumanns also have a family-wide addiction to delicious tacos.