Real Tips to Teach Kids About Saving
Children, Banks, and saving money. Sometimes, those things are difficult to weld together. Here are a few practical tips to get your children saving wisely, and, more importantly, learning the principles of money.
- From Piggy Banks to Real Banks – Let’s look at the practical part of saving money. A good place to start when you have elementary aged or preschoolers is to get a piggy bank. This visual aid will help to make their savings visible and real. Then you can help your child open their own bank savings account and help them make deposits each month. Around seven-years-old is a good age to open that account—that way, saving money in a piggy bank and transferring it to a real bank will be more memorable.
- Children’s Banks – These banks are tailored for children; some even have steps in front of the teller windows where children can stand. If you live in a smaller community without a children’s bank, then get out your handy dandy yellow pages—or smart phone—and call your banks. Find a child-friendly bank by asking what programs they have for children’s savings plans and if they offer tours to families.
- Your Bank – If, for convenience sake, you want your child to bank at your bank (instead of a special children’s bank), you’re not a mean, selfish ogre of a parent—you’re just wise with your time. Call your bank and tell them you want to bring your child in to open an account. Ask them if they can help make the child’s first visit special because you want to encourage your child to save their money and establish the trip to the bank as a fun and enjoyable exercise.
- No Fee, That’s Me! – Some banks offer a no-fee, no minimum balance accounts for minors. If you bank charges a fee, ask if any special arrangements can be made for your minor child. Sometimes you have not because you ask not.
- Pay Yourself – When it comes to saving money both adults and children need to just do it. By paying God first and yourself second, you can consider it a job well done. Saving twenty cents on every dollar is a way of paying yourself.
- You’ve Got Mail! – Kids LOVE to receive mail in their name. Ask your bank if they will mail monthly statements to your home and include your child’s name (as well as your own). This is a great, regular reminder of the growth of their savings and interest.
- Goals – Larry Burkett said in Financial Parenting, “When we teach our children to save to buy something instead of getting it on credit, we teach them two basic financial principles: responsibility and wisdom in stewardship.” Some kids will save money to buy a new bike or doll, while others will just save it for the savings sake. Either way, we need to teach the benefit of balance when it comes to saving. If you can never allow yourself to enjoy the fruits of your labor by hoarding every penny, then this leads to a spirit of stinginess. On the other hand, if your child spends his allowance before it can see the inside of a wallet, then he needs to learn the balance in their spending habits and the value of saving money.
While savings goals are important, it’s also important to keep some money in savings that will not be spent, but will be a long-term investment. This teaches the true value of compounded interest and saving for the long run.
- Get Some Money From That Wall – When we were driving by my husband’s favorite ATM haunt, our youngest started yelling, “Get some money, mama!” and pointed. Sometimes kids know that money doesn’t grow on trees, but they think it comes out of a wall. Teaching them the concept of the safe and wise use of an ATM is as simply as explaining where the money comes from, who pays it and why you should never get in the habit of getting money out without marking it toward your monthly budgeted expenses.
- Online Savings Resources & Teaching Tools – There are some great resources online to reinforce the value of saving. At http://www.jumpstart.org/, there are resources and activities that seek to insure personal financial literacy in young people from grades K-12. This site lists resources that represent a wide range of formats including the four main areas of income, money management, saving and investing, and spending. This site will show them how to set up a budget, how the stock market works, the role of insurance and responsible credit card use. Some other similar sites are http://bankingkids.com/, http://firstkidbank.com/, and http://www.younginvestor.com/.
What are YOUR tips to teach kids about money?
America’s Family Financial Expert (R)