Your child’s adventures in savings should start early and reach just as far as their imagination can take them. Here are a few strategies to get them interested:
Let Them Play with Real Money
Early money lessons often stick with your child as they grow into adults. For young children learning to count, start with coins and small bills. You can teach young kids the value of money simply by swapping out plastic play money for the real thing—even if it’s just coins. This action is key in instilling a sense of respect for money.
Lead by Example
Introduce the idea of smart money choices by having your kids tag along on errands. Turn a trip to the grocery store into a teachable moment. Use coupons and let your youngster help you hunt for sale items. Give them a calculator to track your purchases and total up how much you saved. They become smart shoppers by finding the best prices for the same or similar items and learn a valuable lesson about spending within available means.
Create and Track Spending Goals
Once your kid is in middle school, start building on the financial fundamentals by setting longer-term goals—the kind that require more discipline than simply saving up for an inexpensive toy or treat. For a motivational boost, consider tracking their progress with a visual graph or bar chart you can tape up in their room.
Instill the Benefits of Altruism
Research indicates that giving to others can inspire feelings of self-confidence and acceptance. It’s important to give kids a choice in how they flex this muscle, so it doesn’t feel like a punishment. Whether they choose to donate part of their allowance to a charity, or opt to save money and volunteer their time instead, kids can learn a lot from being charitable.
Involve Them in Your Financial Life
Too often, children only see the spending side of money, or hear abstractly that the family “just can’t afford that” without seeing the process of earning, spending, taking out a loan, paying back a loan, etc. Show your children that you don’t just spend money; rather, you pay bills from an account that needs to be filled, and that there are limits to spending. It is vital for them to see how important decisions are made.
Growing Their Money
Continue the money lessons with a field trip to the Credit Union. Visit a branch to learn how Credit Unions and savings accounts work. While you’re there, your child can open a Kids Savings Account or make a deposit on their own. It’s also a good idea to print out your kid’s monthly statements and explain how the balance can grow over time.
Kids’ adventures in saving are life-changing — if they learn to live within their means, they increase their chances for a debt-free life. And they add a layer of financial security for a better future. Looking for more ways to teach your child to save? Contact Member Services.