Today I have a guest post from Elkyra over at Easy Parenting Hacks all about teaching kids to save money. As a parent I cannot stress how important this is and also wish I had learnt to appreciate money from a much younger age.
How to Teach Kids to Save Money
Saving money is an important life skill that we all need to learn to increase our wealth and have a secured future. However, majority of us discover about the importance of saving up the hard way – mostly through errors and awful experiences.
Unfortunately, saving money is a subject that isn’t taught in school. Some parents even fail to discuss this topic with their kids. When those kids become adults, they are often left to protect themselves from the consequences of mismanaging their finances.
Don’t fear just yet, dear parents. There are ways to help our children learn how to save money so they can better handle their finances in the future. Start them young, they say. If you are a parent just like me, or a guardian, let me share with you some ways on how to teach kids to save money.
PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH
When I was young, my mother calls me to join her manage my father’s salary. She shows me that this particular amount goes to our schooling. Another set of cash goes to our monthly bills such as electricity, water, and others. Then, there’s another for our food and daily consumption…and so on.
Back then, I did not understand what purpose it was serving. I often ask her why I needed to be there and she just smiles at me. Little did I know that she is teaching me how to properly allocate funds for different purposes.
My mom whips out her calculator in the grocery store and let us check for prices for each of the items in her grocery list. She asks us to compare prices for the same products and carefully explains to us about her choices.
After deciding to pick one item over the other, she punches the amount into the calculator to get the total of everything we have put in our cart. This way, she knows if she stuck to her budget.
I never got the point until I have grown up. My mother definitely showed us the importance of conscientiously managing money by demonstrating what to do…and I am grateful for this.
You may not know it but kids are always looking at you. You are their first role model so you need to set a healthy example that they can follow.
Always look for teachable moments even in the simplest tasks and inject what you know just to teach concepts to your kids. Remember that the minutes you spend for this will greatly impact your child’s money management in the future. So, never ever get tired of explaining the whys or hows.
USE CLEAR JARS FOR SAVING
Using the piggy bank is the most common saving solution for kids. However, it does not give your kids a visual that their savings is growing. They will not see that they have just a quarter yesterday and added a dollar today.
For this reason, it is best to use clear jars. Talk to your kid about making their money “grow” and how exciting it is. Tell them that the money will be used for something that they want to buy in the future.
If your kid wants a new toy, tell him that they have to save up for it using their jar. Provide them with small allowance per every successfully completed task so they are encouraged to save this.
If they want to buy another toy or thing, provide a separate jar for this so they have different saving goals. To avoid confusion, put a picture of their goal on the specific jar.
Help your child count every time he adds money to his jar. Tell him how much more he needs to reach his goal. This will give him something to look forward to, and will also teach him about patience and saving.
MAKE THEM UNDERSTAND THAT THINGS COST MONEY
For example, say “this toy costs $5”. Let them get the needed $5 from their savings jar, and take the money to the store so they can hand the money to the cashier. This might be a small thing but it will greatly affect your kid in the future.
LET THEM WAIT
This is something that the experts call delaying gratification. It means that if they really want something, the will have to wait and work hard to buy it. However, this is a difficult concept for little kids to understand. So it is best if you explain this during your teachable moments.
For instance, if you are in the store and your kid wants to buy something, say something like “We don’t have money for this yet”. This will force your child to save fast so that he can buy what he wants.
You can also say that “We are here in the store to buy something for ____. We are not here to buy anything for you”. This way, your kids will understand that going to the store does not automatically mean that you will buy something for them.
If your child is eyeing on buying a toy (and saving up for it), make sure that it is not too expensive that he won’t be able to buy it in a year. This will be frustrating for him so start by letting him buy something that is within his means.
But if he is insisting on buying that pricey toy, help him reach his goal by matching the amount so that he can buy it within a feasible timeframe.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO TALK
Money should not be a topic that scares you. You should not avoid it either. If kids have questions, answer them. For instance, if a child asks “are we rich?”, answer it in a way that your important family values are highlighted – hard work and mindful spending.
Talk about the difference between wants and needs, and which ones to prioritize if they have money. Be always open to talk about what they want to save up for, or what they think their future will be like. Encourage them to ask questions if there are things that they don’t understand.
Discuss financial matters with your spouse even when kids are around. Tackle subjects such as retirement funds or accounts, asking for a raise, mutual investments, and more in their presence.
While it is true that they don’t understand this yet, they will pick up on this through repetition as time goes by.
I know that it is tough to teach little ones to save money but hang in there. The earlier you start teaching them these concepts, the better they are in handling money in their adult years as they’ve had years of practice.
Remember is imparting knowledge about financial matters is one of the best investments that you will be leaving your kids with. Good luck! Happy saving!
Elkyra Park is a first-time mom who can no longer count how many baby products she has reviewed for her sanity and her son’s sake. She discusses about the realities of parenthood and how to gracefully cope with the struggles over at www.easyparentinghacks.com