One of the most valuable lessons that we can pass on to our children is teaching them how to be financially responsible.
According to Forbes Magazine, it’s crucial that parents teach children to save money from an early age. In their article, Forbes features advice from the financial expert and bestselling author, Beth Kopliner. She claims that children as young as three can grasp financial concepts, including saving and spending.
In fact, if you don’t teach your children to save money during the early childhood years, you may miss a critical window of opportunity.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge found that our money habits are formed by age seven.
Are you teaching your child the healthy financial habits they’ll need later in life?
If you want some helpful ideas, check out these fun ways to teach children to save!
Why You Should Make Learning about Money Fun
Teaching your child practically anything can be a lot easier on both of you by making it fun.
Making learning fun doesn’t just help increase your child’s willingness. The lessons that we enjoy are those most likely to stick with us later in life.
Research shows that when learning is fun, it creates authentic learning experiences for the student. Furthermore, authentic learning boosts the long-term memory that’s associated with whatever we learn.
Making learning fun may be helpful because it increases your child’s willingness to learn. It also means that they’re more likely to remember what you teach them and maintain those habits as they grow.
5 Fun Ways You Can Teach Children to Save Money
Using fun, money-saving tactics to teach your kids will benefit you both. We’ve made a list of some ideas to help you get started.
1. Let Your Child Become Familiar with Spending Money
Right now you might be thinking, “Wait a minute. I want to teach my kids how to save money, not spend it!”.
Children first need to understand why money is worth saving. To do this, they need to know that it can be used to pay for things.
This will help teach children to save money because they will learn its value. It will also teach them that everything isn’t priced equally. The more something costs, the more that they will have to save to buy it.
When they understand these concepts, it will make more sense that they won’t be able to afford certain purchases immediately. Therefore, when they can’t afford something that is important to them, they can save until they have enough money to pay for it.
So how can you teach them about spending?
You can let them be a part of your household’s day-to-day spending habits.
Give Them Cash
Children aren’t likely to understand how checks and debit cards work right away. That’s why it’s best to first introduce the concept of cash.
Even toddlers can begin learning the value of a dollar when you let them pay for goods or services.
When you go to the mall to buy them a pair of shoes, give your kids the cash to pay when it’s time to check out.
If you purchase an item from a vending machine, let them put the coins in the machine. If you have to pay a parking meter, they can put the change in the meter.
Showing them that money can be exchanged for things of value will help them realize its worth.
If you have older children, when you go to the grocery store, let them do the shopping.
Don’t worry. There’s a catch, so you won’t walk away with the entire aisle of ice cream.
Give them a list of ingredients and must-have items for the week, as well as a budget. Tell them that they must get everything on your list and stay within your budget.
To make it extra fun, you can offer an incentive for staying within the budget. You might let them choose how they spend any extra cash that is left. Or you may allow them to keep any leftover funds for themselves.
2. Create a Savings Jar
Give your child a clean, clear jar. Make a slit in the lid that is large enough to accommodate change.
A clear jar makes it easier to teach children to save by providing visual reinforcement that allows them to see their progress.
Offer them different amounts of change for things like small household chores, making a good test grade, or helping their brother with his homework. As they earn their “pay”, they can deposit the change into the jar.
When the jar is full, count the savings together. Let them decide how they will spend their earnings.
This activity is a great way to teach children to save while also getting them to help out. And they will be excited to add to the jar and watch their savings grow.
3. Learn to Earn
Give your child a job and set a “salary” that they will earn for completing the job each week. Explain that if they fail to do the job, then they will lose the opportunity to earn any payment.
Instead of making it regular chores, try to be creative.
Come up with an out of the ordinary task and explain their responsibilities so that they understand what is expected of them. You could even print out a “job description”.
They will be learning about the process of earning cash and rewarded for a job well done. At the end of the week, if they do their job then they get to spend their “paycheck” however they please.
Some ideas for a job might include:
- Yard duties, such as raking leaves, pulling weeds, or even mowing the grass if they are old enough
- Preparing lunch or desserts for the family
- Care of a family pet, such as feeding, watering, bathing, and walking them
4. Make a Goal Chart
Together, come up with a list of items that your child would like to buy. These items could include toys, games, sporting equipment, clothes or shoes.
Use the Internet to research how much each item will cost. If your child will have to order the item, you might also calculate the shipping costs.
Sometimes, items can carry a hefty shipping charge that can cost more than the product itself. This can also be a good lesson, especially for older children, to learn.
Print or draw a picture each item along with its price. Then, use these to create a chart that tracks your child’s progress towards their goal. Their goal, in this case, is the item that they desire.
For example, if your child receives an allowance of $5 dollars per week and the item they want to buy costs $20, they will need to save for four weeks to be able to purchase it.
Create a space for each week and mark an X in the space for every week of allowance earned.
They will be able to see when they have completed a quarter, half, or three-fourths of their goal. This will build excitement as they earn while you teach children to save towards the item that they want to purchase.
Learning how to set financial goals and what it takes to stick with them is an important skill that can help kids throughout their life.
Along the way, they will learn that it takes time and work to be able to accumulate money. This will teach children to save, as well as teaching the value of a dollar and the rewards of saving.
5. Make It a Family Affair
Get the whole family involved in a joint project. This will not only help teach children to save money but also help teach teamwork and provide opportunities for family bonding as well.
One way to do this is to save for a family vacation.
Budget how much the vacation will cost and make sure that you will be able to afford the bulk of it. Then set a family savings goal. Once the family reaches the goal, then the vacation can be planned, and the funds saved will go towards the costs.
The entire family must come up with ways to make money to help satisfy the goal. If they want to participate in the vacation (or whatever you choose to save for), then they have to do their part.
Perhaps your kids would like to have a weekend lemonade stand and use the earnings towards their share of the goal. Or, your son might mow lawns to earn his share, while your daughter offers to babysit for neighbors.
Younger siblings can help earn too.
You can ask them to sort through toys and clothes they no longer want to sell. Or they can create a homemade craft to sell to friends and relatives.
They could make potholders or friendship bracelets to support their cause. Oftentimes, people are happy to pay .50 cents or $1 dollar for something that a young child has made, even if it’s not particularly something they need.
Learn More Ways to Save
Kids aren’t the only ones who need to learn how to save money. While it’s great to teach children to save from an early age, we can all benefit from learning how to spend less and save more.
Want to learn how you can save money on daily spending habits?
Check out our blog for frugal living tips that anyone can do to start saving money right now!