Hopefully you are not like me and struggle with having a savings account. Which is why I feel that it is so important to teach our kids, especially at a young age, how to save and be wise with their money. Shoot, I wish my parents sat down with me and gave me some pointers on how to save. And, of course I’m working on that right now, but as an adult and never learning how to save before… it’s much much harder doing it now.
So, today i’m here to give you a few tips on how to teach your little ones how to save.
I know you are probably thinking, well you can’t even save for yourself, why on earth should I listen to you!? Well, like I said… for MYSELF it’s a WORK IN PROGRESS…. BUT for my kids thats a different story. I know what was NOT taught to me as a child, which is why I feel it’s important to teach my kids how to save.. in hopes that they will be more wise with their spending habits and also be able to have a savings account in case they need to fall back on it.
In the past I’ve tried many different approaches on teaching my kids how to save their money. My husband and I would give them a few bucks, tell them to put it in their piggy bank and/or wallet, and when it came time for them to want to spend their own money, we would ALWAYS give in and wouldn’t allow them to spend their money, and end up purchasing the item(s) they wanted ourselves.
What I’ve learned from doing this was not teaching them how to be wise with their decisions and it wasn’t even allowing them to actually spending their own money. I was also not letting them really work to save up for whatever else they wanted next because we would always end up giving in and purchasing it ourselves.
It wasn’t until my sister gave me a few pointers on how she teaches her kids how to save. So, I do have to give ALL the credit to my sister. Her children (my niece and nephews) know how to save their money and know how to spend their money very wisely. I’m always impressed with their decisions and savings. Which just blows my mind.
So what are the tips?
Below I am sharing with you all 3 things that I CURRENTLY have been doing with Melia and Avery for about a year or so now. Doing these steps below, I’ve noticed that Melia spends her money wisely and actually THINKS about what she wants and doesn’t want, and also gives them something to look forward too.
Tip 1 | Long savings and short savings
I teach my children 2 types of savings… long and short savings. They pretty much speak for themselves, but what I really focus on is the long savings. So what I do is talk with my kids and let them know… you have 2 types of saving accounts… your LONG savings you CANNOT touch for so and so years. For instance my kids CANNOT touch their long savings until they are 10 years old. And short savings they can touch whenever they like (if needed). Doing these 2 types of savings, teaches them the responsibility of not touching their long savings, and that is really for emergencies and as they get older for investments and/or retirement. In their case because they are still little, they will be given the choice that they can touch their long savings once they hit the age of 10 or they can continue to save it.
Short savings is a savings account they can touch at anytime if they want… IF NEEDED. I don’t give them a time on when they can touch it, and they can choose to spend their money whenever they want, as long as they’ve build up their short savings amount to whatever it is that they want to purchase.
Tip 2 | Save 25% to 50% of the money given
So whenever I give them an allowance or money, I ALWAYS tell them to put at least 25%-50% of that into their long savings. I give them that option to choose what they want. Sometime if they aren’t really wanting anything at the store or have been eyeing lately, they will put 50% of the allowance I gave them into their long savings, and sometimes they won’t. It really just depends. But they do have to put a minimum of 25% into their long savings. Not only are they learning how to save for long term, but it’s also teaches them how to make wise decisions. After they puts the money into their long savings (they both have separate savings), they will then put the remaining into their short savings.
For instance…. I give Melia and Avery $10 each… I say “ok you need to either put between $2.50-$5.00 into your long savings (they don’t know 25%-50% yet so I have to break it down for them) and the rest put it into your short savings”. This is when I let THEM decide weather how much they want to put in their long savings.
Also, when it comes to their long savings account… I DO NOT have a CD account for them (I don’t like CD accounts & am currently having a HARD time with a CD account that my parents opened for me when I was little)… so I keep their long savings in a checking account for them. Yes, you can open a checking account for your kids. You will be on the account as well since they are under 18, but having an account opened gives them more of a hype to save more in their long savings account (just make sure your banking institute doesn’t charge you fees). *trick of the trade* And for their short savings it is placed in their own wallet.
When it comes to allowances, I don’t give my kids weekly allowances. I personally don’t want them to get use to having a weekly allowance nor do I pay my kids for doing chores. So how do they earn money? I just them money whenever I can. Sometimes it’s $20.00 and sometimes it’s only $2.00. So don’t feel like you HAVE to give them a weekly allowance. Do what works for you. If you want to start giving your kids some money for doing chores… then go for it! I also give them money based on their progress/report cards from school. So, they know if they work hard at school and get good grades they will get money for all their hard work.
Tip 3 | Making wise decisions
I think this is a really imporant step and this is where I fail at most times. When it comes that time where your kids want to purchase something at the store; just know they are at free will and can spend ALL MY MONEY that’s in their short or long savings (if that time has come) and to them it doesn’t matter on what! Well, yes that may be true, BUT this is where you need to step in and re-assure them that they need to make good choices when it comes to spending their money. Do they want to blow it all in one store? Do they want to spend it all on toys they’ve never played with or were interested in before? Will this be something they can play with for awhile? Do they need yet another almost identical toy when they already have one at home?
Questions need to be asked. You have to remember, when they get there.. the only feelings they have are excitement! Also, you can re-assure them that Walmart or Target are NOT the only stores in the world! If they wait and are PATIENT you can take them to the other store(s) another day.
Ever since I’ve been doing this, it not only teaches the girls to be patient, but seriously teaches them to really be wise with their decisions and the money they are spending. They really think about the toys they picked up. They calculate to see if they have enough money for it all. They re-think if they really do want it. And, giving them an option that they don’t have to spend their money all at one store.. teaches them patience. I’m not going to lie.. there’s been times where Avery will through a fit because she doesn’t find anything she really likes at the store and gets inpatient because her sister found something she really likes and purchased it. So even though Avery made a wise decision to not waste her money on things she doesn’t even like at the store, she is still walking out with nothing and most likely crying because of it. When I see good decisions like that being made, I like to tell her that I’ll take her to another store to see if she can find anything there. It may not be that same day, but again it teaches her patience. So, if you really think about it… all of these steps that I mentioned for far, all teaches them important things.
ok… and for the last tip
Tip 4 | Let them purchase it
Whenever it’s time to check out… I let them be the ones to place their items on the conveyor belt, and I also let them be the ones to pay for it. Yet, another step that improves them with their math and counting.
Now, here is the important part…if they don’t know enough money, this is where I step in and explain that they went over their budget and they will need to put something back. I DO NOT cover the remaining cost. Doing this, will NOT teach them anything. It teaches them that MOM/DAD will ALWAYS be there to cover my back. Which is why it’s very important to explain to them that they must put something back because they do not have enough. They might be sad or mad, but it’s ok! It’s a learning lesson for them.
Also, when it comes to the receipt… explain the purpose of the receipt. They need to be taught that they have to keep it just in case they need to return or exchange it, incase it’s broken or doesn’t work. Have them keep it with them in their wallet for 30 days or whatever it says on the back of the receipt. This teaches them responsibility.
So there you have it. I hope these all these tips encourage you to start teaching your little ones how to save. Again, this doesn’t have to stress you out. If you can’t give them something weekly… then just do it whenever you can. Weather it’s coins.. a buck… or 5 bucks. Do what works for you.
If you have any savings tips that you do for yourself or your children, comment them down below! I would love to read what you do too!