Every day is an opportunity for teaching saving to your children and helping them understand how to be smart with money, but today is a great day to plan something extra because it’s Teach Children to Save Day. Equipping your kids with a strong understanding of how to save and manage money is the best way to help them avoid unnecessary consumer debt later in life.
Teach Children to Save Day
Each year the American Bankers Association sponsors National Teach Children to Save Day in order to encourage banks around the nation to promote teaching saving concepts early in kids’ lives. Your local branch may be hosting events or appearing at schools to lead fun activities that show how important saving is and to help kids practice good saving habits.
Some banks may provide materials and ideas you can use to make saving a fun and informative activity for your kids. There are plenty of tools available all year round to foster good saving habits in children of all ages so they never get in trouble with credit card debt.
Teaching Saving Activities and Resources
Saving Activities for Kids
Your children need to have access to money in order to learn how to use it and save it responsibly. Rather than simply giving them an allowance, pay them for certain household chores or yard work. This way they understand that money doesn’t appear out of thin air but is earned through hard work.
Once they are earning money, have kids start three “accounts” in separate jars, piggy banks, or other containers. One jar is for spending, one is for saving, and the last one is for sharing. Money from the spending jar can be for snacks or small toys. Money from the saving jar can eventually be used to buy a larger item the child wants. Lastly, let them choose what to do with their “sharing” money, maybe donating to a charity or buying a gift for a sibling.
An especially good way to teach them the true value of saving is to partially match funds that are deposited in their “saving” jar. This way they learn that saving isn’t just about storing money for later use, but it is also the best way to make your money work for you.
Learning about saving early on will set them up to make good choices later. You may also consider teaching them a lesson about how to manage debt by letting them borrow money to help pay for toys or other “wants” more quickly. Be sure to talk about a repayment plan and charge them a little interest so they learn that borrowing isn’t free.
Simple Saving Education Tools
There’s no “proper age” to start teaching children about money and saving. ACCC provides different printable tools that parents can use to educate kids of various ages about money management:
- Preschool or Early Elementary Level (up to grade 2)
- Elementary Schoolers and Preteens (grades 3 to 6)
- Teenagers and High Schoolers (grades 7 to 12)
Virtual Tools for Teaching Saving
Kids grow up immersed in technology these days. There are a number of websites and apps that can be used to teach savings to children who are excited by technology. For example, ThreeJars.com takes the classic saving activity and moves it to an online space where parents can oversee their child’s activity and steer them toward good saving behavior. PlayMoolah is another interactive online service that has multiple games designed to “de-mystify money” for children and young adults.
Additionally, smartphone and tablet apps are perhaps the easiest way to provide tech-savvy kids with a way to learn personal finance skills. There are allowance apps like PiggyBot for younger savers or older children and young adults can benefit from an app like FamZoo, which teaches budgeting, borrowing, and even concepts like compound interest.
All of these digital tools are free, and allow parents to act as the bankers who oversee financial activity and control the flow of funds.
Teaching kids how to save and manage money early and often is a surefire way to provide them with the knowledge and skills needed to avoid unnecessary consumer debt when they get older.