Teach Kids to be Smart with Money

Smart with Money

Being smart with your money includes shopping smart and saving. As part of America Saves Week (February 23-28) teach the kids in your life about the importance of saving money. For kids who crave instant gratification, it can be extremely hard to not immediately spend that $5 bill they just earned or received as a gift. But after seeing their money grow using these 8 money tips, they will understand the rewards of saving.

  1. Set a savings goal. Have kids decide what they are saving for and how much money they will need to save. Saving for something specific and knowing what it will cost is more motivating than just sticking money in a jar with no end or reward in sight. Then, determine how long it will take to save for the cost of the whole amount. Explain that by saving $10 a month you can get that new $40 game in 4 months, but by saving $20 a month you can get it in 2 months. The more you regularly put away, the quicker you get what you want!
  2. Use visuals to motivate. Consider putting a picture of the item or something that represents the experience they are saving for on or next to the savings jar. If kids don’t have anything specific in mind, have them put aside a portion of their money each week. Then when they do discover something they want, the money just might be there already!
  3. Saving should be only part of the goal. As part of regular savings, have kids divide their money into multiple jars for different purposes. Maybe 1/3 of their money can be spent however they want, 1/3 goes to savings, and 1/3 goes to their favorite charity. Making this a habit will ensure all three jars grow regularly.
  4. Raise interest in interest. Open a savings account at a bank and explain that they will pay you to put money in their bank. Why? Because banks use the money to make loans to others. Have kids review their bank accounts regularly to see how much interest is being added.
    To get kids even more excited about saving, you might want to kick in extra money as a percentage of what they save. For example, provide 10% interest for every dollar they save. This may be more encouraging to them then the interest they might receive from the bank.
  5. Save first! Have kids put money they receive in savings right away. Then they won’t be tempted to spend it. Kids will learn quickly that if they don’t put aside the money first, and instead spend it, it is gone.
  6. Start a money journal. Have older kids write down everything they buy. Maybe spending $5 each week on snacks after school isn’t worth putting off getting that new skateboard. Keeping track of their spending will help kids realize where their money goes and may lead to changes in their spending and saving habits.
  7. Talk about your saving. Discuss how much money you save and why. Be honest about how sometimes it can be difficult to save. But show excitement about saving and how you look forward to saving enough to buy certain things. Another important lesson to talk about is how you weigh your decisions on whether to buy something or not.
  8. Be a smart shopper. Have kids look for sales, clearance items, or use coupons. They can check if the book they want is less expensive online or maybe find it in a cool used bookstore. Explain that finding a deal can leave extra money in their pockets for their next savings goal!

To learn more about shopping smart Field Trip Factory has a number of Be a Smart Shopper Field Trips where students learn about shopping for nutritious foods at grocery stores with value in mind.

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