How to teach your kids to save money
August 4, 2023
If you’re a parent thinking about how to teach your kids to save money, you’re already on the right track. We all want our kids to have the best possible futures when it comes to finances. Establishing good savings habits in childhood now can help them later as they become independent adults. The sooner you start teaching your children about saving money, the better. Here’s some tips to get you started.
When should I start teaching my children about money?
Before you begin: open a savings account
As a parent, you should begin by opening your child a savings account as soon as they are born. While they’re still infants, you can help out by depositing money into the account so they have a small foundation to start on. Deposit any money gifted to the child by family or friends, plus any extra funds you can afford to contribute, into the account. That money can begin earning interest or dividends depending on the account type you choose. The sooner you fund the account, the better.
Start with simple concepts
Once your child reaches an age where coins are no longer a choking hazard, you can start showing them how money works. Have them pay attention when you check out at stores. Play games with them using grocery store or cash register toys. When they learn how to count, you can teach them the value of each coin and bill, and use fake money to play addition and subtraction games.
How do I encourage my kids to save money?
Avoid instant gratification
Start teaching your kids to save money by resisting the urge to buy them whatever they want, whenever they want it. We know that this can be easier said than done, but any tantrums will be worth it. Even adults don’t get to make every impulse buy they’d like to.
Allow them to earn their own money
Give your children opportunities to earn money so they can learn that saving up pays off. They’ll feel accomplished when they are able to use their savings to buy something they want. It’s a good idea to have them earn their money through an allowance for completed chores. According to Finder.com, almost 30 million parents in the U.S. give their children an allowance averaging $14 per week. Giving them chores will also teach them housekeeping skills that will be valuable and necessary once they live on their own.
Incentives are another great way to encourage saving. Offer a reward for them when they reach a certain savings goal – like an ice cream night or a trip to the movie theater. Another thing you could do is promise to match their contribution up to a certain point to help them reach a savings goal for costlier items – like a bicycle or video game, for example.
How do I make saving a habit?
Teach your kids that anytime they receive money, whether it be allowance or a gift, they need to put it directly into their savings before anything else. Help them develop a routine when it comes to doing chores and earning money.
Consider using a piggy bank
Get your child a piggy bank so they can watch their savings grow right in front of their eyes. It will make a much greater impact for the child to physically see their money grow than to have it all stowed away in an electronic account. Perhaps you could let them take a portion of their piggy bank money at the end of each month to buy a nonessential item, and then deposit the remainder in their savings account. Make sure they know that their money in the account is growing even more just by being there.
How can I teach my kids to budget?
Teaching your kids what are essential items and what aren’t is a good place to start. Help them set savings goals. If they want to buy a certain toy or visit a certain store, tell them how much it will cost so that they have a number to work toward. If they really want that item, they will have to save all their money until they reach that goal, forcing them to decide for themselves what isn’t important.
Another thing that can help your children learn to plan their finances is keeping records. This is for kids old enough to have learned basic addition and subtraction. If they have all their savings in an account, make sure they check the statements regularly and calculate a monthly spending total. If they are using cash from a piggy bank, have them write down each amount they put in and take out to calculate their monthly spending totals that way.
When can I get my child a debit or credit card?
Target the teen years
When your child reaches their teens and starts working at their first job, it would be a good time for them to open a checking account with a debit card that their paychecks can be deposited into. Our Jump Start Checking is designed for young adults age 15-22, and is a perfect starter account with $0 maintenance fees and all the features of our First Advantage Checking including online banking.
Help them build credit
To help your child build credit, you can start by adding them as an authorized user on a credit card with you as the primary user. This way, as long as you make the monthly payments on time, they will begin to build credit without having to do anything. The youngest an authorized user can be on many credit cards is 13.
When you do this, you do not have to give the card to them just yet. In fact, you shouldn’t let them borrow any money unless they know they can pay it back immediately. This lesson will be easy if they have already learned how to budget their money.
How can I set a good example?
Be a role model
In order to teach your kids to save money, you must be a good saver yourself. Make sure you have emergency funds in case of mistakes and surprises and prepare for your retirement. For more resources on savings and budgeting, visit our blog.
Keep conversation open
Talk about your household finances in front of them. Some parents are reluctant to talk about this with their kids. But in order to teach them good habits, it’s best to keep communication about finances open so your kids are comfortable asking questions about it. Don’t just tell them what to do, also tell them what not to do and how those actions could negatively impact them.