By helping your children form good savings behaviors at a young age, habits will form that will last them a lifetime. Knowing how to save wisely is just as (if not more) important than tying their shoes or riding a bike. This is a skill set that if learned early, can help them tremendously in their adult life. See what you can do to help by reviewing the resources below.
Age: 3 – 5 years old
At this age, it may be too soon for them to comprehend how much something is worth. However, it is always a good idea to get them comfortable with what money is and what it is used for.
- Start a “Savings Jar” and teach your child to place a coin in the jar every day. Once the jar reaches a certain amount, allow them to purchase a toy or special item.
- Pretend Play – Cut out pretend money for your child to play with. You can download a copy by clicking here.
Elementary to Middle School
Age: 6 – 12 years old
At this age, your child will begin to absorb habits and attitudes about what their parents do and say. In fact, parents are the most important influence on a child’s financial world.
- Start giving your child an allowance, or give them to opportunity to earn money by doing extra chores around the house.
- Take them to the credit union to make deposits in their account. With our Sandy Savers Kids Club, for every $10 deposit, the member gets a stamp. After 5 stamps, they get a cool prize.
- When planning your child’s birthday party, give them a budget and allow them to help decide what they would like to have. This will not only teach your child the cost of their party, but will help you to stay in budget as well.
- Consider a “matching plan” for your child’s savings. For every dollar or two they save, you deposit 25 cents. Use this example to explain to them how dividends work, and the more they save, the more free money they earn.
- Make a shopping list with your child before heading to the grocery store. Talk about how difficult it can be to keep to just your list. If you happen to go over, add up how much money you spent buying extra items.
- Show your child what information is included on a receipt, and how sales tax works. You can download this helpful worksheet here.
High School & Young Adulthood
Age: 13 – 21 years old
At this age, teens and young adults start making financial decisions on their own. Teach them how to spend wisely, and then monitor their shopping before setting them free on their own.
- Show them what a paycheck looks like. You can download a worksheet here. If they already have a job, point out all the different parts of their check to show them where it all goes – gross pay, social security, health insurance, etc.
- As a general rule, it is always good to save at least 10% of what you earn. Help your child set up an automatic withdrawal online, or through direct deposit, so their money is automatically saved each paycheck.
- Help your child create a budget. Teach them how it is important to make more than you spend, otherwise you will go into debt.
- Once your teen has their own checking account, they can begin using their own debit card as well. Show them the fees associated with overdrawing their account, and how they can add up if they aren’t keeping track of what all they have spent.
- Once your child turns 18, the credit card offers will start rolling in. It is important that they know this money has to be paid back, and the expensive consequences of revolving debt. To teach them a safe way to earn credit, open a small $500 credit card, and have them pay off the balance each month. If your teen isn’t ready for that, they can always open a shared secured card instead.