Helping Kids Save Money – Mom is the “Banker”

by Lisa Douglas
One of our many piggy banks
in the house

When kids are little, it’s “easy,” isn’t it? Only dealing with coins and piggy banks and little ones fumbling for loose change in daddy’s pockets, or shrieking with delight when a coin falls out of the dryer, or is found in a couch cushion. But for the older kids, though, with tooth fairy visits and birthday money and odd-jobs payments a-comin’, their coins have turned to dollar bills, and their newfound riches are fastly becoming too intriguing to them to keep ceremoniously in a ceramic shape on their dresser.

Especially when their money began disappearing.

My older children began carrying it with them, ultimately losing it. They would bring it along “just in case” they were able to spend something while we were out, all without our knowing. Or, afraid others might find it, they’d hide it in random spots, and completely forget where they hid it, and it was seemingly lost forever.

That’s about the time we began having the “talk” with them. And no, not the birds and the bees talk, the money talk. The one that begins with, “I know it’s cool to have money, but…” and ends with lessons about saving and not spending it just because it’s there.

It doesn’t take very much to teach them, though, because they watch what we do constantly. That’s what children do as they grow, they observe. And part of this money-saving lesson is ensuring they watch you do what you’re teaching them, too. “Walking the walk,” as it were.

-They see us choosing to create homemade meals instead of eat out.
-They see us shopping many grocery stores for the best deals, and charting our progress.
-They watch us comparison shop, clip coupons, and wait until things go “on sale.”
-They watch us place spare change in our “Vacation Fund” jar so they witness that, no matter how little, all money matters.
-They watch me make things instead of buy, like homemade Christmas decorations.
-We enjoy doing crafts, playing outside, and renting movies instead of costly movie ticket prices.

To solve their “money being lost” issue, I instituted a new rule in the Douglas household – Mom is The Banker. Each child (except for the youngest two) received their own envelope with their name on it. Each child gave me all the (cash) money they could find to be placed into the envelope, and every time they earned more, received some from the Tooth Fairy, or received some for their birthday, or odd jobs, they gave it to me to “deposit” into their envelopes.

Their envelopes sit on a shelf above my office desk in my bedroom.

With each “deposit,” I write the date and amount. With each “withdrawal” (when there is one), I write the date and amount as well. They are not *supposed* to touch their money, but there have been times when they have, where my hands are otherwise busy, they wanted to be sneaky (whatever). But mom being the banker has totally helped my kids and saving.

When they come to me wanting to “withdraw” from their envelope, they need to discuss with us the reasons for wanting the item they are desiring to purchase, and we talk about it rationally, calmly, and ultimately decide whether it’s worth it or not. They also understand that mom controls their “finances” and, should they decide to be careless and not take care of something, they will have to owe to replace the item (like a scratched DVD or video game they left out carelessly).

Despite all this savings “talk” and such, while this method seems to be working well for us, we haven’t been very goal-minded as far as their money goes. They are saving their monies respectively, but there is no end-goal in mind, really, no intelligent rationalization when it comes to the “I want that toy!” talk with a parental response that could be, “But you can’t, you’re saving for xyz, remember?” Up until now, our responses/discussions have been, “Do you really need it? Why do you want to spend your hard-earned and saved money on that?” But I was introduced to the website Kidworth, and now I feel a lot more confident in the savings direction we’re going in.

Kidworth is a website devoted to helping children use their “income” productively by goal-setting and sharing. Whether that involves saving up for a “big” item (like a bike or, for teenagers, a car), investing or even charitable giving, Kidworth’s parent council has prebuilt goals to help steer children towards their money savings goals, all done with parental controls and piece of mind.

I’m particularly excited about using Kidworth for my newly sixteen-year-old in helping her save for a car. She’s actively looking for a job right now, and Kidworth is going to help her get to her goal much more efficiently than I could alone. My oldest son also wants to save up to enter Elite soccer, which is quite expensive at $1500. We’re using Kidworth to help him save up for that, too. Plus, we’re able to share with family and friends where we’re at, so they can help and donate to their savings, too!

Interesting, isn’t it? Take look at Kidworth’s “How it Works” page for excellent info on how it will help both you and your children

Look for upcoming posts about how we’re doing and what we’re accomplishing, as I am a Kidworth Ambassador and am happy to share about our money-saving adventures with you.

What do you do currently to help your children save money? Do you have goals in place for them?

Post sponsored by Kidworth

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