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Instilling money-saving tips with your children from a young age is essential. Habits form early on in life, and overall, it is important for kids to start understanding the value of money as they grow. While it is okay to treat your children now and then, if there is a certain toy or game they want, try to guide them through how to save up for it themselves. They will often appreciate it more when they worked for it, and hopefully, continue these practices into their later years.
To start off, it is important to discuss with your child what money is so they can learn the value of it. We have all heard the saying that ‘money does not grow on trees’ in our life, so explain how you work for money. Learning about money can come within different environments that your child is exposed to. If you are at the supermarket with a grocery list, explain to your child the importance of sticking to the list, and teach them about buying the item with the best value for money. When you are at an ATM or swiping your card, explain where the money comes from. To a kid, it may look like there is a never-ending supply of free money with these facilities, so you have to explain to them that in actuality, you worked for the money, put it in the bank and saved it up.
Realistically, younger kids are not working or making much of their own money. Most money comes from birthdays, Christmas or some pocket money. Parents need to give their kids the opportunity to save, which can be undertaken by offering money for completing an extra chore, such as vacuuming or washing the car. Offering something small like $2 can build up quickly over time, in order for them to buy the specific items they desire. When they are an early teen and start making their own money through a casual job, they will already have the idea of saving overtime in their mind.
As your young kids slowly start earning money through completing house chores, they should be able to narrow down the items they desire to determine which one they really want to start saving for. It can be useful to buy a poster and write out a wishlist with your child, stating next to the item how much it costs, and draw a row of boxes to represent the number of weeks it will take for them to save up for it. For example, if they earn $2 per week, and their top desired item costs $12, it will take six weeks for them to save for it, so draw six boxes. Allow the kid to color in a box for every week they pass and have earned the pocket money, which makes it interactive too.
No child saving activities would be complete without the iconic piggy bank. The satisfaction of putting the coins in the tin and watching it get full is definitely a motivator for your child. Piggy banks are fun, and they can also be colour coordinated if your child wants to save up for multiple items. Of course, you can put in extra when they are doing a good job of saving too, like reaching a milestone to encourage them further. Make sure you offer to actually take them to the shops when they have reached their target amount, so they can see the benefits of saving.
Parents should be a good role model for their kids, so perhaps introducing a piggy bank of your own is a good way to teach them. Additionally, you could take them to the bank with you when you put money in your account or take it out, so they can understand how the process works. Moreover, it can be worth opening a child savings account on behalf of your child, where the contributions can be from yourself, your child, or a combination of both. They can gain access to this junior account once they reach a certain age also and perhaps use the money towards buying something major, like a car.
Conclusively, you should start explaining the value of money to your children at a young age and assist in their development of good saving habits. This can be undertaken by giving them the opportunity to earn money, helping them narrow down what they want most, and showing them how to save through lists and piggy banks. Overall, they will value these lessons as they get older, and appreciate what they have worked for even more than if you just bought it for them.
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