Teaching your kids how to save money is no easy task, and there’s no one right way to do it. The truth is there are a million ways to teach your kids about this topic, and you can start them pretty young. Kids are young as eight or nine can not only learn how to spend and save responsibly.
One easy method to try is the three-jar method. To do this, you first have to commit to giving your child a weekly allowance. Work together to put together a chore list or other criteria that gives them a chance to earn a little bit of money, then commit to a fair dollar amount to pay them for doing these chores, say, $5 or $10 a week.
The next step to this teaching method is to get your three jars. You can reuse jars that you already have at home or head to the craft store for three mason jars. Decorate the jars if you want, but make sure there is space left for labels. Then, give each jar a label: long-term, charity, and fun.
When you give your child their allowance every week, make sure you use $1. Then, have them divide the money between these three jars, encouraging them to put at least $1 and $2 into each jar and then spreading the remaining out however they want.
This method is a great way to demonstrate the value of saving money. The long-term jar is for savings, and when your child fills it, take them to the bank and open a savings account. If you want to show the value of matching contributions, which your children will need to know about as they get older, match the deposit. Your child will see their savings double instantly, and saving money will seem even more tempting.
When your child fills their charity jar, spend some time with them deciding what organization to donate the money to. Try to find something that your child is passionate about to encourage them to be charitable. For example, if your child loves sea turtles or elephants, look for a charity that helps those animals. Match the donation to show your child that charity is important to you, too.
Most parents expect their child to put the required amount into the long-term and charity jars and automatically put the rest straight in the fun jar. And some weeks, that is exactly what will happen. But not all the time.
The great thing about using jars is that your child can see how much they have inside. If they have a good amount in the fun jar, they may see that they have enough money for fun and choose to put additional money into the long-term or charity jar.
By giving your child the power to make their own decisions about money using a well-thought-out approach like the three-jar method, you help them learn the value of a dollar, and you also show them that money offers opportunities that go well beyond buying toys and candy. By encouraging them to save and give to charity, you’re setting them up for good financial habits in the future.
It’s not hard to teach your children how to manage money, but it does take time and patience. The three-jar method is a simple approach that lays the foundation for good financial habits in the future, and it gives them the freedom to do things their own way.
Ultimately, what matters most is that you talk to your children about money. Many parents have a difficult time doing so, but taking the time to ensure they know the value of a dollar and the difference that a dollar can make is worth more than you might think.