Getting kids into the savings habit.
Just like other behaviours, a child’s attitude to money is formed at a young age. It’s never too early or too late to teach kids about good savings habits.
Helping them save.
Chances are if your child is exposed to any advertising at all, there’s probably no shortage of “must-have” items they’ve set their sights on. Giving in to each of our children’s whims may lead to a house filled with unused junk, and highly dissatisfied kids. So how can you get them excited about saving, and working towards what they want?
When it comes to talking about money, it can be a very intangible concept, so where possible, use coins or cash to help illustrate their progress (e.g. building up money in a jar) toward that “want” item.
Create a savings goals chart
Work with your child to make a savings goal. Spend time researching where to get what they’re after for the best price, and how long it will take them to save for it based on your method of paying them (e.g. for chores, from their part time jobs etc.).
A great way to help visualise their goals is to create a savings chart you can display somewhere prominent (on the fridge is always a handy spot).
Put a picture of what they’re saving for alongside a tracking method such as a savings chart, or if you’re using cash, a jar where they can see the money grow. Then each week they can track their progress as they move closer to their savings goal.
More than one goal? Try different coloured jars
If your child has more than one item they are interested in, you could use a different jar for each item. Allocate one jar for each toy/item they would like and stick a picture of it on their jar (or maybe get them to draw a picture of it). Each time they get their pocket money or money for doing chores they can deposit different amounts into each jar. Consider helping them to prioritise their ‘wants’ from most wanted to least and work out how much they’ll attribute to each ‘want’.
This is a great way to teach them about positive saving habits, delayed gratification, and the importance of budgeting.
Keeping the motivation going with a rewards system
Although the aim is to teach your child beneficial savings habits, rewarding them when they reach certain milestones can be a great way to keep the motivation going. You could consider matching their contributions or putting in a bonus when they reach a certain amount; alternatively you might want to leave the saving to them, but reward them with a treat when they reach a milestone. And keep them on their toes – you don’t want them expecting a reward every time they reach a milestone!
Doing your bit – set a good example
Children tend to learn their behaviour from what they see their parents doing and savings habits are no different. That’s why it’s important you let them see you save as well. Perhaps think about setting up a family savings jar for something you can do together like a holiday, or a day out in school holidays. Plan together how much you need to save and make the goal visible too.