During Military Saves Week, we encourage all military families to sit down and take a look at their finances, set new goals, save money, and build wealth. And for many adults, it’s an easy concept: spending less equals saving more. But what do our kids understand about saving money?
Have they watched you swipe your credit card to buy new things more than they’ve seen you write your budget at the kitchen table? Do they follow your lead by giving more than they take? Teaching kids about smart money habits varies from family to family, but I have a simple way to help if you aren’t sure where to start…EGGS.
E. Earn money. Let’s be real, the pattern of life for most will be going to school for 12 years, maybe attending college for 4-6 more, then working to earn a living. Ironically, kids want to be productive, too. And they want to earn your praise…and a few dollars! Teaching them to earn money through tasks, like cleaning chores, babysitting, bathing the dog, or getting good grades gives them a platform to understand that money isn’t handed to them for no reason. Hard work pays.
G. Goals are important. Setting goals on your financial journey is important. What are you saving for? We answer it as adults to get a vision in our minds of what we’re working towards. Your child needs the same concept, but making it something they can tangibly look at might help. Try making a poster board with boxes to check at each dollar earned. Saving to $20? Twenty boxes to color in or cover with a sticker. (Don’t forget your happy dance!)
G. Give before you spend. Instilling a heart to give in your child can be one of the most rewarding things they’ll remember from childhood—that’s the case for me anyway. I went to Disney World frequently and got new toys often, but my fondest memory was the savings jar my dad got for me. I’d put a dollar in it each time I earned money, and during the holidays, I’d use my “giving” money to purchase a toy for a needy child through our church’s Christmas Angel program. It taught me to consider others before myself—a trait I think more of us need in this world.
S. Spend smartly. Your kid saves money, and decides it’s time to buy something. Teaching them to shop around, find a good deal, and spend smartly can lead to these same smart money making decisions in adulthood. Using coupons and looking for sales can turn into a fun game if you make it one! This is also a perfect time to talk about impulse spending. If you child sees a new toy at the store that they HAVE to buy, leave it. Go home, think it over, and decide in 24 hours if it’s worth it.
It’s funny how these simple tips are completely usable by adults, too. Saving money isn’t hard to do, but developing the habits, and controlling the impulses to go rogue are a little bit tougher to manage. Your child’s money smarts start with you, so take some time to help them learn and eventually it’ll pay off…and they’ll be billionaires taking care of you. Isn’t that EGGciting?!
What other money-saving lessons do you teach your kids? We’d love to hear from you!
Posted by Shannon Prentice, Content Development Manager