My first lesson in saving was when I was six years old. My mom would sit down at the kitchen table with me and let me pick out the coupons we needed. I still remember it like it was yesterday—and I've been a saver ever since!
Today I'm a mother of three children—all under 7 years old. I love to teach them about saving—and I especially love to see them put it into action! Learn more about how to make your children smart savers (no matter how young they are!).
National “Teach Children to Save Day”
On Friday, April 24, 2015, banks around the country team up for the 19th consecutive year to present savings workshops to students. (Mark your calendars now!)
Workshops are sponsored by the American Banking Association (ABA) and may take place in schools, banks, community centers, libraries, or elsewhere in your local community. You can also use a few free materials to teach your kids at home—individual lessons are tailored for kindergarten through sixth grade.
Great savings and couponing tools
These tools are age-appropriate.
- For very young children, the ABA suggests using clear, labeled jars as visual savings aids.
- Dave Ramsey's DIY envelope system is also a great visual aid for young kids.
- For older kids and young teenagers, tangible, hands-on tools like Money Savvy Pig can work well.
- Teens and college students (and adults!) will enjoy online tools like Smarty Pig.
- Check out Dave Ramsey's free resources for kids that are 3 years of age or older, including Junior's Clubhouse and Smart Money Smart Kids.
- Even very young kids can learn to use a simple coupon binder with great success!
- Tweens, teens, and college students may enjoy couponing apps (this post, this article, and this tip have some of KCL's favorites!)
- Teens and college students will benefit from using KCL's Stock-Up Price Sheet and Couponing Spreadsheet.
Tips to teach children to save
These tips can help you teach your kids the value of saving early in life.
1. Lessons about earning and saving
- Tie chores to the child's allowance, assigning a dollar value to each chore. Children can calculate what they earn as they complete each chore.
- Make allowance increases contingent upon the child saving a portion of the increase.
- Help kids make "needs" and "wants" lists—this will help them prioritize their savings goals.
2. Lessons about banking and saving
- Go with your child to the bank to set up their first savings account.
- Offer "bonus" deposits when they reach certain amounts in their account.
- Help them read their savings statements and teach them to use their check register.
3. Lessons about giving and saving
- Help your child identify a cause that they care about (for instance, homeless pets, hungry kids, world peace) and explain they can do something to help that cause through giving.
- Teach your children how to prepare and send in their donations.
4. Lessons about money management and saving
- Be open and willing to answer your children's money, savings and couponing questions.
- Children are natural "imitators"—let them learn side-by-side with you by setting them up with their own simple "accounts" and budget.
5. Lessons about payday and saving
- Sync your own payday with kids' paydays (allowance, part-time jobs, extra chores).
- Teach them to pay bills first, set aside savings next, and then focus on giving or investing.
6. Lessons about Internet safety and saving
- Talk to your kids and teens about online predators and financial criminals who want to steal what they save. Teach them how to protect themselves online.
- As a family, decide on "Internet safety" rules you all pledge to keep together.
- As your kids get a bit older, you can expand the lesson to debit card, credit card and check safety.
Tips to teach kids to coupon
Try these simple ideas to introduce your kids to couponing!
1. Give them simple age-appropriate tasks to help you as you coupon
- Very young kids could help you buy and then pull out the Sunday paper coupon inserts.
- Kids age 5 or older can help by cutting out paper coupons (be sure to teach them about outdated coupons first—before they cut your valuable weekly shopping coupons!).
- Young teenagers and older children can help you organize your coupons into a system.
- Teens and college students can help you root out and save app-based coupons.
2. Give them their own couponing tools
- Kids that are age 5 or older (who seem to enjoy couponing) may want to use their own coupon binder.
- Teach them about a few different coupon organization systems and help them set up the system of their choice.
- Let them pick out their own coupons each week and redeem a few at each weekly shopping trip (nothing sells couponing like the thrill of saving on something you love!).
- When they get an allowance, help them understand how couponing will help them to have more to spend (this is a great lesson to tie couponing and saving together!).
- Introduce them to a spreadsheet system so they can track how much they save weekly, monthly and annually.