Your 10-year-old son has just come back from the candy store, the day after you gave him his allowance with his pockets full of candy. Not that there's actually anything drastically wrong with that, as long as he brushes his teeth after & still eats his dinner there shouldn't be any real problems - apart from the fact that he spent ALL of his weekly allowance on that candy. Within a few days, he'll be pestering you for more money so he can go out with his friends, go to the pool, or buy even more candy. You need to find some tips on how kids can save money before this happens again!
What is the solution? Fortunately there are a few simple steps you can take to help your child save over a thousand dollars within a few short years, without having to ban them from going to the shops.
1. When your child first starts receiving money, make sure they have a piggy bank or money tin in which they can put their money. There is no need to buy a special piggy bank from a shop (unless you want to), it is very easy to make your own piggy bank at home - and your child will probably appreciate it more if they've made it themselves. You can use an old coffee tin, jam jar, or just about anything with a lid.
2. When they are young, most of the money they receive will probably be small coins. Let them see how their money can grow by helping them count the money every four to six weeks. Any less than four weeks, and the increase in the money will most likely not be significant enough, which may actually discourage them. Place a chart on the fridge, and use it to record their savings, so they receive a regular reminder of how they money is increasing.
3. Every four to six weeks, when you help them count their money, exchange the small coins, for coins or notes of a larger denomination. Not only will this help them see the increased worth of their money, but it will also assist them in understanding coin values.
4. Once they are a little older, and are receiving a regular allowance (if you choose to give one), it's time to add another three piggy banks, so there are a total of four. One is for spending, one is for donations, one is for short-term savings and the last one is for long-term savings. How your child divides their money is up to you to decide, based on things like your family's beliefs and your child's needs. Some people suggest 70% spending, 10% donating, 10% short-term savings & 10% long-term savings, while others suggest it should be divided equally.
5. If your child is saving up for a particular item, lets say for example a new bicycle, why not stick a picture of the bike on the piggy bank they are placing their money in. This way they are receiving a constant reminder of the reward they will receive once they have managed to save enough money to buy it. If it isn't practical to stick a picture on the piggy bank, then try putting one on their bedroom door, or cupboard.
6. A great motivational tool is to offer to 'match' the money they save. For example, you can offer to give them $10, for every $10 they save. This will encourage them to save their money even faster, as you have effectively broken the task down into smaller steps, by offering them a reward along the way. Another similar option is to offer to pay them interest on the money they save. For every $10 they save, you might give them another 50 cents. Not only does this provide extra incentive, but it also helps to give them a basic understanding of the concept of interest.
7. Lastly, try placing a savings chart in their bedroom, on the fridge, or any other place where they will see it regularly. Work out how much they will have to save each week to achieve their goal, then each week that they save that amount they receive a star sticker on the chart. Maybe for the first few times, offer them a little reward when they reach the half way mark, like a magazine or chocolate bar. The chart will be a visible reminder of what they have achieved & what they still need to achieve.