Teaching Money Matters

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10 Ways to Teach Your Child to Save Money


  1. Empty your pockets and pocket book of loose change.  Give it to your children to place into a savings container of their own. If it is in a glass or see through container it will be easier for them to see how the money is accumulating. For young children, each time they accumulate 4 quarters they can exchange them for a dollar bill. When they are ready, they can do the same with other coin equivalents.


  1. Show your children how you save money whether it is depositing money into a savings account, investing in CDs or a money market, or simply bringing your lunch to work instead of buying it.  Now is a good time to talk about long term and short term goals.  Point out which monies are saved for short term goals, such as a family vacation, a car or a bicycle and which monies are saved for long term goals, such as college tuition and retirement.


  1. Encourage your children to bring their own money to the bank to deposit into their own savings account. When they are old enough, let them fill out the deposit slips themselves.


  1. Teach your children how to save money by using coupons. Take note of how much money has been saved with various coupons.  If they are old enough, let them figure out for themselves just how much money has been saved on different shopping trips by using coupons.


  1. Help your children to understand the difference between needs and wants.  When they ask to buy things, discuss if it is really something they will need,or if it is something they just want, because it is the newest item and/or their friends have it.


  1. Help your children to budget their own allowances.  Discuss with them which items you will pay for and which items they must pay for using their allowance money.


  1. Teach your children about interest and how it makes their money grow.  When your children are old enough, teach them about compound interest. Use some of the online calculators to help your children understand how their money can increase.  You may even want to consider paying your children interest on money they have saved themselves at home.


  1. Play games that save money.  When your children save money in a game, give them some real money for them to save in their own savings containers.


  1. Introduce your children to investing in the stock market.  Tell them about the stocks you may own.  Let your children choose a favorite company and watch how it does in the stock market. Discuss whether or not they would have earned or lost any money if they had really bought that company’s stock.


  1. Teach your children how to comparison shop.  Choose a favorite item.  Then take your children to at least 3 different stores to compare the price of this item. If your children are old enough, let them write down and keep track of the price of that item in each store.  Do this a number of different times for various items.


For more details on activities adults can do with children to teach them how to save money, see our book Teaching Children Money Matters:  A Resource Guide for Parents, Grandparents, Teachers and Students.