Save Small. Dream Big. 4 Ways to Grow Your Child’s Desire to Save
- Comments off
Your child didn’t start preschool one day and come home writing all of their letters perfectly the next. They didn’t understand the difference between a penny and a dollar bill, even after you told them twice. They didn’t immediately grasp how addition or subtraction worked. They needed time to process and they needed opportunities to practice all that they were learning.
If we believe that’s true, then why do we get frustrated when they get $20 for a Birthday and they want to spend it the very next day (or maybe the next hour!)?
This month we’re celebrating Credit Union Youth Month with the theme “Save Small. Dream Big. At your credit Union.” We believe that there is power in kids saving money. But, it doesn’t happen overnight and it also doesn’t mean you won’t be in for a few frustrating conversations and maybe a few meltdowns along the way (possibly in the toy aisle…but we’re just guessing here). Take courage, mom and dad, we’re here to help.
Here are a few ways to grow your child’s desire and understanding of saving money:
- Always, very patiently, give them options.
Remind them they can purchase X today or they can wait and purchase Y when they’ve saved a little more. No, they won’t grasp this concept at the beginning, but eventually you can turn the question on to them as they begin making these comparisons themselves.
- Be transparent and show them how you save and sacrifice.
Kids think we have all the money in the world because they don’t understand the value of things compared to the money in the account. They see you pick up a thing you want, swipe a card and then it’s yours. Or, they go to the credit union with you and then a nice lady or man behind the counter gives you cash. So there’s a learning curve here.
One way to start helping your kids understand is to walk them through your own thought processes surrounding money. For example, maybe you’re at the clothing store and you found a pair of shoes you want. Don’t be afraid to share your thought process out loud so your kids can hear. “You know, Mommy really wants these new shoes. They’re so cute! But… we’re going on vacation in a few months and I’d really like to have a new outfit for the beach. So I think I’ll save my money for that.” Then, take the shoes off, put them on the rack and walk out of the store.
You are speaking with both your words and your actions in moments like this. You’re showing that you are still getting what you want, but just not everything you want.
- Encourage your kids to save small at first.
Help them visualize what their dollars mean in comparison to what they want. We’ve actually created some savings sheets to help! Print them out here:
Have them draw what they want, then divide that cost for them by 10. If it costs $10, then each time they save $1, let them color a portion of the savings sheet. Add this to the fridge or hang it in their bedroom. They may not understand the different coins or bills yet, but they might be able to grasp that when it’s all colored in, they’ll be able to get what they want.
The first time you try this though, we recommend helping guide them toward a small goal. Something they can reach pretty quickly. By showing them how it works and helping them reach their goal quickly, they’ll be more motivated when you try a medium sized goal. Then they’ll be even more equipped as they start saving for larger goals.
- Let them make mistakes with money.
If there’s ever a time to make money mistakes it’s when they’re young! So, if they decide to spend all their money on Monday and then Wednesday comes around and they want something else…you can remind them they made that choice, not you. Honesty and choosing to not always “come to the rescue” may be hard and feel almost mean in the moment, but it’s one of the best things you can do for your child as they learn to use and save their money.
We hope you’ll join us as we continue celebrating Credit Union Youth Month at Signet! Check out what’s happening the entire month of April 2022 here.
We love seeing community children grow in money matters. Money management quickly becomes so important once they reach their teen years and then head off on their own. The learning phase begins now and we’re here to equip you, as you prepare them!