4 Ways to Get Your Kids Excited About Saving Money

Some kids get a huge thrill out of filling up their piggy banks. Others are just as happy spending it as it comes in. On such a small scale, both scenarios are perfectly acceptable. There's not a thing that $20 in a penny bank is going to make or break. But the "spend it as it comes in" mentality is poisonous if it's allowed to manifest itself in a child's thought process.

When you teach your kids to get excited about saving money, you're teaching them to be excited about their future. Here are a few ways to help ingrain positive financial planning skills in your children from the get-go.

Start Early

As they say, time is money. Don't allow years -- or worse, decades -- to pass before teaching your kids about the value of money. From the beginning, as soon as they're old enough to know what money is, talk to them about how much things cost and weigh the amounts against what it took to earn that money. This simplistic logistical comparison will help them associate new purchases with the worth of money. It seems basic, but when kids understand at an early age how many ways money impacts the world in general and their lives in particular, they're more likely to be financially successful later in life.

Set a Good Example

Early on, kids pick up lifestyle habits from their parents. Every family dynamic is different; the exact ways your kids' habits will mirror yours will be unique to your household. Even so, few will doubt that kids who have parents with smart spending habits are far more likely to grow up to be financially independent, successful, and productive members of society.

So spend your money wisely, parents. Adopt these smart spending habits:

  • Go thrifting. Buying secondhand isn't only good for the environment; it's also good for your wallet. 
  • Learn to DIY. Making your own home furnishings and doing your own home maintenance will help instill the values that they will need to run their own household successfully and take care of themselves once they reach adulthood.
  • Pay in cash and establish credit carefully. When they hit their teen years, teach your kids the way their credit will be tallied and how to manage it wisely. Naturally, the best way to do this is to do the same with your own funds as parents.
  • Invest wisely and discuss the inner workings of your investment with your kids. When it's explained in its simplistic form, it's easier for kids to understand the value of investment and to get excited about watching money grow.

Add Incentives

A technique that some parents have started utilizing to help teach their kids to save money is to add incentives. Start at birth, with the money that comes from family members by way of birthday and Christmas cards, before they're old enough to notice or understand. Tuck that money away and match it with your own funds to help build up a sizeable savings fund for your kids.

Then, when they reach an age at which they recognize what you're doing, give them the choice to do it themselves. Seeing how much their money can grow when they save it can be motivation in itself.

Play it against their sense of competition and pit your kids against each other in a game of "who can save the most." Give a deadline, commit to match a set percentage of what they save, and reward the winner with a gift or activity they'll be excited about. Ultimately, what you choose to do with the funds is up to you and your family, but this is an empowering and effective way to help kids save for their own college tuition. 

Share Your Own Finances

No kid should ever be burdened by their parents' financial standings. That being said, there's no reason you can't be open with your kids about your monthly expenses. When they understand how much the amenities they're used to having access to are worth, they'll be more likely to appreciate the effort put into making them possible.

Teenage kids can help with household budgeting goals as a way to familiarize themselves with the process, making them likely to keep a  balanced budget later, when they begin to earn their own money. Share your finances and let them help you look for deals and compare Internet providers. Cable and mobile phone providers always have competitive rates. Chance to teach your kids the value of shopping around and being thrifty. Being able to help you keep up the family budget will empower them to do it for themselves once they come of age.

Getting kids excited about saving money can seem like an impossible feat; you'll work really hard but you won't get anywhere. But that doesn't have to be the case. It's all about how you approach it from the beginning with that little piggy bank. Starting early and making smart decisions with your own money, combined with being transparent about your own financial obligations, will set your kids up on the fast track to being successful and even excited about the idea of saving their money.

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