11 Ways to Teach Kids How to Save Money
By Miranda Marquit
My son loves saving money. He loves to watch the pile of coins and
dollar bills grow in his big, re-purposed pickle jar and he loves
emptying out this ceramic “cash cow” to take his money to the credit
union – and receive a prize.
Watching his money pile grow and receiving prizes are two things that inspire my son to save. But there
are additional ways to motivate your child to start saving.
The most important thing at the beginning is to make saving fun. Plus, the earlier you start teaching your
children to save money, the better off they’ll be. Even toddlers can do it, but you have to teach this
concept in a way they’ll understand. Then, as your children grow, you can introduce more sophisticated
Here are a few ideas to teach your children to save money at any age.
Making Saving Fun for Young Children
My son was introduced to saving as a toddler. We didn’t use money at first, and in fact, we weren’t even
trying to teach him about money. What we had was a reward system for watching TV based off of
coupons. He could earn “coupons” that could be exchanged for TV time and we labeled each of our DVDs
with the number of coupons he needed to watch them.
The short episodes of “Berenstain Bears,” for example, required one
coupon, while the long “Incredibles” movie required four. Pretty soon,
he caught on that if he wanted to watch a longer movie, he needed to
save his coupons. Then, when we started paying him
an allowance around the age of five, my son easily understood that he
could spend and save his money like he could his coupons.
When it comes to learning concepts like saving, visuals and physical
interaction are important, especially for young children. With that in
mind, here are a few ideas to teach your child how to save:
1. Use Different Envelopes/Jars
You may be familiar with the envelope budgeting system for your own money, but this can also work for
children. On either envelopes or jars, have your child draw pictures of what he or she wants. You may also
want to help your child understand that some items will take longer than others to save for.
For example, the short-term savings container might have a picture of a specific toy, while the long-term
container might have a picture of a trip to Disneyland. Teach your child to set aside money for short-term
and long-term goals, and have another container or envelope for spending on everyday items.
2. Make a Savings Goal Chart
Once you know what your child wants to save for, figure out how many weeks it will take and make a