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Saving 101 For Kids

A colleague and I recently discussed introducing her young children to money and the concept of saving. It got me thinking about how children view saving and how young minds untainted by the burden of worldly cares process the idea of putting money down for some later purpose. Not having children of my own to consult, I decided to reach out to some friends to see what their children think. These children (aged 6-16) gave some surprisingly mature answers on different aspects of saving money, answers that form catalysts for parents struggling to start the conversation. They also provided insight into some tips to help other kids save. Here’s what they had to say, in their own words.

What does saving mean to you and why is it important?

“Short term saving [is] for everyday things like groceries and presents for our friends….Long term [saving is] for a house or house repairs [or] anything bigger that comes along, like university.” -Dayna, 16, Canada

“Saving is keeping your money in a safe and secure place for a better future [or] big purchases like a cell phone, car, or university, as opposed to just spending it on Starbucks or candy.” -Eva, 15, Canada

“It’s important to save money so you can buy food to live or give some to poor people.” -Antonio, 7, Canada

“….if you spend all your money you may be broke or worse, in debt. Who wants to be in debt?” -Justine, 13, Canada

Where do you get money from?

“I receive money for good marks in school and cleaning house.” -Kate, 11, Russia

“…my grandparents give me money [on] special occasions like my birthday or Easter.” -Julia, 9, Brazil

“…me and my brother work at sessions modelling…when we get paycheques, they send the paycheques here and then our parents take that money and put it into our bank account…” -Shane Jr., 11, USA

How do you save?

“You put money when you save it in the piggy bank.” -Noah, 8, Canada

“…when I want to buy something but I don’t have enough, I save it to get more money and… sometimes when I don’t know what to buy, I save it in my parents’ bank account.” -Julia

“I saved for a whole year using my allowance and gifts from my family.” -Jacob, 13, USA

What else they had to say…

“Saving is important so you can get what you need like clothes, food, home….Then if you have some left over you can get what you want, like video games [and] nice things.” -Jacob

“Saving money is important because instead of borrowing money from the bank and other people, you can at least have your own money by being independent.” -Shane Jr.

“…it is important to save so that you have money for the future when it is needed, but I don’t mean don’t spend any — just be responsible with it.” -Erin, 12, Barbados

Saving tips

What better source of saving tips is there than other kids? From these kids to yours, here are some ways to encourage saving:

To curb overindulgence, save your leftover funds. “When I [buy] the thing I want and I [don’t] use all the money, I usually save it….” -Julia

Prioritize what you want. “…don’t buy stuff that you don’t need, or…you won’t have enough money for the real things that you actually want….” -Liam, 9, USA

Don’t discount loose change. Alisa (9, from Russia) and her friends often check the water vending machine for change on their way home from school. Her sister Vika (age 6) enjoys collecting from the tooth fairy.

Price-shop to avoid careless spending. “…I research and look for the best price and then I approach [my parents] and see what they think.” -Cristina, 13, Canada

Check your savings regularly. “I love to go to the bank, as I love to see the increase in my account and see it grow and know that this will help me in the future.” -Cristina

Check out financial education resources like KiddieNomics, an organization that teaches financial literacy through weekly fun and engaging videos.

The conversation with children about money has evolved quite a bit from the simple weekly allowance of times before, as today’s youngsters are more tech savvy and apt to ask questions to which they expect answers. Parents should exploit these tendencies by using the wealth of resources available and try different approaches to motivate kids to save, ultimately fostering healthy attitudes towards money.

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