Unfortunately, you can’t send your kids to the bank to manage savings and checking accounts for you (bummer, we know), but you CAN teach your kids all about banking within the home. Helping your kids become financially literate at a young age can prepare them for strong money-management skills in their adult years. A creative way to do this is the spending-saving-giving method, which requires minimal supplies and minimal allowance money.
An allowance allows your kids the opportunity to experience a lot about money at a young age — saving up for something big, coming up short on cash, learning the difference between giving and spending, the list goes on. The whole thought behind spending-saving-giving is allowing a hands-on approach to managing money. Instead of just handing over a lump sum of allowance over, this is a great opportunity to teach them about budgeting! Here’s the idea:
- A “spend” jar for items they want to buy
- A “save” jar for the money they want to put toward something big
- A “give” jar for encouraging your kids to donate, or purchase something to give away (fun activity ideas regarding the give jar later on!)
Budgeting and managing money into three different categories is a great start, but how do you consistently implement it? Here are some guidelines that help reinforce the important aspects of budgeting and dividing up money:
- You can do one of two things regarding how much money goes in each jar. Either your kids can decide how much they put in each category (as long as their putting some in the “save” and “give” jars) or set a certain break down they have to follow.
- “Spend” money can be spent on anything they want (as long as it’s reasonable).
- Money put in the “spend” jar can be moved to the “save” or “give” jar at any point.
- Money put in the “save” or “give” jar CANNOT be moved.
- Once they’ve reached an effective amount in the “give” jar, allow them the decision to either donate it to an organization of their choice or make a learning experience out of it.
“Give” Jar Ideas
This is where the concept of giving becomes a learning opportunity for the whole family! Below are some great ideas for teaching about the many ways your children can give and make a difference:
- Let them choose which organization they would like to donate their “give” jar money to. Does your child love animals? Maybe he or she will get excited about donating to a local humane society!
- Visit your nearby McDonalds or another fast food restaurant, let your child order as many meals as he or she can, and pass them out at a homeless shelter.
- Know of a family in need? Encourage your child to pick out a meal to make for the family and put the “give” money toward the groceries needed to make the meal.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to activities and teaching opportunities regarding finances. Small steps early on will help instill strong money-management skills that your children will carry with them into their teenage and adult years. The best part? You can make activities around the whole idea as well!