My son recently celebrated his First Communion, a big milestone for children in our church. In addition to learning more about religion, caring for others, and buying a suit he most likely won’t wear again, he also received gifts of money from several of our family members. Though he’s gotten money as a birthday gift every once in a while, this was the first time he received more money than Legos. It opened up a new conversation for our family.
It’s never too early to teach kids how to save money
We talk about saving money with our kids in little ways all the time. Like all kids they ask about new toys and video games — and new clothes, in my daughter’s case. We sit together and talk about whether they want to spend their money on their latest wants or if they should save it for a “rainy day.” I truly believe little lessons over the course of their childhood make a major impact when added together over the years.
Start implementing the monetary rule of three
I don’t remember which of my mom friends tuned me into the “rule of three.” I love the idea, though, and our kids now divide their money into three categories — spending, saving, and charity. We try to stick to 50% savings and split the remaining 50% into spending and charity. However, we adjust that a little when anyone receives a larger amount of money and shift a little more into the savings category.
Pick a charity that means something to your kids
While my kids know their college savings plan waits for them as their educations progress, that milestone feels far away to kids in elementary school. Moms know the years speed by at a sometimes alarming rate, but kids still can’t fathom how quickly they’ll use those savings. Contributing to a charity with their own money gives them an immediate sense of using their money to help others. When we first talked to our kids about charities, seeing where they wanted to donate their money made sense. They like choosing charities benefiting kids and animals — things they can relate to and things they love.
Understand that kids have different thresholds for spending
Even with our conversations, our kids have different ideas about how to “spend” their spending money. One of my kids can save and save that money, sometimes with a major purchase in mind, sometimes truly just to save. My other child has a harder time fighting against the instant gratification of buying the shiniest, newest thing they see. Making sure they put aside money into a college account helps both of them “save,” even when they might not want to do that!
ScholarShare gives parents another way to talk about saving
A 529 savings plan, ScholarShare gives parents another way to talk to kids about saving money. My fifth grader learned about economics in school this year, which meant learning a bit about taxes. Showing her the difference between saving with a tax-free growth account and a taxable account let her see the difference in amounts — and connect something she learned in school to the real world. Learn the answers to ScholarShare’s ten most common questions and decide if a 529 Savings Plan will work for your family.
How do you talk about saving money with your children?
Scholarshare sponsored this post. All opinions are my own.
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