Tips for Helping Kids and Teens Save Money
A penny saved is a penny earned.
—Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States
Too many kids spend all their money as soon as they get it. Only 20% of kids save money and do it consistently every month. Help kids save their money—and teach them to save well. Here’s how:
Tips for . . .
- Make learning about money fun. Try these fun 10 minute activities.
- Talk about how you save money and why. Kids learn by watching—and listening to—their parents.
- Be honest about the ups and downs of saving money. If it was always easy to save money, more people would do it.
- Keep talking about saving money—and money in general. Read Talking with Your Kids about Money.
- Find other adults who save money well to be role models for your kids.
- Get your child a savings bank and a spending bank. (You can make your own out of shoeboxes.) Every time your child gets money, encourage her to put some into both boxes.
- When you shop with your child, don’t get into the habit of always buying him something. Say, “We need to save our money. It’s important not to buy something every time we go to the store.”
Parents with Children Ages Birth to 5
- Talk about saving in a positive way. Explain what you’re saving for and how you’re excited about that.
- Give kids allowances on a weekly basis. This helps kids learn how to manage money. Create ways for them to save some of what they get. Some families create three banks for elementary-age children (and even other age children) so that there’s a saving box, a spending box, and a giving box.
- Help your child set saving goals. For example, if your child wants to buy a video game or a book, create concrete steps to help them save their money to buy it.
Parents with Children Ages 6 to 9
- Make savings goals short and easy to reach. A 6- to 9-year-old child will have a much easier time saving for something over a two- to four-week period rather than a year.
- As kids enter puberty, they often become a lot more interested in spending money than saving it. (There’s so much kids at this age want to buy.) Continue to talk about the importance of saving, even if it seems like your child isn’t listening.
- Talk about advertising and how kids are being targeted to spend money. Help them make sense of the messages bombarding them. Encourage them to save money instead of spending it so quickly.
- Encourage your kids to see how saving well fits with the overall strategy of using money well. A helpful resource is Share, Save, Spend at www.sharesavespend.com.
- Show how you save and how saving helps you to reach financial goals that you could not otherwise. For example, save money for a nice piece of clothing or to go out for dinner.
Parents with Children Ages 10 to 15
- Set a budget when it’s time to do back-to-school shopping. Be clear on what’s in your budget and what your kids need to save for. See Capital One’s annual survey on back-to-school shopping.
- By high school, a lot of teenagers have discovered more things they want to buy, which makes it hard for them to save. Encourage them to slow down their spending and put away money for saving.
- When your teenager wants something she can’t afford, create small jobs around your home (or help your teen find neighbors and family members who might have some jobs). Then help your teenager set saving goals to buy what he or she wants. By this age, teenagers should be able to save for a longer period of time and wait before buying something they want.
Parents with Children Ages 16 to 18
- Monitor how your child handles money. Talk honestly about how your child’s financial strengths and weaknesses. Keep talking about the value of saving money. Find out what financial skills your teenager should have (besides saving money) from the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy.