How to teach young kids to save

How can we teach children to save money? Well, I’m delighted to have a guest post today from Tiffany who is a former maths teacher and stay at home mom who loves finding good deals! She and her husband, who is an engineer, work together on their website: The Crazy Shopping Cart. They enjoy spending time with their family, geeking out over sci-fi together, and saving money.

“Mommy, can we buy that?”

If your kids are anything like ours, you probably hear that question a lot when you’re at the store.  In every. single. aisle.

We used to hear it all the time, and then we’d brace ourselves for a meltdown that would lead to feeling like we’d be handed an award for the world’s worst parent.

After a lot of discussion, we finally came up with a plan that has worked wonderfully!  We no longer have upset children when we won’t buy the candy or the toy. In fact, sometimes we do buy it – but we’re not giving in!

We’re going to share this amazing, wonderful tip with you – hopefully you can also avoid meltdowns!

Depending on your child’s age, choose about 4 chores that they can do.  Fill in the spaces on this free chore chart with the chores. Our children are still learning how to read, so we put in pictures instead of words.

As the kids do their chores, they get to put a sticker in each corresponding square.  Each sticker represents a pre-determined amount of money. We started out at a nickel per sticker (our kids are currently 5 and 2, so that was a lot of money for them!), but the amount can easily be increased as they get older.

Another reason we use stickers is that it makes extra chores easier!  If we need the kids to go pick up all of the toys from the yard to mow the lawn, we can throw an extra sticker on the chart.  We have a large book of stickers, and the kids get to pick their favorite stickers to put up.

Every Saturday night or Sunday morning, we count the stickers and give the kids their money.  We help them figure out how much 10% is to give for tithing for church. They then put 20% into savings, and the remaining money is spending money.

Now when we go the store and the kids ask for something, we talk about how much money it costs.  If they decide they still want it, then we (the parents) will sometimes purchase the toy for them. When we get home, we put it in the “Mommy Store” until the kid has enough money to purchase it.

We’ve been surprised at how many times the kids decide that a toy or a candy bar isn’t worth it when they hear how much money it costs.  Since they are still young, we often break the price down for them. Right now, a $3.00 toy is worth 60 chores, which is 15 days of doing their chores every single day.

Having the kids work to earn the money for things they want has dramatically decreased the number of tantrums in the store.  They’re learning the values of hard work, saving money, and budgeting. It also serves to help with consequences of their actions.  If they break a sibling’s toy, they have to pay them for it from their hard-earned money.

Our system isn’t completely perfect, but it has made a tremendous difference in our home!  To help you out with yours, here is a free copy of the chore chart that we use! It’s simple, but effective.  Feel free to make any adjustments to it that you need, or you can even create your own!

Good luck, and we wish you tantrum-free shopping!

teach children to save money

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