For many children saving can seem like a chore, something their parents tell them to do, rather than something they enjoy doing. As parents, we need to not only help them understand the importance of saving, but also do our best to make saving feel fun.
We all know that kids love hanging out and playing with their friends, and I’ve found that encouraging my kids to set savings goals with their friends and siblings is a great way to inject some fun into saving. Whether they start saving with a friend, sibling or one of their classmates, working with their peers will not only make saving a social experience, but teaches them responsibility and how collaboration can lead to success.
Here are some techniques I use with my kids and their friends that might turn your child into a money saving whizz.
For younger primary-school kids - saving with a friend
This is a great introduction to saving for kids aged roughly four to seven. After discussing with other parents what a reasonable allocation of pocket money would be for all the children involved, sit down with your child, their friend, and their friend’s parent or guardian and create a simple savings plan to buy a toy that they’re really excited about and can share.
I’ve found tables to be quite handy in showing how much each child would need to contribute every week and how long it would take for them to afford the item.
Stick the table up on the fridge along with printed out pictures of the toy or item to keep them motivated. It always helps if you ensure the goal is easily achievable and celebrate reaching milestones with mini ceremonies to reinforce positive feelings of the experience.
For older primary school aged children - saving with a sibling
Do your kids share a mutual savings goal but mostly spend their pocket money individually? Perhaps they both want a computer game but spend most of their money on ice creams? Follow these steps to help visually represent how they can join forces to get what they want.
- Provide them with a CommBank Moneybox or Platybank to put their savings into.
- Work out how many ice creams they’d have to forgo to afford the game. (E.g. A $40 game would cost the same as eight ice creams at $5 each.)
- Print out and laminate a large photo of the game, then cut some coloured paper into equally sized, small portions that when grouped together would cover the game exactly. (I.e. the game is eight times bigger than each paper cut-out.)
- Sticky tape the pieces of paper over the game image, and for every ice cream not purchased, allow the children to remove one piece of paper until the game is revealed and they can afford it.
For tweens - saving with classmates for an end of term party
For kids aged around 10 to 13, tapping into school networks is a great way to emphasise to your children that saving money is an important lesson they need to learn. Have a chat with your kid’s teacher and some of the other parents about allowing the kids to save up for an end of term class party. This is a great way to introduce money lessons into the classroom and foster cooperation with friends.
Visit The Beanstalk for more advice on teaching your kids about money.