Having Fun with Finances

Four Ways to Make your Child Love Saving Money 
By Jeannine Fox

 Most of us don’t flinch when we spend less than $10, but irresponsible spending habits like these have led us into the current economic crisis. To turn our situation around, we need to change our ways and it starts with the next generation. Every adult knows how difficult it is to save money.
For children, who have a harder time thinking of the future, putting away those dimes and quarters for “some day” — instead of buying that toy or candy bar they want now — can seem like torture. Yet the lessons children learn about money now can be a key to their successful future. Like most lessons in life, making them fun makes them easier to learn and more memorable. Here are a few ideas of fun ways to teach children lessons about saving money.
1. Take the child to a bank to open their own savings account. Many banks give children plastic piggy banks for opening an account. Personalizing the bank using peel and stick letters for the child’s name and stickers will make it even more special. If the child hasn’t started saving prior to opening their account, give them the money to open the account and then tell them to “feed” the pig when they find or earn coins.
2. Have a coin hunt. Hide pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters around the house and ask your children to search for them. After they find them, you can talk about the different values and how together they add up to a lot of money. Then, into the piggy bank they go.
3. Make a piggy bank out of an empty bleach or milk bottle. Children can use stick-on decals and other art supplies to customize their banks. My grandchildren love these banks and prefer to use them over the more expensive ones. My granddaughter Laney says the day we made these was one of the most fun days she’s ever had!
4. Do a bonus coin toss. For example, if a child collects an allowance and they’ve been especially helpful that week, let them toss an extra coin into a bowl or box from a short distance away. If they get the coin in, they get to keep it.

Jeannine Fox is a Certified Financial Planner, grandmother and author of Feeding Penny Pig.

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