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How to Teach Your Children to Save Money

By Edited Dec 2, 2014 2 3

Life is difficult. Nothing is free anymore these days except the air we breathe. Everything else needs to be paid – food, shelter, water, clothing, education, health, and sometimes influence. As if that isn’t bad enough, earning is getting more and more difficult. We have no choice but to save. 
 
The lack of money is one of the many reasons why less people are getting married, and sometimes, those who do get married do so at later age. Having a family is very expensive. Married couples with kids are in constant dilemma between giving in to their kids’ wants and saving money for the future. When not given what they want, some kids may throw tantrums. Kids are not natural savers. They do not understand the difficulty of earning money and the need to save for the future. It can be quite hard to grasp the meaning of “future” for their young minds. However, saving can be learned. Teaching kids to save is something we should put on top of our list. But how do we do it?
 
I have come up with tips which are purely based on my own experience and those of people around me, as I do not have my own kids yet. I hope you will learn something here. 
 

Teach them not to be too brand conscious

Quality is important, but not the brand itself. Don’t give them the impression that the brand of their outfit is important. It is true that status is usually determined by what you wear. You tend to judge people you do not know based on their appearance. There are folks who would do anything just to own designer clothes to make themselves appear that they belong in the higher status. But most of the time, it only works for people who do not know them well. To people who know them well, they will appear “trying too hard” and people will tend to look down on them. On the other hand, there are people, especially the really rich ones, who can wear the cheapest clothes or even knockoff items but others will still think that they’re wearing original brands just because they’re rich. In short, people you know are aware of your status and people you do not know well will eventually know. Whatever brand you wear won’t make you look richer. Just opt for the quality.
 

Tell them your financial problems

Or at least let them be aware of your financial status. Tell them daddy and mommy are trying to make ends meet, and your family is not like the rich ones. Let them know that what you earn may not be enough for the future if you don’t save.
 

Don't let your kids think you're a superman

Superman

you're not superman
Photo: JD Hancock | Flickr

Giving them more means you’ll have to work harder and longer. Your mere human body won’t take it. Show them you do get tired. Tell them daddy’s tired and he needs a massage. Cook a delicious dinner with your kids for mommy and tell them mommy has been working hard and deserves a rest. Let them realize that your body has its physical limits.

 
 
 

Teach them to love their things

Girl with Doll

teach your kids to love their things
Photo: icultist | Flickr

Remember the doll named Nancy whom you shared your bed with in your entire childhood years? Or your toy car named Peter whom you used to be inseparable with? Nothing can make you love your things more than believing they were alive. Giving names to inanimate objects is one way. Call their bag Lizzie, their pen Penny, and their shoes Footsie. But that would sound insane. Another alternative would be to let your kids watch Toy Story. They will love the movie and will learn to take care of their things.

 
 
 
 
 

Teach them to be self-sufficient

If you are successful in teaching them to love their things, teaching this will be a breeze. They won’t feel the need to buy new things most of the time, and they will be contented with what they already have (why would they buy another pair of shoes if they already have Footsie?).
 

Let your kids have the smaller bedrooms

If you’ve just moved in into a new home with six rooms, don’t choose the biggest rooms possible for your kids. Choose smaller rooms instead. Staying in small bedrooms means that they can only store enough things. They will be discouraged to buy new things, as they won’t have enough space for them, and they will learn to be self-sufficient.
 

Give them a piggy bank

They will be amazed to see their coins accumulate, and they would realize that it takes time to fill up Piggy.
 

Don't laugh at other people's clothes

Not in front of your kids. If it’s in your nature to laugh at others because of the clothes they wear, at least laugh when your kids are not looking. If you’re following tip#1, you will only contradict yourself by making fun of others’ outfit. Teach your kids to dress well and to look presentable, but be nice to others who wear cheap clothes or silly-looking outfits.
 

Let them watch inspiring movies (or TV shows) about poor people

Let them watch Little Princess, Little Women, or Pursuit of Happyness. They’ll see how poor people cope with poverty, or how they turned rich.
 

Bring them shopping

Mom Shopping with Kid

bring your kids shopping with you
Photo: USACE Europe District | Flickr

Let your kids accompany you to grocery stores, hardware stores, etc. Most kids nowadays aren’t aware of how much things cost. When they go shopping with you, they’ll see how much you buy for home and how much they cost. If you’re good at budgeting, they’ll learn it from you, too. Moreover, they will realize that there are much more expenses at home than they had thought.

 
 
 
 

When your kid is sad, don't go shopping with him

Sad Kid

there are lots of inexpensive activities
you can do to cheer up your kid
Photo: U.S. Fotografie

My classmate in college flunked in one of his subjects. He was so upset that he called one of his parents. I overheard that his parent would later pick him up to go shopping with him. If you are poor or is saving for something, this is one of the things that you should not do as a parent. There are other inexpensive activities that you can do to cheer up your kid. Play basketball with him, watch a movie together, or cook him a delicious meal. After that, don’t forget to ground him for failing.

 
 
 

Final Words

One of my professors told us that she would quit her job when she had her own kids. She wanted to be a full-time mom and be able to give 100% of her attention to her kids. She said that even if she had become successful in her career, she would still feel like a failure if she wasn’t able to teach her kids well (thus, the late marriage again). Nothing will make a parent happier than having mature, unselfish, and sensible kids. Provide the best upbringing to your kids, and you will thank yourself for that.
 
© Rainy Kua 2014. All Rights Reserved.
 
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Comments

Dec 1, 2014 1:50pm
RoseWrites
We have to be good role models for our children. I think teaching them young to take care of their things is important.

I've also found that my daughter is more protective of toys and crafts that she has made (that weren't bought).

Teaching our children about the plight of others is also crucial. We must help them learn empathy - other people in this world have barely enough to live (clean water, for example).

I'm appalled whenever I hear adults make comments about others' clothing or other material objects.
Dec 3, 2014 4:20am
rainykua
That's a very interesting observation about your daughter. I agree that teaching children about the plight of others is important. Thanks for pointing that out.
Yeah, I don't understand why some adults make nasty comments about shallow things even if they are within their children's earshot. It's not a nice thing to show their kids.
Dec 26, 2014 5:59pm
Browna86
This brought back lots of memories while growing up. We were taught to save early on. I can remember saving up my money and going shopping once a week for snacks; during sales. Even though it was once, I was actually able to save up funds for a field trip.

High school was especially difficult since I had to pay full price for lunch even though I couldn't even afford it. Fortunately a loop hole was found and I was able to stretch 10USD to last two weeks; I avoided the cafeteria. Today, I can't tell you how floored I've become at seeing young kids going for name brand items.

What kid need Juicy Couture or even Tommy Hilfigure? I can recall when my sister was getting my nephew started at saving. It was difficult but eventually he got the hang of it; to the point of saving close to 100USD and he's only 7.

I'm actually glad I found this article. Thanks for sharing.
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