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My kids don't get it.............

September 19th, 2006 at 10:55 am

OK I am trying to get my kids to save $. I have tried different aspects on saving. I made up our own "bank" here at home. I made their own checks (for the oldest 2 ages 10,6 the 3 yr old doen't understand yet). They are to put their $ into the bank and write deposit slips and if they want something I'll pay for it and when we get home they write me a check..and I'll take they out of "our bank". If they get $100 saved I'll give them a $10.00 interest bonus then deposit it into the real bank. However, they keep buying. I let them do this at first because I wanted them to see what happens when you spend all your $ on junk and have nothing....they didn't care! They do not get allowances....Should I? My feelings are why give them $..they are going to spend it. Aghghg..
I want them to learn how to save. This is something my parents NEVER taught me. That is why I have a hard time now. I want them to understand how important it is.
Looking to other ideas..or should I stick with this one?

8 Responses to “My kids don't get it.............”

  1. monkeymama Says:

    My parents did something similar, but at that age if I bought anything large they matched the funds. It was a LOT more lucrative. I am just trying to think back to what my parents taught me about saving, because to me it felt like at the time it was the only option, and worked well.

    How do they get money? I think an allowance may be a good idea. You can even institue that they have to save a certain percentage for bigger purchases down the road. Eventually they will see the rewards.

    I also read recently that when you distribute allowances to your kids, give yourself an allowance and put it in a big jar. Tell them you are saving and ask if they want to do the same. IF they do not want to, fill up your jar anyway and make a big point of how much you have saved and what you can buy with it, etc. Then they will learn by example, and may want their own jar. If you google allowance ideas you will probably see that one epxlained a lot better.

    I think you are really on track with the bank thing. I always remember that I had a checking account and a cc at a very young age. Nothing better than real life experience with banking.

    Good luck!

  2. Broken Arrow Says:

    This is a very interesting issue; one that I too am facing.

    I also admit that I don't know what's the best thing to do, and am open to suggestions.

    However, what I am currently doing is that I don't give mine any allowance. I don't believe in it. When they want something, they work for it for a set price. If they want to buy something expensive, they will have to save up until they have enough, and then I'll take them out to buy it.

    I think all that is well and good until you get to the idea of saving. Children have no concept because it's not one that is needed. Even adults sometimes have a hard time grasping it. 401k? Roth IRA? What's that? Why do I need it? My budget is tight enough as it is! See what I mean?

    In times like that, my current thinking is to just do it for them and call it a day. When you think about it, adults have a similar "fire and forget" approach to retirement savings as well, don't we? 401k? "Well, I set it up with my employer, but um.. I don't know how much is in there or what it's invested in." You hear that all the time too. But at least it's "done for them" so to speak. IF that is the true reality that many adults live in, then... so be it. I'll do the saving for them as children.

    I know this answer doesn't sit well. It doesn't sit well for me either. But the fact is, in order to teach such a concept, they have to actually be into it and willing to learn it. Sometimes, that's just not something that can happen until they want to make it happen. The fact is, sometimes, we just have to do it for them. In a way, isn't that what Social Security and other government welfare program is doing for us already?

    However, monkeymama does bring up a very interesting idea. What I would suggest with that big jar is, for every coin or that they put into that jar, go ahead and match it (dollar for dollar or a percentage, depending on what suits you) and see what happens. Surely, they will see the coins being dropped in there, seeing dollar matching in action, with their own eyes. Perhaps that can get the concept through after all?

  3. JanH Says:

    That's a tough one. Our kids didn't see us actually save for anything so they don't save up for stuff. However, my brother's kids see their dad and mom set a goal for furniture or a trip or a car and actively save toward it. They spend cash for it when they have it and usually have some of it saved from birthdays and Christmases. They tell people what they are saving for and then get money as gifts. Those kids now save up all their money for their wants. Wish I had done that. I think they learned a lot by example, even the small one got it. And i think they have to earn the money that they are lacking. This summer the thirteen year old showed me 130.00 i believe that he had saved for his wants in the trip. However, growing up with very little money, when I first got money, I didn't know how to spend it wisely because my parents never showed us how they used their money. I knew they were frugal, but I didn't know how they made choices. Then when I got some more money, I started spending like crazy. Would have been nice to have known more about how to spend also, as well as, how to save. I think that is what my brother has taught his. Both sides of the coin.

  4. debtfreeme Says:

    Is there any way you can give them an allowance system? Make sure that you discuss saving with them. actually give it ti them in Cash (not that they can spend it with out you but that they get to see and feel it.)

    as you discuss money and saving tell them: here is 5 dollars. 20% must go into long term saving of some kind, how much is that? 20% must go into a short term saving, how much is that? 20% can be spent with out me knowing what you are spending on, how much is that? and 40% must be kpet available to spend with me, how much is that? etc. actually sit down and work the numbrs with them.

    Or in the current system they have, make them pay you then and there, not when you get home. paying the money right there, and cash might hit them harder than checks which is money you don't see.

  5. koppur Says:

    I'm a fan of this: kids get an allowance. If they want candy or a new toy or a book or cd or something, they use their allowance. If they don't have enough, they can save for it. If it's a really big purchase, agree to go half on it. If it is something the want RIGHT NOW and don't want to save for (it might be gone by the time they save enough), lend them the money they need, and then have them repay you a certain amount from their allowance each week until it is paid off.

  6. atatat Says:

    THanks everyone for your input...I will take a lot into consideration.

    Monkeymama~ In answer to your question...I was actually keeping a log for everyday. I made a list of things that were expected of them. These were things like making bed, taking dishes to sink, picking up room..etc. These were things that they HAD to do and would not get paid for. However, they would LOSE money if they were not done. They also could earn money by doing things over and above the norm. They also could lose money for behavior and negative things they might do. Due to the age difference..DD1-10, DS2-6, DD3-3, I made different prices....more $ as age appropriate.
    This worked great for about a week....they actually were driving me crazy trying to make $. Then .............it blew up. They got the money one week and the next it was gone. Like I said earlier, they would spend it faster than they could write a check out. I let them because I was hoping that they would see what it was like NOT to have $ when the time came that they REALLY wanted something. However, it never happened. When my son was down to $7.00 and wanted something that was $22.00...he was like, ok, I'll get something for $7.00....JUST TO BUY. This is where I have a problem. See, it really is their money they earned.
    I either need to revise my system and actually do what
    debtfreeme suggested..actually put some of the earnings away right then and there and say this is a "savings". I just thought they's want to save.....Guess I was wrong.

    Broken Arrow, I too agree with you. What do they need to save for. Isn't that really my job. Like most of America does, just waits for the retirement check in the mail to eat monthly. I just want more for them. I want to teach them what no one ever taught me.

    I love the monkeymama's idea about the jar too. I actually have a empty water jug (like the ones from a water transport co.) in my bedroom. The kids see me putting money into it and know when it is full we are all going to do something special. It has dollar bills, fives, quarters, pennies, "stickers & q-tips thanks to my 3 year old", but they do put money in too.
    I just am looking for something...something that will work. I never had an allowance as a child or young adult. I'd call from college and they sent money. I blew it all and they would send more. Never saved, and now I'm 33 and still am having trouble saving...
    I just want better for them.
    I'll keep working on it.

  7. princessperky Says:

    Sorry this is soo long...

    I have a 'multi level' approach to helping my kids with money:

    One TALK, talk at dinner, talk at lunch, talk int he car, talk talk and more talk...why are we saving, why don't we leave the lights on, why do we need to close the fridge, why tdo we take the stuff to the recycle center, why do we donate...talk talk, and more talk. Talk during play, talk during work, talk about why we chose brand X, vs brand y. Why we tunr the air off..and why we put it on for company..why we keep the house cool/hot, and why we have blankets/sweaters/shorts.

    two, We only buy them needs and occassional gifts, (key word, occasional)showering a kid with stuff, reduces the joy..like a drug..little bit gets you high the first time..but then you eed more and more....stuff is the same..I aim to keep em happy with a little bit, not overload em. but honestly I think we get them too much still...

    three, We insist they save, yes I am the parent I get to make that decision, and I do not know when the control will slide, but sometime after they know what college/car/house costs..right now million is a fun word, but means very little. Though I do plan on releasing control BEFORE they need that car/house..slowly but so they have a longer chance to fix their problem if they make any..and I think they will..no one is perfect.

    four, we encourage them to give, at church or donate to good will, we strongly encourage them to undersand how lucky they are..not in a cranky you aughta be greatful, but in a slow steady gentle..imagine what this story kid is like, and do we need ten billion cars? would you be sad with no cars? how about we 'share with no return' (this is different from taking turns..important to explain the difference to a 3 year old)

    five, we are an example..we do not ask them what they want to buy everytinme we are in a store, we practice window shopping, while we do go to some stores to get X..and X may very well be bought by my kid, we do not ask every time we are in a store..'hey what shall we buy today' the more you do not buy when in a store the more they will get used to it..We also show them the money we save..we discuss how much is left after bills (err nothing really) we mention once or twice the minute amount we sent to ing each month..when asked if we can get burgers near the end of the month we mention how we went at the begining and there is not enough left to do it again, we will have to wait till daddy gets paid....when they ask for some junky toy, not only do we point out we do not buy them junk, we point out how it would break in a day and that is a waste of money..we talk about how we want X brand because it wont bwear out as fast, we talk about hte cheap socks that are all holey and dust rags....we will be avoiding that brand!

    IMO, allowance is like free money, I don't get free money, Like welfare, money just so you have some..if you need it for food fine, but I bet you feed your kids...

    However if there is no money to learn on, you wont learn..
    so my kids can earn it (and no not from me I havn't got it! but they can sell lemonaide cookies or crafts, or do chores for others when older ) or they can use gift money, and they get lots of that, but it is sporadic, so I am betting when older they will want more consistancy. If they had the money to buy something every week..then they got too much money!

    IMO Your 3 year old is NOT to old to see your example, and that of his brothers, the math might be, the concept of saving isn't (get a piggy bank, or an ING and let him see it..even if at first all it is is a few minutes in moms lap, he will love it..err she?) And BTW ING is a fun way for kids to 'deposit' immediatly..free to do so with even a buck..no waiting, and waiting very long can ruin the momentum...I would put something tangible on the savings right now..half to 'when you grow up' and half to whatever big they want..this means you cannot buy them that big thing! you have to let them wait it out till they earn it, best thing for that is use your 3 year old, he can be bribed into saving with a smile, which means he will make it to his goal fast, get his big thing, and there your older two are wondering how he did it, help them each time they get money, remind them of what they are saving for (*it is ok to change, os long as the price is relatively constant, or goes in the right direction..smaller if taking ot long, but not changed for price, more expensive if going to fast/origional goal to small)

    How about chores, again IMO, most people tie chores into allpowance..while I do feel some of the work around the house is more responsibility than a kid can take, I also feel that most is done just cause it needs done..I don't get paid to wash dishes! and my kids don't get paid to help..but I would prolly pay if they were old enough to do say windows..heh old enough to not want to do windows! I don't get paid to put my laundry away or make my bed, niether do they..but I would pay them to put mine away...pay em to do your work, not to do thiers, they will eventually have to 'keep house' and you don't want em running to flylady trying to figure yout how now that they have no cash incentive!

    What to save for, some kids find souveniers/eating out in DC to vauge..try a night bowling, or a new book, or new computer game, or new movie (promise to find time for them to watch it within the week), A trip to the skating rink, or local pool, if there is one, for my daughter, anything pink Smile (she is young), that fancy shirt they wanted, name brand pants, new swimsuit (when the old one fit fine). Anything beyond the essentials my kids buy, and must save for/waiit for...sometimes since all the saving is for DC/future, they have to earn some or wait..and waiting is GOOD for them!

    course I don't hae an adult kid to show it works yet, and I am reforming as I go, but I do have a kid who tells his daddy 'you don't need that you want it' when cgrocery shopping and daddy grabs olives....I also have a kid who turns off lights with gentle prodding saying 'we need to save on electricity so we have money to buy steak'. I hear lots of charitable, saving, and recycling things form my kids, because I say them....

    There is no one size fits all, and there isn't a single thing you can do, but there are hundreds....combine your favorites, keep looking for more, let them into why you are doing it, and eventually something will sink in, certainly they will have a head start on your early twenties!

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