In a recent survey conducted by the American Institute of CPAs, only 1 percent of parents questioned said their kids save any portion of their allowance. Additionally, 76 percent of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, according to CNN Money.
“It is never too late to start saving money,” said Kevin Sellers, executive vice president of First Fidelity Bank in Phoenix. “But, it is much easier to stay out of financial trouble and keep up with responsible saving habits if saving is taught early in life. Saving money can be fun and educational for the whole family.”
First Fidelity Bank is offering four fun tips for Arizona parents to teach their kids the value of money.
Serial Codes on U.S. Bills
Each dollar bill has a unique serial code printed on the front. This can make for both an entertaining and ongoing game with the kids. The next time your child has a $1, $5 or even a $50 bill, encourage them to pay close attention to the serial code and save bills according to different aspects of the code. For example, choose a letter or number of the month. If your child comes across a bill with that specific letter or number in the code, have them put it away into savings. This game teaches kids to pay attention to cash and gives them a creative incentive to save money. Over time, they can save up to buy a new gadget or grow their savings account.
Create a scavenger hunt for your kids with money as the reward. Hide cash or coins in different areas of your home and send your kids on a search. For example, write riddles that lead to areas where money is hidden or draw a map filled with different clues and areas where your kids can find money. After they find the money, encourage them to wait to spend their “treasure” and save up for something they’ve been wanting for some time. This is a great way to provide a new activity for the kids and encourage them to work to earn money.
Turn Savings into Coupons
Each time your child saves a certain amount, reward them with a coupon. The coupons with which you reward them can represent different privileges, items or activities. For example, if your child puts $5 from his allowance into savings, reward him with a coupon. In this case, four coupons could represent the privilege to watch a movie on a weeknight. Once your kid saves $20 (or four coupons), he is allowed to watch the movie. Or, maybe four coupons represent 45 minutes of TV on a Saturday morning. Parents can get creative with the coupons, but it’s important to always draw a connection between saving money and earning a reward.
Expose your Kids to Real Spending Situations
One of the most educational ways for your kids to learn the value of money is to expose them to everyday spending situations. These situations can include making a transaction at the bank or grocery shopping. Next time you make a transaction at your bank, explain to your child what you are doing, so they can understand what it means to hold money in savings accounts and take it out when it’s needed. Grocery shopping with your child can also help them understand what it means to spend money and look for the best deals on items. Make finding the lowest prices on groceries into a game or contest to get them engaged and teach them how to budget.