Teaching kids about the value of saving money at an early age is a great way to help ensure they are not only familiar with the process, but that they have a positive outlook on it long term. Think of the first trip to the dentist – the more positive the experience is, the more comfortable they’ll be with future visits. The same can apply to finances; starting to think about finances and the importance of saving at a young age can often change the trajectory of how they view managing their finances in the future.
Finances is not exactly a topic that might spark the most interest in kids. However, teaching them the importance of maintaining positive financial habits is extremely important in order to help clear the path for a better understanding of financial-related situations as they grow up.
Is it possible to make finances fun? Here are three ways you can incorporate money-saving techniques into playtime.
1. Play Money-Focused Games
This will vary depending on age, but there are countless games out there that focus on finances. Think of Monopoly or The Game of Life – both require the use of fake money to play the game, and saving is an important element that is seamlessly integrated within them.
For the next family game night, bring out Monopoly and add in some teachable moments throughout the game. If you think some board games might be a bit advanced for your kiddos, try kid-friendly versions, such as Monopoly Jr. – an even easier way to still teach the value of saving money, but in a way that can reach kids where they are. Even taking the premise of a game and modifying it to your child’s age can be a great way to obtain the lessons the game provides.
Depending on screen time rules, playing online games that focus on saving money can be a great way to make learning more enjoyable. There are many game apps and websites that turn finances into a storyline that will keep kids engaged. With a quick search on the app store, you can find several saving-focused games, such as the award-winning Savings Spree or a game app VISA launched called Peter Pig’s Money Counter that teaches young kids important money skills, including the value of saving before spending.
The Royal Canadian Mint also has many fun and free resources for kids that give an educational overview on money, saving, and more.
2. Mimic Real-Life Scenarios
What’s better than turning real-life examples into teachable moments? Using scenarios that we encounter daily can act as valuable lessons that kids can become more familiar and comfortable with.
Take, for example, grocery shopping – maybe you have a strict amount you can spend in order to stay within your monthly budget. The process beforehand, such as making the budget and ensuring you stay within it and then choosing certain items over others at the store, are critical steps you take that may come as second nature to you by now. However, this can be a great example to teach kids the value of money and the importance of cutting costs in order to save.
Going to the store may not be an option all the time, so why not bring the store to you? It can be as simple as using paper cut-outs of money that kids can hold and “shop” with using some of the products you have at home. This can help illustrate that when they purchase an item, the money in their hand gets less and less, which will demonstrate the importance of saving.
Using real-life scenarios that you know kids will likely encounter in the future can provide a tangible way of demonstrating the value of money, in a way that is still fun and “game-like” that kids will enjoy.
3. Use Saving Jars
Are there certain toys your child has been asking for? This can be a great opportunity to teach them about saving their money in order to get them. Arrange a couple of glass jars with printed images of each item they want on the front and set a certain amount of money they can receive each week as an allowance. That way you can let them dictate how much of that money they want to put towards each purchase. If there is an item that they want now, more of the allowance can go in that specific jar, and so on. Each week (or however you want to set up the allowance) your child will see the money grow in the jar, and when they receive the item they want, it will act as a reward for saving their money.
You can also get the entire family involved by setting up a family goal, such as a trip or family activity, and have everyone put any spare change they have in the jar. By modelling this behaviour, kids will understand saving is something that even adults do and that even though saving for something may take time, it is worth it in the end.
Any type of activity that will get you talking with your kids about money is important, as it can lead to better financial literacy down the road. Opening a savings account with your child is another more apparent way that you can start the saving process and get that conversation started.
At Moya Financial, we offer youth accounts starting from birth to 12 years old. Upon opening the account, we will contribute $50 towards your child’s Registered Education Savings Plan, as well as plant a tree on the child’s birthday (up to their 17th birthday), which can act as a visual reminder that as the tree grows, so is your savings account.
Contact one of our Financial Services Representatives to get started.