Let’s Talk “Piggy Banks”!
Piggy banks come in all shapes and sizes and are used by all ages for all sorts of reasons. The most important reason, we believe, is teaching your children how to save money.
Whether your piggy bank is shaped like a pink pig, plays music when you drop in a coin, or has a combination lock so your savings aren’t easily accessed, the lesson is the same: start the habit of saving money at the earliest age possible. Children as young as three years old can grasp financial concepts like saving and spending.
Parents are the biggest influencers on their children’s behaviors—you are their financial role models. Your children watch you shop from their front row seats on shopping carts, observe you getting food from a drive-through window after giving someone money, and, as toddlers, begin to gather clues that money is an important tool. They will likely imitate you, so be sure you’re setting the right example.
While your two-year-old may not quite understand the concept of money, you can begin to play learning games like creating a pretend store and using play money to buy items. As your child grows, exchange play money for real money and let them choose and pay for an item at the grocery store. Once they begin to understand that money doesn’t really grow on trees, have them set up a savings goal and match part of that goal when it’s achieved—a great example of patience...and earning dividends!
There are a lot of great ways to guide your children into a smart financial future. Start simple, enjoy the creative interaction, and take pride in setting positive money habits. Here are five to get you started:
- Give Your Child a Piggy Bank. When your children start receiving money for birthdays and holidays, have them put it in their piggy banks. Every time your child adds money, help count up how much there is.
- Pick Something Special to Save For. When your child wants something from the store, instead of buying it for them, help them set a savings goal. Once they save enough, take them to the store and let them pay the cashier themselves.
- Talk About Budgets while Shopping. Have them clip a few coupons and find the items at the store that match the coupons. Include your child in product choices about saving money. For example, explain, “The reason I chose the generic cereal rather than the brand name is that it costs 50 cents less and tastes the same.”
- Play Monopoly! Board games can be a great way to introduce financial concepts and teach children how to understand spending and saving in a very interactive way. It can provide hours of fun, filled with a plethora of teachable moments.
- Open A Savings Account for your Child. Get your child familiar and comfortable with depositing money at a bank. Kohler Credit Union has a kids club called “Piggy Bank Pals” designed for children 12 and under. Your child receives a membership card to be filled with stickers each time they make a deposit, show a report card with good grades, or have a birthday. Once the card is filled they receive a prize.
Understanding money is a life skill every child should begin learning at a young age. In the blink of an eye your child will be earning a paycheck, opening a credit card, and buying a house. They grow up so fast...make sure they grow up making the best financial decisions!