Savings are seen as the ultimate benchmark of being great with money. The first thing that pops to mind when thinking about great money habits is the habit of saving, and it's what parents most want to help their kids learn when it comes to financial literacy.
And yet, saving money is something kids see as dull; spending is so much more fun. Saving feels like a chore; spending is easy. Saving takes time; spending is immediate. With so many strikes against it, how do we get our kids into the practice of holding on to their money?
We make saving more enjoyable and engaging, turning it into a fun and exciting experience for our kids. Here are a few ideas you could try.
Set Goals and Rewards
Recruit the promise of future spending to the cause. Help your kids plan for a special future purchase, such as buying a toy or saving for a day out or holiday. Then help them create a savings goal or plan how to collect the money they need to buy it. Break down the goals into achievable milestones, and reward your kids each time they hit them. Voila! That's not just motivation; it also gives them a sense of accomplishment and progress.
Let them see their money grow
Many kids are visual learners, and visual aids can be powerful motivators. When kids can see their progress, it helps them stay excited and motivated. Do regular check-ins on how their savings goal progress bar is moving. Help them plan how to get to the finish line faster. And make a big deal about every contribution they make. The positive reinforcement will make saving a behaviour they want to keep repeating.
Match or Add to Their Savings
Everybody loves a good incentive. Consider matching their savings, adding a bonus contribution at important milestones or as a reward for regularly putting some of their pocket money aside. This reinforces the importance of saving and increases their savings, making the process much more rewarding.
Make Saving a Family Activity
Get the whole family involved. Choose a specific day of the week, maybe pocket money day, and allocate a special family "savings hour". Show the kids what you're saving for, and check in on their savings goals. It's a great time to discuss money, offer them some friendly parental guidance and celebrate each other's savings wins.
Kids thrive on challenges. Challenge your kids to save a certain amount within a fixed timeframe, such as a month or a season. Amp up the fun by turning it into a savings competition with a sibling or friend. You could even create a leaderboard and throw in a prize for the winner, fostering a sense of healthy competition and excitement around saving.
Utilize technology to make saving more interactive and engaging. Use an app like Spriggy, designed specifically for kids' financial education. These tools will help your kids learn to create and manage their own savings goals. More importantly, they'll help your kids learn to budget their money, track their spending and get into the habit of having a little bit of money to put aside towards savings.
Make it about them
Saving money will feel less like a chore when it's meaningful to your kids. Think of what interests them, and weave savings lessons into something that matters to them. Help them see the bigger (and often better) picture; they'll be more inclined to achieve short or long-term goals that they are already invested in, be it a new game they want to have or that first car they've been dreaming of.
Transform saving money into an enjoyable and rewarding experience for your children. The key to getting them excited and staying motivated is to make saving relatable to them. Do that, and you'll find it a lot easier to teach them the value of money and get them into the habit of setting savings goals and achieving them.