When I was a little girl, I remember my mother always telling me how important it was to “save for a rainy day”. I never really understood what she meant. I simply feigned comprehension and nodded several times, acting as if I knew what it was all about. Props go out to me for being such a good actress then.
Now that I’m a mom, I want to pass on the value of saving money to my kids. I believe that it’s never too early to teach them the importance of saving up for the future.
I usually take advantage of family dinnertime to talk to them about money. I always tell them that money does not grow on trees, and that you have to work for it. I explain to them how they see me slaving away on the computer and get paid for it.
On occasion, I have tagged them along with me during my trips to the bank. I have shown them what it means to deposit and withdraw. They realize how I’m able to take out money which I’ve saved beforehand. Seeing something tangible does help them understand these essential concepts.
Not to be misconstrued as child labor, I have started giving my kids money as a reward for the little chores they help me do at home. This teaches them that money is earned, and doesn’t magically fall from the sky.
I also made it a goal for them to put some of the money away in their piggy banks, and that we can break their banks after a couple of months, so they can buy something they want. I told them that the more money they put in there, the more things they can buy. This is likewise an exercise in delaying gratification: getting something bigger by making sacrifices today.
The skills we have as adults are often the result of the skills we’ve mastered in childhood. If we teach our kids to start putting a premium on saving money, they will carry this habit with them as they grow up. And that value is much more valuable than any amount of cold cash.