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Teaching Kids to Save

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Money Management
Ameris Bank

The smartphone or tablet you hand your child to occupy them can also help them learn a valuable life lesson - how to save money. Technology today offers parents a variety of apps and websites that can help kids learn how to stash their cash -- even virtual cash -- to get the things they want. Whether you’re tech-savvy or old school, here are tips for you:

The basics:

Teaching kids basic money skills will help them throughout their lives, as they grow up and pay their own rent, car loan and travel expenses. If they don't learn those skills at an early age, it will be a challenge for them to learn how to budget and pay bills as they become adults.

First steps:

Start with an allowance tied to chores, so that kids learn how to earn money. Put a chart on the refrigerator with a list of household chores like folding clothes, taking out the trash or washing the car. Assign a dollar amount to each chore and make every Friday payday.

Teach wants from needs:

Explain the difference between the things you want to buy, like new headphones or expensive sneakers, and things you need, like food or medicine. If your child wants to buy something, ask them if it's a want or a need.

Divide up money:

If your child gets an allowance in cash, have them set up labeled jars in their room: saving, investing, spending and sharing. Figure out with your child what percentage goes in each.

High tech tips:

In today's mostly cashless society, you may want to teach your child how to save virtually by using apps and online tools.

  • iAllowance is an app that helps you manage your kids chores, allowance and rewards.
  • Motion Math: Cupcake! has kids starting their own cupcake store and learning about math and finances in a creative setting.
  • Savings Spree helps kids 7 and older learn about saving for short-term goals, spending wisely, donating to others and investing for the future.

Old school exercises:

If you prefer money lessons without a screen, here are a few ideas:

  1.  Count money
    • Have kids stack coins to make dollars. Tell them a dollar amount and challenge them to stack the correct amount of coins.
  2. Make a counting jar
    • Have your child decorate a jar for loose coins. Get paper coin wrappers from the bank and do a counting party every six months.
  3. Add up prices
    • Challenge kids to find the least expensive apple juice or chicken soup at the grocery. Teach them how to read the price per unit tags on the shelf. Have them do the math – are two small cans less expensive than one large can?
  4. Play games
    • Play board games like Monopoly and Life to teach kids about counting, the value of real estate and how to save for a goal.
  5. Clip coupons
    • Make a game of clipping coupons. Put the dollar amount of any coupon they use back into their saving jar.

Teaching kids how to manage money while they are young is a life lesson that will help them as they grow older.


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Ameris Bank is not affiliated with nor endorses any of the companies featured in this article.