Objects to Help Your Kids Reach for Financial Success at an Early Age
I’m sure, if you really took a second, you could remember your first piggy bank. Your first coin purse. Your first secret stash. The hole in the back of the closet. The enormous mason jar on your dresser. Mine was a semi-opaque green safe, 5”x5”x5”, air tight, four digit secret passcode… sound effects.
Ok, now just for one second forget the pink plastic pig and let’s talk about what a piggy bank really was: the beautiful, awe-inspiring, visual representation of all your dreams coming true. Because of your hard work; because you saved your allowance instead of spending it; because you sweated through that ninety-seven degree day and sold one hundred and fifty cups of delicious lemonade. And, be honest – was there anything more satisfying than opening up that plastic safe, pulling out each and every coin and dollar bill, and buying your own pizza down the street and having a quarter left over for Street Fighter?
Darren Hardy, the publisher of SUCCESS Magazine, understands very well the obsession with making it all add up. It started for him when he was eight, when his grandmother took him to the bank to make his very first deposit. “All the money I had, or at least what I hadn’t wasted, was printed right there in that passbook. ‘I bet I could get that number higher,’ was all I could think.”
His passbook, a small ledger that the cashier at the bank gave him, was the key. It was a tactile representation of all he’d saved, right there in his hands. Long live the ledger. Here are a few other ideas to get your kids feeling the wealth, and to help you teach them that sometimes saving is just as sweet as spending.
#1: DREAM BANK
A couple of months ago, I was browsing Uncommon Good’s website for a gift. I stumbled upon their Dream Bank, an unbelievably good idea for helping your children realize that all they need to do to make a dream come true is save a little bit at a time! All you need is a shadow box picture frame, a photo of your child’s goal (StarWars® lego set, Astronaut Barbie®?) and you’ve got yourself a fun twist on the classic piggy bank.
#2: THE WORK-FOR-HIRE CHORE BOARD
My parents gave us a small allowance when we were kids – and made it clear that when the money was gone, it was gone. I can’t tell you how many times I spent my entire allowance on the newest skateboard wheels or trucks and then couldn’t go to a movie with my friends because I was out of dough. But they always allowed us to work for hire: doing chores that weren’t part of our normal, everyday tasks. Want to vacuum an additional room? Clean the windows? Organize the junk drawer? Whatever it was, we got a few extra quarters (or dollars!) for going the extra mile. You can easily craft your own work for hire board like thechicsite.com’s Rachel Hollis, with a simple cork bulletin board, some tacks, and a few binder clips.
Cork Board – $28.99 (24” x 36”)
Binder Clips – $1.19 / box
Thumbtacks – $1.99 / box
#3: MASON JAR SUPERHERO BANK
What little boy (or girl!) doesn’t want to be a superhero? Teaching your kids to save can be a task worthy of a super-parent, and these adorable mason jar banks could be just the key to getting your little spenders into flexing their saving muscles! Melissa from Fireflies and Mud Pies notes that her kiddos have “taken to digging through the couch cushions for pennies to put in their jars” – and what cute jars they are.
Mason Jar(s) – $1.99 ea
Spray Paint – $5.99 ea
X-Acto Knife – $2.99
Yellow Duct Tape – $2.99 (for off brand)
Red Duct Tape – $2.99
1. Spray paint the mason jar and lid in your child’s favorite superhero color (try turquoise for a snow queen, if your kiddos are hooked on a certain freezing tale!). Let dry.
2. Cut the superhero decal out of duct tape and layer as necessary. If you’re not too artsy, you can always print out an easy stencil from the internet and work from there.
3. Affix decal, cut a hole in the lid for change and, voila!, super saving time.
#4: BIG KID WALLETS AND SAVINGS ACCOUNTS
The folks over at Capital One really got it right: “It’s never too early to put the little ones on the road to financial independence.” And folks like Dave Ramsey would agree. That’s why they both have financial tools for all ages, to show youngsters that stashing cash away is easy. And fun. Want to know more? Just check out Financial Peace Junior, over at DaveRamsey.com, or, if your kiddo is not so much a kiddo anymore, their Starter or Designer Envelope System. Great for teens and your college-aged kids, they offer all the tools you need to start managing money. Want a place where your child can see their money grow? Start a savings account for them; most banks have programs expecially for kids, replete with their very own sign-in info, and a handful of easy savings tools to have at their fingertips. M