Teach Your Children to Set Goals, Save

By Lauren Chaplin, AFC® Candidate, FINRA Military Spouse Fellow

As a mother of a four- and five-year-old, I am now in the position of figuring out how to teach my children to start saving money for something they want instead of spending the money they get right away. We’ve tried a couple of different strategies, but they haven’t worked for us.

However, following these steps, I was able to get my children to earn money and save it for more than a month for something they wanted, which we then purchased.  Here are some steps I suggest:

1. First, decide how you want your children to earn money. My husband and I decided that we would give them an age matching allowance every other week (as in our four-year-old earns $4) and would also have opportunities to earn more money by doing extra work around the house. 

Here are some suggestions about age-appropriate chores, but you can decide what is appropriate for you and your family. Our chores consisted of clearing the table, feeding the dog in the morning and washing windows. Each extra job is worth $1 in our house, but you can make your own choice. As our children get older, we will be adding to this list. 

2. Figure out a way to display the jobs and the money your children will earn. Our children are very visual, so seeing the money was incentive enough for them to earn it.  I used the display illustrated within this blog.

3. Talk to your children about the allowance system and what they will need to do! In this discussion, see if they can set (or help them set) a savings goal. Look through sales flyers, the internet, etc. They will see how much they will need to save and how much extra work they will need to do. This process can also be great math lesson, too!  

As parents, my husband and I also agreed that our children would only need to save for half of the goal item and that we would come up with the rest. As they get older, this may change, but for younger children, this will help keep their interest.

4. Find a way to display what they are saving for. I have seen a few ways online, but in this digital age, I found the following free app: Savings-setter. With this app, you enter in your children’s names and then set their specific savings goal (you can even include a picture of the item if you want). Helping your children to see how far they’ve come can make a real difference. 

5. Be consistent and keep with it! Replace the money as they earn it, reinforce the savings goals each time they save money and make the most of teachable moments throughout the process.    

As always, this is a suggested way of assisting your children with learning to save. I hope you have the same success with your family as I did with mine! 

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Guest Blogger | September 30, 2014

    Participate in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) - a retirement savings and investment plan for Federal employees and members of the Uniformed Services. It offers the same types of savings and tax benefits that many private corporations offer their employees under 401(k) plans. More info at tsp.gov

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