Save, Spend, Share
Most money experts recommend some version of teaching kids how to save, spend and share their money. What you can do is to create three jars and label them, “Save, Spend, Share.”
After you’ve determined the means and method for giving your children money, you can decide how to advise them what to do with it, providing learning opportunities in the process.
Let them blow some of their spending money on candy. That gives them a chance to enjoy being a kid while realizing how quickly money evaporates.
You can also decide what percentage of money goes to each jar. You may choose to divide it evenly to each jar. Base your decision on your values.
The “Save” Jar
The ‘Save’ Jar can be used for something your child wants, but that you would not necessarily buy for her – and something you’re willing to have in your home.
Perhaps it’s a Game Boy or Nintendo, a toy or an item of clothing. A younger child may take a few weeks to save for a toy he wants. Older children might need several months to save for what they want.
The objective is for your child to understand the satisfaction of delayed gratification – and learn they can set meaningful, achievable goals.
The “Spend” Jar
Think of this as money for short-term items – for example, to spend at the store within parameters you’ve set. Allow your child to make some mistakes with this money and to learn from them. Guide his decision-making so he can begin making more choices on his own.
For instance, perhaps he’s at the store trying to decide between buying a candy bar and some baseball cards. Make sure he knows that the choice is his. As he considers, you can give him questions to think about such as: “Which is more important to me?” “How will I feel later about my choice?”
Encourage him to look down the road. After he eats the candy bar, will he wish he would have bought the cards?
The “Share” Jar
This jar shows children they can use their money to support their community and causes they believe in.
The share jar not only provides an opportunity to teach children about using money; it also lets your child know what’s important to you. You can explain your own charitable giving philosophy and program.
Encourage your child to support causes she encounters. For example, your child may have a good friend at school diagnosed with childhood cancer. You may suggest she make a donation from her “Share” jar to The Ronald McDonald House (which provides lodging for families when kids come to the hospital for treatment), or to organizations dedicated to cancer research or supporting families dealing with cancer.
Or, your child may learn about a mission through your religious institution that he’s interested in and make his own contribution.