The best way to teach kids about saving money is when they are young.
I grew up in a humble home. Most often than not, we only receive new toys during Christmastime, or sometimes on our birthdays. At an early age, my siblings and I learned to limit our wants and be satisfied with simple things. We only get enough for our school allowance and if we want to buy something we have to save it so we can buy the things that we want. I know how frustrating it is when I was in that position where I cannot understand why my classmates have cute pencil cases (I know, shallow) and I don’t. I can only satisfy myself by buying colorful and nice smelling erasers outside our school. It’s cheap and really cute! We started getting hold of nicer things when our Ate and Kuya finished their education and helped my parents with the home expenses.
Even before that I realized the hardship my parents were going through and learned to save my allowance so I can buy the non-textbook reading materials in high school. It also helped that I learned a few sidelines here and there during summer.
Now that I’m a mother, I wanted to teach my kid about saving money as early as now. I know that as a parent, we can’t help but sometimes spoil our kids. My husband does that to our child so I’m the spoil sport in our family who tries to reign in his tendencies to give everything to the little girl. It is nice that we can afford to spoil her with toys once in a while but we can never be sure in the future. It’s better to show her as early as now that she can’t have everything. That she can look and sometimes touch the toys in the toy store but it doesn’t mean that she can keep it and bring it home with her.
One perfect example of teaching kids about money was our recent trip to the bookstore. I was waiting in line to pay for the photo paper I was buying when Una saw a paint set. When she tried to give it to me so we can pay for it, I told her to put it back because we don’t have money to pay for it (even if we do at that time) and she already have crayons at home. It was a bit difficult convincing her to do so but she gets the point and returned the paint set.
As for introducing her to saving money, it was a bit easier this time. I have a habit of putting loose change to a donation coin back in cashier stations. Una saw it one time and insisted that she do that every time. Sometimes she would ask for a coin so she can drop it at the donation box. She knew that once she put it there, she can never have it back (or in the case of her personal coin back, she’ll have it later on, but we’re not telling her that yet). The idea is storing the coins in the coin back and forgetting about it. So when I bought her a Mickey Mouse shaped coin bank recently she was excited to put all the coins that she could find in there. We even practiced her counting skills while she was inserting the coins in the coin bank and even asked me for more once she’s done.
Now here comes the tricky part: explaining to your kid about the saved money. As for me, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. The important thing is the idea of keeping/storing/saving the money for safekeeping is ingrained in their young minds. I’m sure it would be an exciting day for her when it’s time to “break the piggy bank” or in our case, open the coil slot sealed with duct tape. It would be like opening presents!