Teaching children not only how to save money every month,but also the importance of doing so is difficult for many parents, especially those who have issues with money themselves. Ultimately, your children will likely mirror your actions and habits when it comes to money management. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your current and future financial actions. Teaching smart saving and spending habits to your children early drastically increases their chances of becoming financially independent in adulthood.
Piggy Banks Can Make Saving Fun
Take an hour or so out of a rainy, dreary day and use some activities to educate your child on saving money. While doing so, you can make it more fun and tolerable for them by making a piggy bank with them. You can even make a few different ones and have your kids use them for different savings goals. The best part is you won’t have to spend a penny to make or buy the piggy banks since you already have the necessary items in your house to make great piggy banks.
Now, this is just me, but I’m not a fan of piggy banks that you can access anytime. I want to fill that puppy until I can’t cram another dime into it, and then if I want to access the bounty inside, I’ll need to break it, which is my favorite part. If it’s fun for me, a thirty-year-old man, just imagine how a kid must feel when he or she gets to smash the bank into smithereens. It’s like therapy you get paid for!
5 Great Things To Use As Piggy Banks
1. Spaghetti Sauce Jar - Cut a small hole in the top of the jar and place the lid back on after removing the label from the outside (after all, you do want your kids to be able to see the money, right?). Personally, I like to super glue the lid so that breaking the jar is the only way to get to the money.
2. Mason Jars – Same idea as the spaghetti sauce jar, but likely a little thicker for the breaking.
3. Large Yogurt Containers - No, not the little cups you take to work. Those big tubs are ideal piggy banks. And if your kids are very young, there is no broken glass danger when they decide they want to buy some Starburst and need to access their piggy bank. I still recommend the glue on the lid here.
4. Bleach Bottle/Milk Carton – Bleach bottles are amazing piggy banks. They already have child-proof lids (which your kid can no doubt operate), and they hold a lot of money. Milk jugs on the other hand, are a bit more flimsy and leave the money easily accessible. But they are transparent, unlike the bleach bottle.
5. Soda Bottle - See though? Yes, but 16 oz cans and two liter bottles have that tiny cap that no coin will fit through. You can go through the trouble of “Martha Stewart-ing” it, or instead just do what I would do: use a one-liter bottle. Most of these have the large caps that will easily allow coins to fall freely to the bottom. Again, make sure to glue!
While I do not yet have children, one thing I will most definitely do when I have some of my own is teach them that saving for specific goals is very important. One very fun way to show them this is to use piggy banks. You may think that piggy banks are an outdated way of saving that no longer serve a viable purpose. For adults, this may be true. But we have the advantage of being able to open multiple bank accounts and manage our money electronically. Children will not grasp what money is and how it works by looking at numbers on a computer screen or piece of paper. You can explain how money and bank accounts work until the cows come home, but they will not understand fully unless they have something tangible. Cold, hard cash right in front of them!
You may not be the crafty type who does a lot of DIY projects; you might think it’s just as effective to go buy a piggy bank to teach your kids about money management. But don’t you think it teaches even more to a child if you able to utilize items you already have lying around the house? Frugality is also a part of saving. If everything you buy is designer, you likely won’t have money left over to teach them with.
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