How To Teach Your Kids to Save Money

The following is a guest post by Kelli from 3 Boys and a Dog.

Many children these days just don’t understand the value of a dollar. In this current age of excess, we can all take a step back and redirect our values to understand that we must have money in order to spend it.

Today, you can pick up pretty much any book, newspaper, or magazine and find an article about getting out of debt. Almost every commercial break has a bankruptcy lawyer or 1-800 number to call for help. It is time to change and that change is going to happen with our kids!

Did you know that:

* Nellie Mae reports that the average amount of credit card debt held by college graduates is $2,700.

* USA Today reports that the average college graduate owes about $19,000 in student loan debt.

(source: http://www.collegestudentcreditcard.com/articles6.html)

Crazy, right? Imagine, that $2,700 is the AVERAGE! Thinking of having over $21,000 in debt after graduation is enough to make too many kids reconsider college! This post is 5 simple ways to help teach our children to save money so they don’t become a statistic.

The following five tips on “How you can teach your kids to save money” will help you educate them:

Teach Kids to Save Money Tip #1

Obviously, the first step is teaching the little ones to count. If they already know how to count, then they need to be taught to add and subtract. No point in wasting our money just because the cashier can’t count. 🙂

Teach Kids to Save Money Tip #2

Always explain the value of saving money. If you see your child wanting to waste their money on silly things, remind them of how to save money! Just remember, it is their money!

Teach Kids to Save Money Tip #3

Give them an allowance or pay for “a job well done” in small bills. Then, you can help them budget with their money. Example: If they buy lunch money then this is how much they need for it, this much for the football game on Friday, this much for savings, and this much for fun money.

Teach Kids to Save Money Tip #4

Teach your children to work for money! Set up a chore chart and give each chore an amount of worth. At the end of each week, pay them. Also have them ask neighbors, grandparents, and friends if they can clean the yard, wash the car, wash the dog, etc for a bit of cash. If they are 14 years of age or older, they can babysit. If they are 16 years of age or older, they can get an actual job earning money and paying taxes!

Teach Kids to Save Money Tip #5

Give them a piggy bank to store their small change. Also, open them up a savings account to put the bigger money in. When my boys get money for their birthday, they pull half off for their savings account and the other half is for themselves.

Remember, you can’t teach this in just one sitting! Be patient and take the time necessary to be sure they understand. Also, remember the best way to teach is by example. Do you waste money on silly things? How many times have you said, “Oh, it is only $3!”? Have you ever added up that $3? If you spend $3 every day, then you are wasting $1,095 per year! What could you do with an extra almost $1,100?

About the Author:
Kelli gives you tips on how you can save money homeschooling and homemaking! At Deals_3BD she posts coupon/ad matchups, the best homeschooling deals, printable coupons, and kid friendly recipes.

**Image courtesy of Morguefile.com


  1. Start young to teach your child about money and saving. Add more as they can understand more and let them watch you pay your bills. They will realize how much things really cost and how long it takes to earn that money.


  2. Great post. Both my boys (6 and 3) have piggy banks and save their money. The oldest has over $60 so far. We ask him every once in a while if he wants to spend any and he sits for a moment then says Nah I’l just keep saving it for something big.


  3. My child has a piggy bank, and we put aside our change every evening or so. It is surprising how much this adds up when you put it aside and don’t spend it on frivolous purchases (vending machines being the absolute worst).


    • Oh the horrid machines where the kids put in 1 quarter and get back a piece of junk toy? Yeah… where I am, the biggest fight for a while was the ice cream man. An ice cream off the truck these days is a couple dollars! I finally took them to the store to see that the ice cream man was wanting to scalp them with his prices. Every day is a learning lesson. 🙂


      • Seriously! My son asked ONE time for ice cream from the ice cream truck. I told him no and that one ice cream cone was like $3 and if he wanted it, he had to pay for it himself. I told him that we would wait for a sale on ice cream at the store. I bought 2 containers of Breyers Blast and a box of cones for $4.50 that would let the whole family have several servings of ice cream for just a tiny bit more. Now whenever he hears it he says “I wish I could eat ice cream but the truck is TOO expensive can you look for another sale?” lol


  4. When my kids were small, any money was split into 3 groups:
    1/2 goes right into their savings account to save long term.
    1/4 goes into the piggy bank to save for something you want (picture of item, price & how much more is needed posted on front bank).
    1/4 can be spent now (if they want, or can be put in either of the other 2, or go to charity)


      • Very well! They still do the same thing with each of their pay checks (youngest one just graduated high school). They have each purchased their own cars in high school. All have said it was great being able to learn how to save money, many of their friends are already deep in debt.


  5. Growing up i babysat to make a little extra cash. When i turned 16 I was told that if i wanted a car of my own I had to make the money myself. I also had to pay for my own insurance and if i wanted to have my own cell phone I had to pay for that too. I worked at mcd’s since i was 16 for 4 years. I’m really glad my parents made me buy things for myself. I appreciated it all the more than if my parents bought it. Now my 3 kids each have their own savings account and I’m teaching them the value of saving. I’m frugal and love being this way.


    • Me too! I got my mother’s hand-me-down vehicle at 16 (a station wagon) and at 17, I bought my own brand new Ford Ranger that had 86 miles on it when they delivered it to my house. 🙂 My parents certainly taught me the power of a dollar and I am doing the same with my kids.


  6. I am so proud of my 7 year old. He really strives to save the best he can. And it’s not just with money but also with his whole attitude about things. I’ve taught him that even without a bunch of extra stuff, we still have sooooo much more than most of the world. We don’t buy a ton of non necessities because we put most extra money into our mortgage. We will have our 30 year (originally) mortgage paid off before I turn 30 and we don’t have any debt. I am extremely cheap (it truly is beyond frugal) so our family gets made fun of by some of our friends and stuff but it is so worth it not only because we will be completely debt free soon but also because it is rubbing off on my son. I don’t have to hear “can we have this?” “can you buy that?” all the time in the store. And when my son is given money for his birthday or Christmas, he almost always puts the full amount into his savings account because he “has plenty of toys” (his words). Now don’t get me wrong, we occasionally splurge (my husband’s splurges are nice tvs… no cable on them but they do have a beautiful picture for the antenna or movies), my boys have video games from relatives for Christmas, etc. Whenever we go shopping, he asks where the clearance section is first. And if he does see something while grocery shopping, he looks at the markdown racks and asks if we have coupons for any of it lol.


    • “he asks where the clearance section is” Isn’t that so smart!? When I must buy new clothing or something, I tend to walk through the front of the store dreaming of next season as I work my way to the back to look at last season’s stuff. 🙂


  7. Hmm… Well, I don’t have a credit card, so I won’t have any of that debt when I graduate next year. However, I’m going to a small private liberal arts college. Needless to say, I will have more than the average of student loans. Bah! I do know the value of a dollar though. I rarely purchase things unless I really need them, I’m great at saving/hoarding my money. 😉 I’ve had a savings account since before I could work/drive. I baby-sat for extra cash in middle/high school before getting an actual job my senior year of high school. I definitely think that making children pay for things themselves and counting is the best way to make them more aware of the prices of things. Great tips!


    • It is so hard not to give in, though, isn’t it when they want something they don’t have the money for. My son treats his amazing Nerf Gun (approx 60 bucks) better since saving his spending money up for several months to buy it. 🙂


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