(3 Minute Read) – We start kids young with almost everything— sports, school, so why not saving? The earlier you develop a positive mindset around saving, the easier it is to save successfully as an adult. As part of America Saves Week, we’re sharing tips and resources to help you and your family develop positive saving habits.
The idea of saving doesn’t always have to be tangible. There are definitely ways to save around your home that aren’t as black and white as putting money in a piggy bank or opening up a youth savings account, although that’s something we strongly encourage.
The small things that we expect our children to do around the house are contributing to saving as a family. This can be a great motivator for them if your family is saving for a vacation or some other fun family gift or experience. To teach your children positive saving habits, start with identifying ways to save around the house.
1. Teach them to turn off the water
Did you know using a newer dishwasher saves more water than hand washing dishes? Small adjustments, like turning off the water while brushing your teeth and ensuring a ‘full’ load of laundry, can save you big money on your water bill.
2. Teach them to conserve energy
Turning off the lights and TV are one of the easiest things to forget when headed into another room or rushing out the door. Kids thrive when they feel like they’re the leader. Assign them the role of “Energy Saver” and make it their responsibility to turn off all the lights, keep the refrigerator door closed, or checking to make sure the television is off if not being watched. Explain to them that they are helping the family save by keeping a lower electricity bill. You could even sweeten the deal by having an enticing Family Savings Goal, like visiting a local play place or saving for a fun vacation. Equating saving with something they love will make it easier for them to understand the importance.
3. Teach them to enjoy cooking at home
Eating out may be convenient, but cooking at home can be just as satisfying, especially when you get your kids involved. Try making their favorite pizza from scratch. They may enjoy the process and the taste more than your usual take out order.
4. Teach them to grow their food
Like cooking at home, when children have ownership of something, they’re more likely to enjoy it. Can you imagine how much more eager they’ll be to eat their broccoli and carrots if they grow them themselves? You can save quite a bit by growing your own fruits and veggies.
5. Have at-home family nights
Get creative by having low-cost family fun activities such as family game nights, card games, movie nights, or backyard campouts. You’ll find it very easy to have fun and bond as a family from the comfort of your home. These activities can save you so much and keep the fun going for years to come.
6. Consider other rewards for saving at home
Work with your children to set up expectations around chores or other at-home contributions. Consider an allowance for these tasks and then start laying the groundwork for successful saving habits. You can open an account at Unitus and deposit an allowance into the account. Through digital or mobile banking, you can set up a savings goal and your kids can watch as their balances grow. Saving up for a new video game console has never been easier. And your children will get the satisfaction of knowing they worked hard to reach that financial goal.
You can also establish strong saving habits by using the spend, save, give method. When doling out allowance, set up a percentage that goes into a spending account, a savings account, and a giving account. Teaching children to give back earlier in life sets them up to become strong philanthropists as adults. By making these tips a habit, you’ll save on utility bills and entertainment. More importantly, you’ll be setting the foundation of positive saving habits with your children, which will last a lifetime.
You can find additional tips to save as a family at AmericaSaves.org.