April is financial literacy month! What does that mean? It’s a time for financial institutions, nonprofits and other organizations to offer education and create awareness that helps people make the most of their money.
Despite financial literacy efforts, one study found that only 1 in 5 teenagers in the U.S. had basic-level skills regarding the principles of saving money. In fact, students in other developed countries faired far better than Americans - including Russia, China and Poland.
How can you start teaching money-matters at home?
Use a four-slotted piggy bank.
Encourage your kids to do more than just “save” their allowance. Help them them to divide it into four categories:
- Save for emergencies
- Spend for wants and “now” items
- Donate to charity
- Invest in a savings account
Open a savings account.
Take a trip to the bank and help your children open their first savings account. This will give them the opportunity to see how banking works, why having “money” doesn’t always mean a stack of physical cash and the importance of earning interest.
Turn a grocery store visit into a lesson.
Nothing like hands-on experience! Let your helping hands know you have $100 to spend on groceries and share your itemized list with them. Ask your kids to help you total up the cost of the items as you place them in your cart.
Demonstrate the power of coupons & sales.
Bring a couple coupons with you to the store and show how percentages and buy one-get-one’s can help you save.
Classics like Monopoly, Life or Payday - as well as online games like Dungeons and Dragons - are a great way to introduce earning, saving and spending concepts.
Work, work, work.
If your kids are too young to work outside the house, then pay them to do some jobs at home. This will enforce the idea of how money is earned.
Comparison shop together.
In need of a new dishwasher, washing machine, dining room set, or other “major” purchase? Make your kids part of the process! Let them know what you’re looking for, talk through the importance of shopping around and ask them to help you search.
Save at School
Our Save at School program helps elementary school students learn the habit of thrift by making modest – but regular – deposits during our on-site “bank days.” We also match each initial $5 opening deposit. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about launching a Save at School program in your area.