Last week my wife and I were talking about getting raincoats for the girls. Trying to be frugal, Kari did some Facebook research and found a local lady who had some raincoats for sale. She decided to connect with the lady and purchase them. They were $5 each after all. The funny thing is we didn’t have $10 in cash sitting around the house.
Going to an ATM wasn’t an option and no one accepts checks for purchases like this. But we had to come up with the cash somehow. So we ended up raiding our kids’ piggy bank for the extra $3 we needed. (We’ll put it back, I promise.)
This experience got me thinking. How do we help our kids to have a better understanding of finances?We definitely want our kids to save, spend, and give wisely.
3 Jars – Spend, Save, Share
After this experience, I read an article that addressed this specific question. The article gives parents ideas and tools to teach their children healthy financial habits. One of the ideas that stood out to me was their 3-Jars Idea. It’s really simple. The article speaks of creating habits in three categories. Spending, Saving, and Sharing. (I love the simplicity and the alliteration to make it easy for kids to remember.)
What parents can do is use 3 mason jars and write “save” on one, “spend” on another, and “share” on the last. Anytime the child receives a financial gift, you pay an allowance to them, or some other reason they receive money, they then choose how to divide the money into the jars. The article mentions the ratios aren’t important, it’s about the kids learning positive financial habits.
Our Kids Think Money And Stuff Magically Appear
One of the main reasons I like this idea so much is because of the impression our kids have about money and stuff. We have a grassy backyard and a little pup that likes to run around out there and find toys to chew on. Sometimes the toys are hers other times the toys are not! Recently, my 5-year-old noticed all her sand toys were missing. She was pretty upset about this.
What she forgot was how often I ask her to put them away in a bin so the pup doesn’t eat them. Unfortunately, for her, the message did not get through and now she’s out of sand toys. At first, this wasn’t a big deal to her. She would just ask me to get more toys for her. But since I refused to get her replacements, this changed her understanding.
Over time, my two oldest (5 and 3) are beginning to realize that stuff doesn’t just magically appear in their room, on the table, or in their backyard. They know you have to go to the store to get these items, but they don’t understand doing this costs money. Until reading the article linked below, my wife and I were a little stuck on what method to use for teaching our kids this lesson. Hopefully, these tips should be helpful for you or for someone you know.
The Simple Dollar Has Even More Tips
Enjoy even more great tips from The Simple Dollar article: A Guide to Securing Your Child’s Credit Future.