Teaching Kids How to Save — SEA Says

CSU Extension Website

Teach Children to Save Day, celebrated in April, focuses on the importance of teaching money management to children.  Children who learn good money habits are more likely to become adults who make sound financial decisions, avoid excessive debt, and manage income and expenses to reach their financial goals.   

Teaching children to save part of their money at an early age sets the stage for future money habits.  Preschoolers need to be able to see their money to understand saving; to them, money at the bank has just disappeared.  Extension Agent Kaye Kasza suggests using the “three jar” method with preschoolers.  Gather three jars, then label one for saving, one for sharing and the third for spending.  All money the child earns or receives as a gift is split among the jars.  Help your child decide what they will save for.  Preschoolers need to have a short-term goal for a specific want; saving for college is too far off at this age.   

Elementary kids should open a savings account in a bank or financial institution.  Bring your children to the bank to set up an account in their own name and deposit their money.  This helps them learn about earning interest and how banks work.  This age group can begin to save for longer-term goals.  Have them write down and post their savings goal.  Seeing the goal helps motivate the child to continue to save.  If your budget allows, encourage saving by matching part or the entire amount saved.    

Talk to your children about your savings goals.  It is good for children to know that adults have to prioritize and wait for some of our purchases.  Anytime you earn, spend, donate, borrow or save money, you have an opportunity to teach your children how the money world works. 

 Children learn lessons when they are allowed to make mistakes.  When they impulsively spend their savings on something other than their goal, don’t rescue them.  If children spend all their money on candy and have to miss something else, they learn to spend their money differently in the future.  

For more information on family resource management, contact your local Extension Office:  Baca County 719-523-6971, Bent County 719-456-0764, Cheyenne County 719-767-5716, Crowley County 719-267-5243, Kiowa County 719-438-5321, Otero County 719-254-7608, Prowers County 719-336-7734.  Or find us on the web at:  http://www.extension.colostate.edu/SEA.  CSU Extension offers up-to-date, unbiased, research-based information to families in Southeast Colorado.  CSU Extension programs are available to all without discrimination.

By: Kaye Kasza, CSU Extension Agent – Kaye.kasza@colostate.edu or 719-456-0764


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