Are You the Bank ATM for Your Kids?

It’s mid-summer…with plenty of opportunities for kids to spend money at every turn. Instead of feeling like your kids’  ATM and dispensing cash for entertainment, snacks or vacation trinkets, why not use those “Dad, can I have…” moments for mini money lessons?

Instead of handing out money for the “want of the day,” why not give kids an amount to manage and make some choices? Kids don’t have to handle large amounts—whether it’s your money or theirs—to get plenty of financial experience. Even those seemingly insignificant financial choices give kids of all ages a better chance to succeed with important ones later. Kids who manage money for their wants/needs often don’t spend as much, or they make different buying choices.

Do you dismiss those small and relatively unimportant choices, like…

  • Not bending down to pick up a penny or a nickel off the ground?
  • Leaving coins at the concession counter so you don’t have heavy pocket change?
  • Choosing a name brand snack over a less expensive store or regional brand?
  • Buying a $3 water and leaving the nearly full bottle in your seat at the stadium?
  • Buying a few $1.99 mobile apps that get little use?
  • Developing a nightly takeout habit?
  • Not putting part of a small summer paycheck into a savings account – because it isn’t earning much interest anyway?

Choices quickly become habits, habits become a lifestyle…. that usually lasts a lifetime. Take a few minutes this summer to help your kids develop a saving mentality, no matter how small the amounts. Just like spending habits, good savings habits are hard to break. Which do you want to cultivate?

Find ideas for saving and free downloads on websites like this one or Feed the Pig by the American Institute for CPAs.

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