We do a poor job of teaching our kids about money in this country. In order to get my kid started in the right direction I set up the following system. I threw out my son’s piggy bank and gave him three jars. I labeled one, money to spend, one money to save, and one money to give. I told him any time he got any money he had to split it into thirds. Then I explained that he could use the spend jar money on anything he wanted. I would never question what he wanted to spend that money on. The money to save jar could never be touched. And the money to give jar was not only for church offerings but when he got invited to friends birthday parties he had to buy the birthday presents with his money to give jar. (I was tired of spending my money on his friend’s presents). I was amazing to see how after buying birthday presents at Wal-mart for his friends a couple of times, he started becoming more conscience about how much the present cost.
The other lesson that he learned was that when he ran out of his money to spend, he could not buy that next toy he wanted. One day he came to me and said, “Dad I really want this Slylander figure (video game toy) and my spend jar is empty.” I looked at him and said “Son it sounds like you need a job.” So he went to my wife and said “Mom, dad says I need a job.” My wife told him to go tell the ladies next door that he was looking for a job. Our nice neighbors offered to pay him 1.50 a week to take their trash down to the street for pick up.
There are plenty of ways to teach your child about money, but my 3 Money Jars has now, two years later, ingrained the habit of saving. The jars have open countless conversations about adding, dividing, work ethic, planning out purchases and shopping for value.
And let’s not forget Your Smart Money Move is that it saves you from spending your money kid’s birthday presents.