By: Christine Stoll, Executive Director, IDeal – Idaho College Savings Program
January 23, 2017
How did your child react the first time you tried to get her to eat green beans? Perhaps you’re blessed with a child that loves trying new food and eats all her veggies enthusiastically. Most likely, your child’s typical response to a new and challenging food is, “yuck!” (If it’s not a struggle to get your child to eat her veggies, it’s bedtime, or brushing teeth, or something else important, and in your child’s eyes, extremely un-fun.)
Like any parent, I have big dreams for my daughter. I want her to go to college, find a career that she loves, and live a happy and successful life. I know that teaching my daughter good habits now is the foundation for that happy future. Just like it’s important for her to eat her veggies, I’ve always known that it was critical that she learn to save a portion of her money. But I also knew that she would probably have the same attitude toward savings as she did toward her first taste of green beans. I wouldn’t really blame her either.
My daughter was five when we started, so I decided I would have to make it fun—for both of our sakes. Here’s what we have been working on.
Step 1: Create Save, Share, and Spend Jars
We decorated three mason jars with the words “save,” “share,” and “spend” to help my daughter divide her money by priority. While we were working on the jars, we talked about why it’s fun to earn money because of how we get to use it:
• buying things we want or need right now.
• helping others out and giving gifts to our friends and loved ones.
• keeping a bit set aside so that when there’s something we really want or need in the future, we can buy it.
Here’s the important part: our conversation centered on the idea of choice. We discussed that earning money gives us options. Children have a drive to be independent, to be “big kids,” and to do things on their own. Getting my daughter excited about money meant telling her that she was old enough to start making some of her own decisions about money.
I told my daughter that whenever she received money as a gift or earned it by helping around the house, she could decide what portion of the money should go in each jar—but that some money had to go in each jar every time she either received or earned money. She gets greater independence; I get her to learn about delayed gratification.
Creating the “save”, “share” and “spend” jars was a fun activity for both of us. She was excited to see how much money she actually had and that she could make different choices for each jar. I found that was it was a great opportunity to introduce the different types of coins and paper money. This thirty-minute activity has been a successful springboard for many conversations this past year and to introduce additional savings steps…stay tuned for steps 2 and 3.
About the Author:
Christine Stoll is the Executive Director of IDeal – Idaho College Savings Program. The IDeal Program is celebrating its 15th year helping families save for their higher education goals in a tax advantaged way. Idaho tax payers can qualify for an annual state tax deduction of up to $4,000 of contributions for single filers and up to $8,000 of annual contributions for those married and filing jointly.
For more information about the Idaho College Savings Program (“IDeal”), call 866-433-2533 or visit www.idsaves.org to obtain a Disclosure Statement. The Disclosure Statement discusses investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other important information. Because investing in IDeal is an important decision for you and your family, you should read and consider the Disclosure Statement carefully before investing. Ascensus Broker Dealer Services, Inc. (“ABD”) is Distributor of IDeal.