Monday 5 December 2016

Get your kids to fill their piggy banks

Published 28/04/2016 | 02:30

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Make it highly visible: A simple idea is to use colours and items children can relate with. For example, create a money goals board with coin images placed on it using a ­colouring feature to represent savings targets achieved.

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Coloured-in coins equal savings achieved to date, and uncoloured coins represent a goal to be achieved in the weeks ahead. This visibility makes it easy for a child to see where exactly they are in savings for a particular goal, and how far they have to go.

Set up a money farm: Have different containers for different goals. For example, if they are saving to buy a piece of sports equipment, have a green container (sports equals healthy). If they are saving to buy a games console, use a red container (red equals danger of inactivity). If they are saving for the "not decided yet" item, use a golden box (you get the idea) - it could be their surprise fund.

Do a match: Establish a rewards ­programme. So, for each €4, you could offer to match by €1. You could even put a bonus in place for when they surpass €100 and €500 in savings with a €10 and €50 top up to encourage long-term savings.

Give them independence : Try to allow children to make their own buying decisions with a few incentives on shopping around for the best deal. This is really what savings is all about; developing a positive ­relationship with money and how kids eventually manage their cash is the ultimate goal.

On this point, parents must try to ensure that kids understand 'good' spending and 'bad' spending and ­perhaps structure their 'bonus' around good purchases.

Give them a job: Rewards for around-the-house jobs are always a great way of linking cash to earning. For ­example, taking the rubbish or ­cutting the lawn.

Take kids shopping and play this little game with them. Ask them to spot the best price on goods based on the unit price for a select few items on your shopping list. For example, the unit price on goods is listed in supermarkets as a way of comparing "absolute" prices and comparing costs. Reward them with any loose change and use a piggy bank to get them into the savings habit (or the coloured containers).

Irish Independent

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