Thursday, November 03, 2011

Saving Starts with a Pig

This post was underwritten by BMO Harris Bank, which offers a matching $25 on a new savings account opened for your child through their Helpful Steps for Parents program. Learn more at
It might be safe to say that none of us really understands money and saving given the current economic crises and the Occupy Wall Street issue that is currently in play.  However, as a parent to three kids, my husband and I feel it is our duty as parents to try to impart some wisdom, understanding and value to the subject of saving your cash money.
As a child I was a lot like Montgomery Burns.  I tucked my money away like a squirrel.  I had a savings account, kept things in a safety deposit box, two piggy banks (one for coins, one for the paper), a sock and I even had a Christmas Club account each year.  I liked holding onto my fistful of dollars.  I would save for things that were extremely important to me.  A set of Cabbage Patch Twins, anyone?  Yes, I plunked down $110 1980's dollars for that purchase.  Money I had impatiently saved.  It was also the first purchase I chose to regret.  I wish I had kept my cash.  Still, I learned and I valued saving.  It was a nice little safety net that I knew was always there comforting me.  For what, I have no idea.  I was ten but I kept doing it well into my teens. 

Now with my oldest getting an allowance we have tried to impart on her why money and what you do with it has value.  One of the best ways we have found to do this is by purchasing a compartmentalized piggy bank.  Broken down into four categories- Save, Spend, Donate and Invest it has been a bit easier to explain to her why we need to do these four things with our money.  At the same time we are giving her examples of what each category can do for her and others. 

1.  She gets her allowance and each week has to choose a different section to place her money in the bank. 

2.  She can pick something big to spend her money on which means she is also saving it instead of continuously spending it.  The American Girl catalog comes in real handy for this. 

3.  When her 'Donate' section is full she can choose a charity to pass it on to. In the past it was the local ACTS/United Way center.

4.  The Invest section is a bit harder to explain but the girl is already all about going to college and this has been a really great way to help her understand why she might want to invest money.  That and buying her own place.  She's five but she has two younger siblings.  The girl is already looking for her own space.

5. We have told her that once she has filled the 'Save' section we will take it to our bank and she can set up her own savings account.  We have explained to her how we will continuously deposit money into this account each time that portion of the bank fills up.  As her piggy bank compartment fills and "grows"  so will her money in her savings account. 

It's not something she grasps all the time or right away. She's still little and it will take time.  The conversations will get more complicated and we have two smaller ones to teach as well.  In fact, we just bought another one of those piggy banks for the second kid's upcoming birthday. I think we can all agree that the lessons of savings can never be taught too soon. 

I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. To learn more about BMO Harris Bank, visit their website.

1 comment:

  1. This is convicting me! I so, so, so, so need to get a saving/donating/spending system going for my 7 y/o (and 3 y/o!). Thanks for the tips and the reminder...


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