Kids, especially the younger ones, come up with some pretty creative ways to save money or to get money. Some kids get really into money, even when they are just toddlers.
I was fascinated by money when I was little and I would like to think that I’m instilling that same interest in money in my own son. Jacob’s just a little too young yet to fully grasp money, but he’s come up with some funny ways to save money, as have the kids of my friends who are a bit older.
The Coin Ritual
Jacob and my husband have started a fun ritual each evening. When Mike comes home, he takes off his jacket and gives it to Jacob. Jacob then starts the “great hunt.” If he find anys coins in the jacket, they are his to keep.
We’ve found this little ritual to be a fun way to help kids save money. Jacob takes the coins he finds (there’s usually at least two or three) and stashes them in a clear, wide mouth jar. Every night, he’s excited for Dad to get home so that they can play their game.
Scamming the Tooth Fairy
Some other creative ways to save money that kids have come up with includes what I’ll call “scamming the tooth fairy.”
I’ve heard of friend’s kids who will ask their mom or dad for their tooth back, after the “tooth fairy” has bought it. These creative kids will then put the tooth back under their pillow in the hopes of getting more money.
It doesn’t always work, but there might be a time when the tooth fairy/mom or dad isn’t paying attention.
Hiding It Away
My little niece recently showed me one of her funny ways to save money. She likes to hide her money in a purse that she doesn’t use much or in her books.
She told me that she likes to do this because one time she found a few dollars that she’d put in her Easter purse and forgotten about. She said it was really exciting to find it again.
Some kids save money by getting really into couponing or looking through sales flyers. Couponing teaches kids a lot. It gives them an idea of what things costs, helps them learn to make grocery lists, and lets them learn about saving money.
I know of at least one family that has made a deal with their kids. The children are responsible for clipping coupons and sorting through the flyers each week to find items on sale. The parents then give the kids 50 percent of the money they saved thanks to the sales and coupons.
The Treasure Chest
Treating money like it is very special or as though it has magic powers helps some kids stash it away. Jacob refers to his jar of coins as his treasure, which means that he’ll be less likely to want to spend all of his money on frivolous items.
One of the other parents at Jacob’s preschool told me that her older son pretends that the money he keeps in his lock box is keeping the monster from getting out and attacking him.
Turning Everyday into a Scavenger Hunt
Kids are always on the lookout for money. Kids save money by looking for it in often unexpected places, such as under the kitchen table, in the coin return of vending machines, or on the floor of the car.
The practice of digging around for money makes everyday life a bit more exciting for kids and teaches them to better value money. If they lose it, someone else will benefit!
Trying to Get Stuff for Free
Who hasn’t seen the candy bar that’s just dangling by a small piece of wrapper in the vending machine and thought, “I can get the candy bar if I just knock the machine ever so slightly. . . ”
I’ve seen plenty of kids trying to get that candy for free. I’ve also seen kids sifting through the “Lost and Found” looking for useful but abandoned items. As long as no one else wants the stuff, I think it’s fair game for a kid to go for it.
A fun way to get the littlest of kids to save is to help them make a silly bank. Help them decorate an empty coffee can or jar with construction paper, pom-poms, and pipe cleaners.
Since they’ve spent the time making their own bank, they’ll be more likely put their hard-earned money in it.
Creative Savings Goals
While some kids are happy to save their money for practical reasons, other kids need a bit more encouragement.
Creative savings goals helps these kids dedicate themselves to stashing away their allowance. Visually tracking the goal, such as filling in a paper thermometer each time money is added, lets kids have fun while they watch their money add up.
Opening a savings account for older kids is often a good idea, as it teaches them the basics of compound interest.
But younger kids, under the age of nine or so, usually need their money to be a tangible thing. A pretend bank, run by mom or dad, is a great way to introduce a kid to the concept of savings accounts, without hiding their money away.
Each month, mom or dad can pay the kid interest on the amount he’s saved. If the kid wants to see his money, mom and dad can show it to him, so that he is sure that it’s still there.
What funny ways to save money have your kids come up with?
“10 Funny Ways Kids Save Money” was written by Kelly Anderson.