Teaching kids the value of money is an important part of making sure they’re ready to go out into the world on their own. For younger kids, understanding that big purchases require saving up is one of the best lessons they can learn. An easy way to show them how saving works is to create a chart that tracks their progress toward a savings goal.
First, have your child pick the goal they’re saving up for – a toy, game, or other big-ticket item they really want but can’t afford with their regular weekly allowance. It’s best to choose something they’ll need to save up for over the course of several months, so they can see how discipline pays off over time.
Once they’ve chosen a goal, have them write or draw that goal at the far end of a large piece of poster board or craft paper.
Write the total price of the goal item underneath the drawing or label. Divide the remaining space on the craft paper into increments, and label them accordingly. (For $60 headphones, for example, use six ten-dollar increments.) Mark as many squares as you need in each of the sections for the number of dollars they’ll need to fill that section. (Ten squares in each section, using the headphones example.)
Whenever your child makes a deposit, have him or her put a 2 x 2 Post-it® Note in one of the squares in the appropriate section of the chart. When the chart is completely full, celebrate your child’s success with a trip to the store to make the purchase. The completed chart can also serve as a great visual aid to talk about how long it took to save up so much money and whether your child thinks the goal item was worth waiting for.
Using a budget chart like this lets your child see the value of saving over time, and teaches both patience and the real value of money.