Teaching your child to save up for an item is an important lifetime financial skill. Not only does it give them an amount of time it will take them to save, it also reinforces their purchasing decision and could save them lots of interest and finance charges down the road. They will learn to decide if it’s really worth the wait to purchase or maybe even decide not to purchase it at all after they see how long they would need to save and how hard they will need to work to get the money they need to save.
Helping your kids and teens learn to save can be a daunting task. You can begin by helping them learn to save their money as young as possible – you should start now! Choose items your child wants periodically and walk them through the following Financial Adventure How Long Will It Take To Save Activity. This activity works well with kids and teens and can be repeated often.
If your child wants the latest and greatest item, this activity will help them to see if it is indeed something they actually want to get, or if it will cost too much money and take too long to save for it. This is also a great way to help them establish priorities and how they want to spend the money they worked so hard to save.
For this activity, pick an item and then do some research on it. This is also a valuable lesson to teach your kids and teens. We don’t want them thinking they should spend their money on the first available item. They should do some research to see where the best place to purchase it would be and if there is a possibility of it going on sale. In this example, our child chose a new game which we researched and will cost $15.00 at the local store.
Next, decide how much your child is able to save each week from their allowance or by doing additional chores around the house or from their current job. For our example, we will assume that our child is able to save $2.00 per week for their purchase.
Now the fun begins. Have your child figure out how many weeks they will need to save up their money before they have the full amount to purchase the item. Since the cost of our game is $15.00 and they can save $2.00 each week, it will take them eight weeks before they have the full $15.00 to pay for the game. If you have an older child, you may want to start to introduce sales tax if it applies to your area and how that adds an additional amount to the total cost.
We designed a goal chart for you to use in your Financial Adventure How Long Will It Take To Save Activity. You can click here to use our goal chart.
Our child decided that it was worth waiting the eight weeks to save up enough money to purchase the game. What will your child decide on their activity? This activity works well for any item, it is also a good idea to work through a few different price points so kids and teens start to see just how long it would take to save for other items. This gets interesting as the amount of the item grows. Take for example how long it will take to save for a car when a teen is just getting their license. Have a conversation about why it is so important to start saving early and not waiting until the need arises to start saving.
Take some time and experiment with this activity by choosing different price points as well as different priorities. When doing this activity did you ever find that your child didn’t think the purchase was as important after seeing how long they would need to save and how hard they needed to work for the item?
Make sure to talk with your child about the additional costs that may be involved with their purchases such as sales tax and/or shipping. It is no fun when you think you have saved enough money only to find that there are additional costs they now have to save up for as well.
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