The payoff of savings

Parents can use fun techniques to teach kids the value of money

Almost every child looks forward to a family vacation. My three daughters, ages 12, 9 and 7, were no exception when my husband and I told them about our plans to go to Florida. The trip was still four months away, but we all-parents included-were excited.

A few days later, a jar labeled the "Florida Fund" was placed on the kitchen counter. The plan was for everyone to put in money and then pick out something fun to do together on our trip. The younger ones seemed to understand the goal, and I didn't even get the traditional pre-teen eye roll from my eldest.

I was surprised by how often the girls contributed, whether they added a few dollars of birthday money or pennies found under the bed. My husband and I also made a point to toss in change when the girls were around, so they could see us contribute.

In Florida, we voted and decided to spend the money on dinner. The girls felt a sense of pride paying the check and realized the value of saving money. Not bad for spare change.

Another jar will come out before our next trip; I think the girls would be disappointed if it didn't. If your family is planning a getaway, try something similar and see what happens.

A few suggestions:

Don't have the kids keep track of how much they're putting in the jar; this should be a team effort.

Make sure everyone contributes to some extent, even if they need a friendly reminder. Keeping the jar in the open helps, rather than always telling people to throw in money.

Make the process fun-it can add to the excitement of planning the trip.

Keep the kids involved in the entire process and don't stop after the money is collected. Take them to the bank and have them guess how much money is in the jar before it's counted.

Decide together what to with the money. This gives a big boost to the concept of teamwork.

Jenny Du Brock

Kids Eat Chicago

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