Guest Post: Teaching Kids About Money – Saving

Teaching Kids About Money – Saving

Even before kids get an allowance, money comes to them. The receptionist where we go for haircuts slips each boy a dollar, grandparents send a little money on a birthday, even pennies dropped on the street are cause for glee at our house. So is that money “theirs?” Can they really spend it on whatever they want? Not quite boys…

We want our kids to learn to earn, to spend and to save.

A few years ago my dad got each of the boys a piggy bank. There is possibly no one on earth more fiscally responsible than my father. He wants to spoil the boys (why else to have grandchildren, right?) but he wants to teach them as well. So these piggy banks have four slots each leading to separate compartment.

So how does it work? 10%-30%-30%-30% Last month my 9 year old earns $10, as he did recently when he cat-sat (not as fun as it sounds!) for our friends for a week. He walked the half mile to their house every other day, put food and water in the bowls, cleaned the litter and checked the floors for accidents.

With his hard-earned $10 bill in his fist, he came to me to change it for singles. One dollar into “Donate” to Heifer International, his favorite charity of all time. Three dollars each into spend, save and invest.

Spend. He can do with this money as he likes, as long as he doesn’t buy anything forbidden. In our case that means no gum, no sweets unless he asks, and all video games have to be pre-approved by the powers that be. If he blows it all quickly or gets something cheap that breaks immediately, those are great learning experiences.

Save. This money can’t be spent spur of the moment. The purchase has to have been planned and
thought about in advance. It’s like the cooling off period required before buying a weapon. We hope to encourage perseverance and thoughtful purchasing.

Invest. This goes into the real bank. Great math and conversations about interest rates!

Thanks to my Dad, our kids will not be shocked that they can’t just spend all the money they earn. And they know we can’t just spend all the money we earn either. It sure gives them good ideas about how to earn more!

Dr. G (Deborah Gilboa, MD) is a Board Certified family physician, mother of four, and a professional parenting writer and speaker (for parents, community & business). Her signature individualized workshop, “How to Get the Behavior You Want, Without Being the Parent You Hate” captivates parents through her humorous straight talk, which lifts the guilt out of parenting. Her mission is to help parents raise children they can respect and admire. Visit her website or drop her a question!


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  1. Great post! I think it’s important for kids to have enough money to be able to learn these lessons. $1 here or there isn’t enough to really save for anything important. For my 7 and 10 year olds I’ve decided $10 per month is enough that it’s not ridiculously huge (therefore allowing them to buy whatever they want), but it’s enough they can save for a toy or video game or buy fake nails for $7 and it’s blown (my 10yo is guilty of this). Whatever your dollar amount I definitely think teaching your kids about fiscal responsibility is crucial!

    • Dr. G says:

      The dollar amount is really less important than the predictability and teaching, that is for sure. When kids know that they have a certain amount of money coming in, and that is ALL, they start to learn the principals behind planning and budgeting. And it should cut down on some of the whining for stuff!

  2. Dr. G says:

    I’m so pleased to be here on Slop Swap! A big thank you to Dawn for having me!

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