Teaching Kids to Save Money When Your Savings Sucks

I've been wondering how can I teach kids save money when my own savings account sucks? Teaching kids to save money is definitely doable based off of exactly where you are in your finances, right now. #kids #parenting #kidsandmoney #kidssavemoney #children #ideas #jars | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/teaching-kids-to-save-money-when-your-savings-sucks/

Are you hesitant in teaching kids to save money because your own savings account kinda sucks? Don’t worry. You’ve got this, Mama Bear.

Do you feel less than confidence about teaching kids to save money because your own savings account, well, sucks?

You’re not alone. The Personal Savings Rate in America hovers generally around 5%, which means that most Mama Bears don’t have any savings at all.

But how are you supposed to teach your child to save money in a “do as I say, not as I do” kind of way?

Hi, I’m Amanda L. Grossman from MoneyProdigy.com where I teach kids aged 8-13 how to save money through educational adventures, like the Mt. Everest Money Simulation.

Kids save money — it doesn't have to be a pipe dream. And I’ve got 3 strategies to help you teach your own kids to save money despite the $500, $0, or even negative savings account balance you may have. So, you can check your money hang-ups at the door. Seriously.

Strategy #1: Put them in control of some money.

Here’s the thing: research shows that children who grow up money-smart didn’t get that way because their parents are amazing with their own money. The number one reason why they got that way is by being allowed to manage their own money, make mistakes, and then learn from those mistakes.

This means that even moreso than the next two strategies, your number one way to ensure a money-smart kid is to actually give them money to handle.

Pssst: But that's not actually entirely enough. You need a full-blown Kid Money System. Don't fret, I've got a 48-hour Kid Money System Makeover Challenge you can join for free. Get yourself a system, stat!

Strategy #2: Fake it ‘Til You Make It

It turns out that modeling good financial habits is really important. In a T. Rowe Price’s 2017 Parents, Kids, and Money Survey, they found that parents who are more money-savvy (which is measured by them having 3 different kinds of savings – retirement, emergency fund, college, savings for a goal, etc.) have kids who are 12% less likely to spend their money as soon as they get it, and 9% less likely to lie to their parents about what they spent their money on.

Look – you’re likely not saving the amount of money you’d like to each week, month, or even year.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t model good financial habits for your kiddos to pick up on.

Here are some ways to fake it ‘til you make it, or rather model good savings behavior even when you’re not where you want to be:

  1. Make Physical Cash Deposits: Even if it’s just $10 – because honestly, your kid doesn’t have to see how much you are depositing into your savings account, just that you ARE depositing money into your savings account.
  2. Set Up a Change Jar with a Specific Goal: Maybe change jars aren’t exactly your thing. But they’re a great visual to share in your savings process. So, set up a savings jar and write what you want to buy with the money on the outside. Empty your wallet into the change jar on a consistent basis. Don’t be surprised if your kiddo starts their own!
  3. Set Up a Household Skim-off-the-Top Rule: Decide today that 10% or 5% or 50% of all extra, non-paycheck money that comes into your household will be put into savings. And then actually do it, in front of your child.

Strategy #3: Mine those Money-Story Gems

You’ve had money experiences – both successes and failures – you’ve been in the banking industry for some time now, you know how this money thing works.

Maybe you don’t exactly get investing. Maybe you’re not even contributing towards a retirement account at the moment.

But your money past is ripe with stories and dialogues and teachable moments to have with your child that will change the course of their own future. So, use them!

Follow these strategies, my dear, and not only will you raise a money-smart kid, but your own savings account will probably grow!

Let’s Play Fortune-Teller and Predict Your Child’s Money Future

Worried about your kid's money future? I've got 3 questions that, when answered honestly, can help predict it. Plus grab your free printable with 20 ideas for how to strengthen these money management skills where your kid needs it. #freekidprintables #freekidprintablesactivities #freeprintable #kidsandmoney | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/fortune-teller-money-management-skills/

I've got 3 questions around money management skills for you that, when answered honestly, can help predict your child's money future.

Do you remember fortune tellers (or Cootie Catchers)? As a kid, we used to use these to predict who our future husband would be, or how many kids we would have. It was a fun, silly game.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could use one of these to predict what your child’s money future looks like?

Hi, I’m Amanda L. Grossman, and I partner with parents to teach kids aged 8-13 the money management skills they need to step into an abundant future over at MoneyProdigy.com.

Today I want to share with you 3 key questions that, if answered honestly, can give you a semi-accurate prediction of not what your child’s future looks like, but what it COULD look like.

How do I know? Because each of these things we’re going to discuss below you and I as adults need to do weekly, monthly, and sometimes, even daily. In fact, our OWN bank accounts are a reflection of our abilities to do them.

Because let’s face it – you’ve got time to work on these.

Fortune-Teller Question #1: Can Your Kiddo Delay Gratification?

As adults, we have to delay gratification all. the. time.

For days. For weeks. For months. For even years.

Your child is likely not on the “years” end – heck, they’ve only been AROUND for a few of them. But they should be working on waiting to give into all their impulses for a day or a week.

It’s a good start to solid kids and money management skills!

Fortune-Teller Question #2: Can Your Child See Something Through?

I call myself a serial completer because I have this innate desire to complete anything I start (which, btw, is both good AND bad). But did I start out that way? No.

It starts out with goal experimentation. Get your kiddo interested or at least curious in the process, let them start a small goal (you can get your 1-page goal-setting exercise sheet here), and then allow them to go through the trial-error-recovery cycle. They’ll tweak and adjust as they go and their goals will expand over time.

Fortune Teller Question #3: Can They Creatively Solve a Problem?

Unless you’re one of the 1%-ers who has enough money to pay their way out of any and all situations…you have to come up with creative money solutions all the time. I know I do!

Can your child creatively solve a problem – meaning look at a few different angles, and come up with more than one way to solve it (that doesn’t include not doing it at all)?


Don’t use these questions to beat yourself up about what your kid has or has not been exposed to. Use them to re-direct your efforts to teaching your kid the money management skills that are going to MATTER to them in their adult lives.

Be sure to grab your cheat sheet filled with bite-sized ideas to work on each of these 3 areas below:

Your Kid’s Not Saving Money. But Do You Know Why?

Soooo...you've tried everything, and your money convos with your kiddo has turned into a big nag-fest. Well, I'm here to help! There are 9 reasons why your kiddo might not be saving money, and I've given you steps to take to help each one alone. #teachkidsmoneymanagement #financialliteracy #kidsandmoney | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/teaching-kids-to-save-money/

So, you're teaching kids to save money…and it's just not happening. But do you know why, exactly? Because figuring that out can show you the specific thing(s) to work on to move them forward.

Sooooo, your kid’s not saving money. In fact, they’re spending it faster than bubble gum companies can restock the checkout shelf (or at least it feels like that).

And you’re starting to wonder if this handing-over-money-to-your-child thing is just another way your hard-earned money has found a reason to exit your OWN savings.

I mean, how the heck are you supposed to teach kids money management or how to teach your child the value of money when they see it as a free-for-all?

Hi, I’m Amanda L. Grossman from MoneyProdigy.com where I’m teaching kids aged 8-13 how to save money through educational adventures like the Mt. Everest Money Simulation.

Today I’d like to talk to you about how to dig deeper into the age-old problem of a kid who spends their money.

ALL of their money.

I’m going to give you a rundown of 9 different reasons for why your kid might not be saving their money, so that you can do some digging and get to the bottom of the behavior.

After all, every kid is different, right? Awareness first, then you can redirect the ship!

Reason #1: They Don’t Have a Savings Goal.

The best, smallest action step you can take to get your children to care about saving money (or money in general) is by asking them to set a savings goal.

You can talk them through the entire goal setting for kids process here, but in a nutshell:

  • Ask them what they would like to be/do/have outside of what you guys provide for them.
  • Walk them through prioritizing all their funny, lovely ideas down to just the ONE that makes sense for right now (hint: that’s usually the quickest win, as kids are not at the stage where they can happily live out pleasure sacrifices for long).
  • Ask them if they know how they can be/do/have that.
  • Help them research and price the cost of their savings goal.
  • Help them come up with a savings plan for how to actually get there.

Bonus: have them write their savings goal down. According to this study, 68% of kids with a written down savings goal track their spending. And tracking your spending? That’s just a hop + skip away from saving enough money to get what they want.

Reason #2: They Don’t Believe It’ll Ever Happen.

Do you know how hard it is to believe that something you’ve never seen successfully occur, will actually work out? If your child has never seen the other end of a savings goal, then they may not believe – especially come week 3 of setting aside money they could be using to buy more Pokémon cards – that it will ever actually happen.

This is why it’s so important, at this stage in the game, to help them prioritize the savings goal that is the quickest win. Today, choose a savings goal that will take them 2 weeks or two-allowance/chore commission cycles to accomplish.

And next year? They’ll be more able to tackle one that’s a few months out.

Reason #3: There Aren’t Clear Money Expectations Lined Up.

If your child thinks you might end up buying them what they want to be/do/have, then there’s no real reason for them to start saving money towards it, right?

Once you learn what your child would like, you need to set up clear expectations for them with who is going to pay for it. Are you going to pay for part of it? Or is the whole responsibility theirs? Can they ask for it at a holiday/birthday occasion?

In the future, you can help clarify things by categorizing what is their responsibility versus what is yours, such as your teenager taking over all responsibility to pay for their weekend hangout with friends, or your 8-year old taking over responsibility to pay for any candy they happen to put in the cart at the grocery store.

Reason #4: They Haven’t Witnessed Good Saving Behavior.  

Don’t beat yourself up for this one – I sure as heck am not. But it IS a reason for why your child may not be saving their own money. Have they witnessed good savings behavior from you or your spouse? Do they know what saving money is?

This would be a great time to open up the savings conversation and show your kids what you guys are saving for, the sacrifices you’ve made, and how great it is when you actually get what you want. Teaching children to save money doesn't have to be hard when you can model it yourself.

Reason #5: They Don’t Earn Enough Money Beyond Paying for Responsibilities.

Have you laid out money responsibilities for your child to pay for…that very closely exactly aligns with how much money you’re giving them? If that’s the case, then they certainly won’t be able to stockpile any (though you could challenge them to become creative in how they buy what they need, such as use a coupon, or buy in bulk and dole it out in the same amount they would have used anyway, etc.).

What would happen if you increased the amount of money that you gave them, or took away one money responsibility that they need to pay with it? Who knows – but teaching your child to save money might be on the other side of that.

Reason #6: They Have a Weak Instant Gratification Muscle.

Hint: Most kids have this one. Especially if you're teaching preschoolers about money. 

It turns out many of us aren’t born with the strong ability to look instant gratification in the face and turn a cheek.

But you know what? You can actually stretch and grow your kiddo’s instant gratification muscle. Check out my post all about how your child can learn to grow their instant gratification muscle.

Reason #7: They Have No Incentive to Do So.

If we’re going to be honest with ourselves, then most of us can say we need an incentive to actually do something.

Does your child have any sort of incentive to save their money? Incentives could be:

  • Matching contribution from you guys.
  • Interest earned in their savings account.
  • Having had success meeting a savings goal before and getting to buy that sweet thing they wanted to do/be/have.

Hint: this is why the fed raises/lowers interest rates. They want to bait us all to either spend more money/take out more loans, or to stop spending so much money/save more of it.

Lots more about this in my freebie: 57 Action Steps to Get Your Kiddo to Save Money Money Today.

Reason #8: They Don’t Have a Physical Space to Save their Money.

Does your child have a physical separation between money they’re going to save, and money they’re going to spend?

This could look like:

  • A mason jar for savings.
  • A compartmentalized piggy bank.
  • A wallet with one slot to spend, the other to not spend today (though this is very short-term if it’s as accessible as reaching into a different slot).
  • A savings account.

Reason #9: They Don’t Understand the Value of the Money They’ve been Given or Earned.

Your kiddo might not actually get the awesomeness of the money they’re given or that they've earned. Because they might not understand that a little bit of money, set aside for a period of time, adds up to a lot of money.

Like today, they might look at their allowance as candy money. But you need them to see that, given time to accumulate from week to week, it’s actually skateboard money, or video game money, or rock-climbing camp money.

Pssst: Check out this article on how to get them to understand the value of their money

Oh, the power they have in their hands! If they can only realize that it just takes time and some restraint.

There you go. Now you want to assess where your own child is getting hung up on – or the MULTIPLE places they’re getting hung up (more likely) – so that you can work on getting rid of those specific road blocks to saving money.

Take Your Child to Work Day Playbook for WAHMs

THIS National Take Your Child to Work day? Give your child a lesson in entrepreneurship (really great for Mamas with their own small biz).

** Psssst: you can create a take your child to work day any day of the year!

Ladies, you are killin’ it out there.

Mothering, building your business, RUNNING your business, and stylishly wearing the bazillion other hats that keeps you + your family’s lives running on a daily basis (master diaper-changer, anyone?).

I would know, because I’m right there with you.

But guess what? This new path all of us Mama Bear biz-owners are forging ahead on? Didn’t exist even 10 years ago.

It’s brand spankin’ new.

That’s scary AND exciting.

And even moreso than that? It means we have an obligation that perhaps we haven’t even gotten a breath to think about yet.

We need to pass on these skills, these businesses, these opportunities to our own kids — there's no age limit.

Even more importantly, to our own daughters.

The next generation of female entrepreneurs, if you will.

As the tides continue to shift with females becoming the breadwinners, we’ve GOT to let our daughters know that they don’t have to choose between a satisfying career OR becoming a mother when their heart is set on it.

And when they do choose to become a mother, they don’t have to choose between staying home with their child, OR pursuing their career/putting their child into daycare.

There is an in-between, and it’s called being a work-at-home-Mom (WAHM).

Guys, this is more important than ever. Because while you’re blazing the trail, we need the next generation to whack it out of the park further than we ever thought this thing could go.

What is the Purpose of Take Your Child to Work Day?

The skills used in entrepreneurship are COMPLETELY different from school-learned skills.

Wellllll…not 100%…but a good bit different. I mean who remembers taking CYA-Biz Legal 101, or a beginner’s course in how to take one piece of content from your blog and repurpose it for Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIN, fill-in-the-blank with whatever new social media platform is trending?

I sure as heck don’t.

I had the pleasure of connecting with the CEO of Clever Tykes, a small biz that sells a line of entrepreneur books for kids, over our shared passion of helping kids.

And she sums it up really nice in her TEDx talk about Raising Useful People.

The gist is, our kids are completely not learning what it takes to run a business in their classes at school.

Not even close.

Things like social media managing, copywriting, business bookkeeping 101…these courses don’t exist.

Think of all the things you’ve had to just drudge through and learn from the ground up because you’d never even heard of it before.

A couple come to mind for me:

  • Copywriting (like, this is different from writing? I had no idea)
  • Text overlays in graphic design
  • Business systems + organization
  • Hiring virtual assistants + task delegation
  • Innovation + content creation

I could go on…

So, you can see how vital it is to bring your child in on your small business (and creating a Take Your Child to Work Day is a great start!).

Imagine Giving Your Daughter a Leg-Up in Understanding Small Business

Step #1 to giving your daughter a bit of a leg-up, the one you did not have?

Is giving her exposure.

So, THIS Take Your Child to Work Day/ Bring your child to work day?

I want you to take your daughter + son to YOUR work day. At home (or your rented office, wherever you play).

And I’m going to help you out with this by giving you lots of ideas, questions, and activities to take you out of the role of “Mama Bear” for the day and into the role of successful biz owner passing down her hard-won knowledge.

Because right now? Your child is probably getting a very different picture of what working from home means, and what owning a small biz is really like.

Perhaps she/he thinks:

  • Owning a small business is frazzling.
  • Working from home – sometimes in PJ bottoms – is what every mother does.
  • Phone/laptop is something that you play with.
  • “Laptop time takes Mommy away from me, and I don’t like that.”

And…can you really blame her? She views you as Mommy. The getter of snacks. The matcher of socks. The cleaner of unknown stains. The one who hugs the boo-boos away.

How can she possibly know that you’re really forging a whole new pathway that one day, she can choose to take herself?

Bring Your Child to Work Day Activities

If you haven’t gotten your free download yet to structure your bring your kid to work day, I really recommend that you do. Because this is filled with what you need to bridge the gap for your daughter to understand what small biz + your world is really all about.

Here’s a rundown of what you guys will do together, and why:

  • Mother Prep Work: You’re going to do a few mental jumping jacks before the day arrives so that you have some structure to pass onto your child, plus you can more readily answer her questions. Such as, creating a simple visual of your business model, writing out your mission statement (even if today is the first time you’ve ever done this), and brainstorming several mistakes you’ve made along the way. You’ll also create a schedule of events, as if your daughter was going into a corporation’s Take Your Daughter to Work Day, from the idea list provided.
  • Child Prep Work: Your child also has some prep work to do before the big day! There are 3 different activities, and they get to choose one to tackle (extra credit here is fine).
  • Schedule of Activities + Chat Topics: Mama BOSS, you’re in charge of creating a schedule of events, just like if your child was going to a traditional company’s Take Your Son to Work Day. Don’t worry – I’ve got a juicy list of both activities + chat topics to choose from.

And to give your child a quick, crash course in business before the big day? Have them check out this video on business models (9:42). It’s well worth their time (heck, I wish I had watched it before opening up my own business 9 years ago!).

If your daughter or son finishes up even half this stuff in this free printable? They’ll be about 18 years ahead of where I was when I decided to start a business!

One final thought for take your child to work day (other than making sure it's an excused absence at their school and providing a letter from employer — that's you!): Please think about inviting children other than your own to your big day. This is how I got to experience take your kid to work day at NBC in Washington D.C. with my Aunt. And for this farm-girl-turned-city-woman? That was revolutionary.

I'm SO excited – I’m a work at home Mom, and can't wait to "take my daughter to work day" to my OWN business! This woman is genius – she has a free printable for how to create your own career exploration activities for your kids…using your small business! Start educating my daughter, who may just take over my business one day. Mom daughter activities | mother son ideas #smallbusiness #smallbusinessowner #WAHM

Teaching Kids about Money? Focus on the 3 Most Important Lessons.

Overwhelmed with how to teach kids about money? WHEW. You're in luck -- check out these 3 most important lessons and plan everything around them. #kidsandmoneyteaching #kidsandmoney | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/teaching-kids-about-money-3-important-lessons/

Teaching kids about money can be daunting. There's just so many things to learn! Let me show you the 3 most important lessons or “money seeds” you can plant in your child + student to know that you've covered your major bases.

Do you ever notice how your child can get introduced to a new thought, and they suddenly become obsessed over it? You can almost see their minds working as they think, think, and think around it. Well, the same thing happens when you teach children about money concepts!

Hi, I’m Amanda L. Grossman from MoneyProdigy.com where I partner with parents like YOU to teach your 8-13 year old about money.

And today? I want to give you some money seeds to plant into your child’s brain so that they can start getting excited about these age-old money concepts that will help them over and over again throughout their life.

Psst: Don't feel “qualified” to be teaching kids about money? Here's 3 reasons why you are.

Money Seed #1: Do not spend more than you earn.

Do this: Spend less than you earn.
Not that: Spend more than you earn.

Here's some students +  kids and money teaching: You could have a million-dollar-a-year salary, and if you spend $1,000,001, then you’re broke. You don’t have to take my word for it; there are many high-profile people who haven’t caught onto this timeless lesson and have less money than you do (Nicholas Cage, MC Hammer, Mike Tyson…the list plays on like National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation in December).

There are inputs (income), and outputs (spending) in personal finance. If your inputs are smaller than your outputs, or your outputs are bigger than your inputs, then you’ve got a problem.

Outputs less than your inputs? You’re automatically accumulating money.

Bonus: does your kiddo go on a spending spree as soon as they get a little of the green stuff in their hands? Check out my 57 Action Steps to get Your Kiddo to Save More Money Today

Money Seed #2: Money can grow.

Do this: put your money into a location where it can grow its own money, either in a bank, or by investing it.
Not that: don’t put your emergency fund or any money you can’t afford to lose, in an investment.

Working at a 9-5 job is not the ONLY way to earn money. Yeah…let that sink in for a minute! You need to let your kids know that there are ways to take their money that they already have, and make it grow.

Of course, these range from completely risk-free (an FDIC-insured savings account) to very risky (investing in penny stocks).

But just plant the seed that their money can grow and give them more money, whether they contribute more to it or not.

Bonus:  Here's a fun money growth experiment you can do with your kiddo to help plant this seed. 

Money Seed #3: Everything Else is Figure-outable.

Do this: always be open to learning about money + to ask for help.
Not that: keep your money problems to yourself and never ask anyone.

You don’t need to know everything about money when you leave the house. No one ever does. People are still learning about money – like me – throughout their entire lives. You just need to be resourceful enough to figure out how to find the answers to the questions you have, and what’s a priority for you to learn.

See how clear the path can be when teaching kids about money? These are totally do-able money lessons you are very capable of passing onto your child. They’ve stood the test of time, and their truth rings true through everyone’s wallets and bank accounts.