7 Fun Money Management Activities that will Teach Children to Save Better Than You Ever Did

As our children grow, we must be intentional to teach them the skills they’ll need to be successful adults. One of the most important lessons they’ll learn (hopefully) is how to manage their money.

It’s never too early to start teaching your child to save, but it becomes even more necessary as they age.

Ages 7-10 are a great time to use money management activities to teach children to save and be smart with their money.

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Classic Ways to Teach Children to Save

There are plenty of classic ways to teach your children to save money. Here are a few of my favorites…

Teach Children to Save with a Piggy Bank

You can start early in life with a piggy bank, learning about the value of money/coins, and learning about transactions (i.e. If you want the toy we have to pay money to take it home). Teaching children about how money works lays the foundation for learning how to save later.

Teach Children to Save with an Allowance

Allowances, or earnings for extra household chores, are a great way for kids to earn money for themselves.

Just be careful. If you aren’t monitoring how your children spend the money they earn, then you are losing a great opportunity to teach about saving.

If you aren’t doing allowances, giving it a trial run can be a beneficial way to get a pulse point on your child’s mindset when it comes to money and spending.

Monitoring what your child spends on (i.e. junk food or books?) and how they spend (i.e. spending vs saving) is a great way to tailor the way you teach your child to save.

7 Money Management Activities That Teach Children to Save

As a parent, I have lots of ideas about how I’d like to teach my children to be smart with their money… lessons I learned later than I should have, and sometimes the hard way.

Pro tip: 18-year-olds and credit cards are a dangerous mix!

While I do utilize some of the classic ways to teach children to save, I wanted to find some new and fun ways to teach my kids about money management and saving through hands-on activities.

The following are 7 Fun Money Management Activities that will teach your children to save better than you ever did!

Teach Children to Save with Games

Games can be fun money management activities and are a great way to create a safe space for learning. Children can use play money to learn the consequences of money choices – good or bad.

There are a lot of games available designed to teach children to save in a fun and meaningful way.

A few of my favorite games that teach children to save include…

Monopoly: This is a classic game that teaches the basics of money management (if you have 4 days to kill and the patience of a saint!). While it doesn’t offer real rewards for saving, Monopoly does teach children the dire consequences of accruing massive debt or the benefits of being savvy with their money.

Dave Ramsey’s ACT Your Wage: If you’re a Dave Ramsey fan, you can use this game as a fun way of teaching his basic money management principles to your children. The aim of the game is to save, budget, use Ramsey’s snowball effect method to pay off debt, and be the first one debt free!

Charge Large: I like that this game teaches about the appropriate and responsible use of credit cards – that credit cards do not equate free money. Encouraging our kids to pay cash for everything is not always the smartest way to teach them about money management as they will eventually need to take out a loan or use a credit card. This game helps to teach children that it’s how you use credit that matters. The aim of this game is to use credit cards wisely, ending the game with savings and no debt.

Teach Children to Save with Saving Incentives

Another fun money management activity to teach your child to save are saving incentives. Think 401K with a twist!

Savings incentives give your child a time line and a goal amount to save. If they save X amount by the deadline, they get a reward.

Savings incentives could include:

  • mom/dad match the savings
  • a trip to the movies
  • a special outing

Find an incentive that will motivate your child, and watch as they work to save money and meet their goal!

Teach Children to Save with a Shopping Trip

Errands like grocery shopping can be really boring for kids (and equally as awful for adults, amiright?), but they can be valuable opportunities to teach your child about saving and money management.

Use a shopping trip to engage kids and get them thinking about money management. For example, have your child help you look for the best deal or find the right product for use with a specific coupon to help your family save money on your shopping bill.

These are valuable and practical lessons they will use later in life and help to reinforce the principles behind saving.

Teach Children to Save with Comparisons

Along the lines of teaching how to save money while shopping, comparisons are a great way to teach kids about value versus cost.

Have your children compare prices on similar items at the store, and discuss value versus cost with them.

For example, why do they think X shirt is more expensive than Y shirt? Is it worth the extra cost? Why or why not?

Another great way to teach this principle is to use it during your grocery shopping experience. Basic household items can vary in price when you consider generic versus name brands. As adults we’ve often pin pointed which products are worth the extra and which aren’t.

For example, in my house, I am okay with generic paper towel but NOT generic toilet paper (ouch!).

Why not give your kids the opportunity to learn about quality versus cost in this way? Have them compare some household products by trying the generic first and the name brand next. Have them note the cost difference and the actual difference in use. Do they see a difference?

Having kids learn this valuable lesson about money management is a great way to prepare them to be financially savvy in the future.

Teach Children to Save with Money Allocation

If your child has a means to earn cash (like getting an allowance or doing odd jobs), money allocation is a great way to teach them how to manage their money and save some of it.

Give your child three containers/jars/enveloped to decorate however they wish. Label them with each of the following categories:

  • saving
  • spending
  • charity

Use the time to have fun and make the container/jar their own, while explaining the use of each jar. Discuss with your child a fair percentage or set amount that goes into each jar as they earn.

As they begin to allocate their money into each container, they’ll enjoy watching the saving jar stack up. You may even find they start putting more in that jar (parenting goals!).

This saving system teaches children how to save and mange their money in a real way that prepares them for budgeting down the road.

Teach Children to Save with a Yard Sale

If you’re like many families, you probably have junk you don’t use lying around the house. Turning that junk into cash is a great way to bring in some quick cash.

Children can participate in yard sales, too!

From selling their own belongings, to hosting a bake sale, to helping mom and dad prepare for and execute the sale, there are many money management principles children can learn at a yard sale.

Yard sale preparation is a great opportunity to discuss value, costs, and depreciation. These are all concepts they will need to understand fully in adulthood to be successful in finance management.

Depending on the age of the child, with supervision, you can have them assist in the execution of the sales. Have them observe the negotiation that is common in sale situations like yard sales. Also, learning to take payments and make change is in invaluable life skill that can be put to use in a yard sale.

Once the sale is over, help your child to allocate the funds he or she has earned during the sale, using the three container principle above.

Having your child help in the preparation and execution of a yard sale is a great way to teach your child about saving, money management, and cash transactions.

Teach Children to Save with Financial Transparency

While this one might not sound as fun, being financially transparent with your child is a fantastic way to teach your child about saving, money management, and real life financial responsibilities.

Being transparent with your own finances can include showing your child:

  • a pay check stub
  • bills
  • bank account information
  • how to use an ATM

These are all things as adults that we see and manage on a regular basis and are foreign concepts and ideas to our children.

Reading a pay stub teaches them about taxes, withholdings, and net versus gross earnings.

Looking at bills helps them be mindful of what it costs to run a home. It familiarizes them with how to read a bill and make sure the charges are accurate before sending a check or paying online without thought.

Reading a bank statement can help children to understand how each transaction affects your total balance. It’s important for them to understand that there has to be a balance in order to spend money.

Learning how to use an ATM involves learning that they aren’t magic. The amount you pull out directly decreases the amount you have saved. (It isn’t a free money machine like I thought as a child!).

These are all real-life situations we can use to teach our kids to save, manage their money and be financially savvy, long before they have to put the skills to use as adults!

Teaching Children to Save Can Be Fun

Saving and finances don’t always seem synonymous with fun, but with a little forethought they can be.

Each of the 7 money management activities described above are designed to teach your children about financial savvy and saving. With properly timed questions and activities like challenges, saving incentives, and craft time, you can make each day a learning experience that’s fun for all!

What money management activities are you using to teach your children to save? Leave a comment below!

About Eric and Tiffany Matthews

We're Eric and Tiffany, the parents behind Cynical Parent. We're just normal parents who are navigating parenthood with both eyes wide open (probably because there's a kid yelling nearby). And of course, we're pretty cynical. Don't believe everything you read or hear, whether it's on the internet, or from a close family or friend (or even from us!). Every child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Sometimes you just need to try and see for yourself. :)

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