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Start teaching financial skills as early as three. Below are a few tips to help kids save:
- Have young children—preschool age—sort different types of money into piles by color and size.
- Play grocery store or credit union/bank. Help them use a pretend cash register.
- At the grocery store, let youth of all ages help you shop. Teach them how to comparison shop. For example, show them that for every $4.85 box of cereal, there may be similar brands on sale for half as much.
- As youngsters get older, let them know what things cost. Share sales receipts for items you’ve purchased for them and for bills you’ve paid.
- If you decide to pay an allowance, include youth in the decision-making process. Discuss allowance amounts and expectations. The amount is your call, but ask for their input. One idea is to have children set aside part of their allowance for spending, part for saving, and part for sharing or charity. Clarify what you'll pay for and what they are responsible for. For example, when you're at the movies, maybe you agree to pay for the ticket, but the Milk Duds are on them.
- As youngsters reach high-school age, reexamine the rules. Clarify what you will pay for and what your teenager is responsible for. For example, your teenager may want the newest cell phone that comes with a high price tag, so establish your spending limit. If she still wants the more expensive version, have her make up the difference. Oftentimes, once the responsibility of paying for items is on the teenager, the "latest and greatest" isn’t so important.