Credit Union News

Sharpening Savings Skills

How do we help our children become great athletes, great musicians, great dancers or great scholars? We help them practice and give them the tools they need to succeed. To become an expert at anything, you must have the appropriate resources, as well as the discipline and opportunity to use them correctly.

Saving money and becoming financially savvy doesn't happen overnight and our kids certainly aren't born with these skills. Like any other activity we want them to excel in, we have to give them the opportunity to practice and to learn.

So, how do we get our children into the savings game? Here are a few tips that may help you to help your kids, whatever their age, as they develop their financial skills.

Elementary school:
– Take your children to open their own Savings Account at any RBFCU branch (this actually works for kids of any age!) Teach them to use a check register to keep track of contributions earned through allowances or chores, and reward them when they reach specific savings levels.

–Encourage them to save for something special that they want. If they're looking forward to getting a new bike, book or toy, remind them by helping them to post a photo of their goal item on the refrigerator or in their bedroom, somewhere they'll see it every day and stay motivated and on the path to achieving their goals.

Middle school:
– Ask your middle schooler to plan a family outing. Give him or her a budget and a list of options within that budget, such as a water park, a movie or a trip to the zoo. Have your child make a list of all expenses that could be incurred with the outing, including tickets, souvenirs and snacks. Then, work with him or her to develop a reasonable budget for the event. Planning an activity in this way will help your child understand that money doesn't grow on trees and that you can't always give them everything they want.

– When your child asks for new clothes, movies and video games all in the same day, you may wonder how to handle their multiple requests. Instead, let them figure out how to thoughtfully select the things they most want. Have them prioritize their wants so they can choose which items they need and can begin to save their money accordingly.

High school:
– Depending on your circumstances and your child's other commitments, you may encourage him or her to take a part-time job and earn money. The money that they earn can help with expenses from paying for gas to saving for college.

– Consider opening a Really Free Checking account with a Freedom Check Card for your child. He or she can learn to manage money and reconcile an account. If you teach them early to use a card responsibly, you probably won't face as many credit card catastrophes when your students leave for college. And, anyone of any age can appreciate the extra money that comes with the Freedom Check Card's cash back program!

No matter the age, all of us can use some sharpening up of our money skills. So, while you try these suggestions with your children, consider using some of RBFCU's financial tools to keep your budget on track.