It’s easy to save money for the kids when there is lots of money to go around, but harder when the budget is tight. Here are a few easy things you can do now, even for your kids as young as babies, to help get them started on the right financial footing.
This post is sponsored by Regions Bank. All opinions are my own.
When my husband and I were engaged and read The Marriage Book together, one of the sections was on how we (and by extension the families we grew up in) related to money. Whether we took it seriously or spent it freely. It also gave us a good opportunity to talk about how we wanted to treat money within our home.
Luckily, both my husband and myself are savers. That is, when we have surplus to save. Money is no guarantee of happiness nor can we take it with us, but how you handle your money is a reflection of your character and values.
I’ve written before on leaving an inheritance for your children’s children, and we know it isn’t all about money. That said, it’s a parent’s privilege to serve their family and others by giving and helping.
Basically, no money equals no options.
My husband has been a perpetual student, so I’m not writing this from a gold-plated office chair. I’m writing this from the perspective of a woman who manages to run an extremely tight budget so we are able to put things where we believe they need to go.
Here’s how we are approaching money with respect to our children and their own financial futures.
Open a bank account now.
My children all get their own bank account when they’re born. It may only have $15 in it, but it’s a start. This was my mother’s idea, and already there is money growing in each account. Family members often gift money to the kids, and since they are still young we don’t waste it on candy. We save it.
By having a bank account you routinely monitor, you’re motivated to
See a financial advisor about college.
We spoke to an advisor recently about college, but haven’t decided our course of action. I read a post from a mother of 6 who said they are not aiming to save fully for each child’s college because they’d never retire. They are, instead, going to help them apply for scholarships or find other opportunities (like ROTC or National Guard) to help their children get through college.
Depending on when you start, your income, and how many children you have, find a realistic plan for how you’ll help your children get through college if they decide to go. And rest assured, some options refund your money if your child decides to pursue job outside the college career path. Also, your children can work, so don’t feel nervous if you know saving a huge amount is out of your budget.
Put away a little every month.
I haven’t done this in a year for budgeting reasons, but I used to put $30 in each of the children’s accounts on payday. It was a small amount, but added up before you knew it. Even if you can only do $5 or $10, use online banking to quickly transfer a small amount to the children’s accounts as a matter of discipline. As your income increases, so can your contributions. At this rate, their first car can be easily bought and paid for.
Think about an allowance/savings system for your kids.
I read this post by Sharla, and we decided we wanted to adopt a very similar system in our household. It goes like this, of all the money that comes in, 10% is tithed, 45% is saved, 45% is to be spent. By tithing 10% of all money, they learn to give. By saving 45% they’ll learn to save. By having 45% to spend, they’ll learn to manage money.
My oldest is still 4 so they aren’t used to receiving a lot of money for holidays or birthdays, but this is our plan now. The saved money will go into their accounts and help pay for things like a car, insurance, or investments. This means that even if they aren’t getting a ton of money throughout their childhood, they’ll still have some savings racked up.
Create opportunity for work, even at a young age.
I love talking to the kids about work. If we’re outside doing yard work, we’ll talk about its value. Why it’s good to get sore, sweaty, and satisfied by labor. When we do chores we’ll say the kids are helping mommy work. I want to foster an environment where work is not a dirty word, but a normal part of every day life.
When my children break something they should not have (on purpose, not by accident) I’ve made them “work” to pay it off. Once this was a huge pile of towels to be folded. Another time this was helping me work in the yard about an hour longer than they wanted. Now, my son was 3 at the time so “work” was just sort of standing around, picking up this and that, wishing he could go back inside. Work is a buzzword in our home.
Teach them about money.
Lastly, it’s so important to teach children about money. This teaching should include them learning lessons on their own. As a teacher teaches algebra, gives homework, and then a test, there should be a variety of ways we help them learn about money.
And not only money, but the value of money and hard work. Entitlement is a direct enemy of hard work because it causes kids to think things just come naturally without effort. This is simply not a reality.
Small steps become big steps over time. By being consistent we can set our children up for success.
Mobile Pay, An Option for Everyone
Regions Bank has worked hard to create convenient and easy modes of paying both online and in person. There are mobile apps, text apps, and online banking options that will enable you to shop quickly and easily without having to enter in all your information each time.
There is the Visa Checkout which allows you to enroll at visa.com and enter your information once online, then make purchases in the future at participating merchants without ever re-entering all your card information. This would come in handy for binge Christmas shopping. Visa Checkout works on your smartphone, tablet, desktop, or laptop. It works with both credit and debit cards and will allow you to stop conveniently online without having to have your wallet near you at all times.
There is also Apple Pay® and Android Pay™ which allow you to pay directly from your phone. Where there’s a tap to pay machine, you’ll simply use your phone to pay for your purchase. This is even more secure than giving them your credit card since your credit card information is not being passed along. This option is now accepted at over a million stores nationwide.
Additionally, if you find yourself needing to send money back and forth personally to others, you can use Regions Personal Pay®¹ so you don’t have to wait until the next time you see friends or family to pay in cash. I think this is super handy if you are in situations were you spot people often. Or if friends are shopping and see something they know you’d like, you can send the money to them right then and there so it’s as though you are buying it instead of them.
Check out Regions Bank for more information on their mobile pay and personal banking options.
1 Customer must be enrolled in Online Banking to use Personal Pay®. $1 fee to send each personal payment. Payment recipients must enroll in, or already be enrolled in, the Pop money® network to receive a payment. Pop money® is a registered trademark of Fiserv Inc.