Kids want everything. They want what their friends have, what their cousins have, and whatever they see around them. It's only natural to want, want, want...and it takes time, energy, and patience to teach children to be happy with what they have and be content with what they have....same thing, but you know what I mean. In the meantime, you can teach your children about saving. Here's how my aunt and uncle did it and I'm doing it right now. So far, so good.
My daughter really, really, really wants a doll. Personally, I'd rather buy her a microscope or telescope. Of course, she has babies and stuffed animals and all sorts of other "dolls." But there's one particular doll that she just has to have. Well, one day I told her that she could save up her money for this doll. Actually, she wanted a hair cut, and then a pedicure, and then a pair of shoes...and I kept telling her that she could have those things with the money in her wallet or she could save up for the doll that she really wants.
Guess what? She decided she would rather save her money. this was the perfect opportunity for me to teach her about earning and saving. I told her that she could earn a dollar for every book that she read (she's four, so we read the books together). I figured that counting out dollar bills would be easier than coins, and I wanted to give her a chance. She needed something obtainable, so that she would see that earning and saving is possible! I also didn't want to pick an amount or goal that was too easy and would make me have to get another job.
We also found a great website where kids can input their money goals and watch their money grow. The website is www.threejars.com and it teaches kids about saving, spending, and sharing. It's geared towards older kids (8 and up), but it's great for parents, too.
So, in a nutshell: When your child expresses an interest in something, have the save up for it. Use one dollar bills to make things easier (or $5), and have them make money doing something that is fun and good for them. As a kid, we were paid a nickel for every lap that we did. It didn't add up to much, but it was fun. I think my parents got more out of it, as we were exhausted after swimming laps in the pool and probably went straight to bed.
Tell us how you get your kids to save. We'd love to hear your stories.