We’ve finished our holiday shopping and if you’re like me, you may have spent a little more than you originally planned. So often, we get into the frenzy of wanting everything to be perfect for our families and, before we know it, January rolls around bringing the tell-tale credit card and bank statements. After a season of gift-giving (and if I’m honest about my indulgence), now would be a great time to shift my focus on saving. The best part about it is that you can incorporate the kids and turn this into a weekly lesson on budgeting with a money saving challenge. (Hello, easy New Year’s Resolution!) Honestly, I can remember some of those early lessons I learned as a kid, and it stayed with me for the rest of my life. So for my littles, I want to foster an understanding about savings now, rather than later.
The average allowance an American child now receives is about $780 per year, or $65 per month, according to a recent study by the American Institute of CPAs.
How the Money Saving Challenge Works
Have you heard of the 52-week money saving challenge? Many of us have seen one version or another floating around social media, but most of us haven’t actually done it. This year, I’m changing that. Not only is it a great opportunity to teach my children about the importance of saving, but the money we save can go directly towards our holiday spending at the end of this year. It’s a win-win situation!
In case you aren’t familiar or need a refresher, the 52-week money saving challenge works like this — for every week of the year, you will add that corresponding amount of money to savings. So, if it’s week one, you will add $1, if it’s week 12, you will add $12, and if it’s week 50, you will add $50. Every week builds upon itself and, at the end of the year, you’ll have a whopping $1,378!
Ways to Make It Easy and Fun
Many people find it convenient to set up automatic transfers to a savings account through their bank or certain apps, but when you’re doing this with kids, it might be best to do this the old-fashioned way. Use a transparent container so that, every week, you will all have that visual reminder of how much your efforts are beginning to pay off. There’s something so gratifying about being able to actually see how much money you are saving!
To keep track of everything, create and/or print out a chart and use it as a teaching tool with your kids. Show them how much money is being added and how that affects the overall balance of the savings. Involve them by allowing them to add money to the container, even if it means breaking up a dollar into quarters. By participating themselves, they’ll be even more invested in the lesson!
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Engaging the Kids In Financial Learning
As the year goes on and the savings grow, talk about how they want to use the money. Do they want to keep saving for something big or do they want to use it for Christmas shopping? This can lead to great discussions on budgeting and allocating resources. Older kids and teens may be especially surprised by how much work it takes to save money and how quickly it can disappear. This really is a great activity that will keep you, and your kids, engaged all year long.
I’m really excited about the year ahead and I’m looking forward to seeing our little savings jar grow over the next 52 weeks! It’s a great reminder that, as a mom, by setting aside just a few minutes every week I can teach my children lessons that can last a lifetime. That’s the bigger message here, isn’t it? Investing a little bit at a time can really pay off in the long run. Okay, I’m feeling inspired, and I’ve got a million ideas for making my jar fashionable fabulous!
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The U.S. Treasury says that Americans hold about $15 billion in loose change.