Savings 101: Good for Youth and Adults
April is traditionally “Youth Month” in credit unions. It is a time where we focus on teaching our leaders of tomorrow the importance of saving and offer tips to make saving easier. Most of us are kids at heart, so whether you are wanting to teach your children and teenagers how to save or you want to refresh your own skills, Credit Union of America has a set of tools you can use all year long.
Mark Your Buckets
One of the first lessons we offer is to talk to your children about the three buckets of savings. When they get an allowance, a birthday cash/check gift, or earn some money mowing lawns or doing chores, help them split the money in three ways.
- Establish an amount for short-term savings, money they will spend soon. For a child, this might be a treat at the ice cream truck, or some bubble gum, etc.
- Save for the long-term. Establish a goal: a new bike, toy, movie, game, or even a car. Something that will take some time to save for even if it’s for a down payment for a car loan.
- Save to share. Put some money aside to help others. Perhaps it’s a donation to the church offering, a charity, or buying a gift for a senior citizen or the homeless. Giving your child some options on where to share will get their buy-in, then let them make the final choice. Also, set a reasonable goal for them to attain. When they reach the goal, maybe it’s $5, then ask if they want to donate then or save for a larger gift. This bucket allows for discussions on what is needed in the community, at their school, and teaches empathy for others.
As children become tweenagers and teenagers, CUA has another tool. It too, is good for youth and adults. A program called It’s a Money Thing presents 2-3 minute videos featuring a young adult named Jen as she explores 41 different financial topics. There are also teacher plans and handouts in case you want to incorporate it into your stay-at-home schooling or summer activities.
Make it a Game
If your child needs a little more encouragement to save, why not try a bingo card. Templates can be found online, and you can personalize the squares. i.e. I saved to share, I saved for [short/long term goal], I earned money for chores, etc. In the center free square, title my name is [name of child]. When they bingo give them a small gift, play a game with them outside, or open a membership savings/share account for them. Having their own account (with parents as a co-owner) can be quite exciting and will encourage them to make deposits. The share account will help keep them from raiding their savings. It also teaches responsibility.
CUA also has savings tools specifically for adults. Check out our GreenPath resources. GreenPath has free online resources for making budgets, learning financial terms, preparing financially to buy a house, and more. Licensed GreenPath counselors can even review your budget with you, give you tips for balancing your budget, and in dire times, offer money management services. GreenPath is free to CUA members, with one exception, if you need help managing and paying your bills, there is a minimal fee for that assistance.
If you would like more information on Youth Month, access to a Money Game, or youth coloring page, follow CUA on Facebook and Twitter.