September is a weird month. Originally the seventh month (hence, septem or “seven” if you don’t speak Latin) in the Roman calendar, it seems that September occupies a strange place in relation to the calendar months that surround it. August adjacent and just outside October, September bears the responsibility of transitioning the Northern Hemisphere from Summer to Fall. This transition heralds, not just a change in the meteorological seasons, but a change of fortune for school aged children as they shift from sun-soaked freedom to the captivity of curriculum and classrooms.
It would be a bit of an understatement to say that the back-to-school season can be a complicated and emotional time for young students. While some chirpy youngsters embrace the myriad of unknown challenges (both personal and academic), other’s have a harder time adjusting to the concept:
Of course, the back-to-school season can also be an emotional time for parents as little one’s board the bus for their first bout of book learning! Education can be a scary thing for both parent and child! As a parent, you want to make sure that your children are getting the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in school, and in life. While you can’t guarantee your kid will graduate to be the next Elon Musk, you can help teach them one of the most important life skills of all: How to be a Super Saver.
“Do as I Say, Not as I Do”
Let’s be honest, if you’ve got the saving skills of someone with holes in their pockets it’s hard to set a great example for how to be a Super Saver. Perhaps this can be the motivation you need to start seeking the help of friends and family who can teach you how to budget, spend, and save. The best part of this option is you can hone your saving skills while you teach your kids about saving! Make this a joint effort by teaching them the value of budgeting and saving, all the while practising it yourself!
The “A” Word
Yes, an allowance. An allowance can be a great opportunity to teach young children about basic financial literacy. Use this option wisely and set your kids up for future success. There are a few different approaches to doling out allowances. Ron Lieber, a personal finance writer for The New York Times, outlines 3 basic approaches parents can take. Whichever method you choose to use, there seems to be lots of documented benefits for teaching your child about money management using an allowance system. Remember, as in all things in life, communication is key! Talk with your children about their allowance. Help and encourage them to save, but don’t forget to teach them how to spend as well. A huge part of being a Super Saver is understanding the difference between spending and wasteful spending.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Understanding money is the first step to being a Super Saver. Unfortunately, many young people today don’t have a clue when it comes to managing finances. Start teaching your kids about money at a young age. When you’re sitting at the kitchen table getting ready to pay your monthly bills, invite your child to be a part of the process. Let them help you out with simple things like organizing receipts to help them understand the type of organizational skills that taking care of finances requires. As they get older, encourage them to understand the importance of paying bills on time. Often times the only exposure kids have to money is watching it come out of a parent’s wallet, with no perception of how it ever got there. Be open with your children (within reason) about how money comes in, and how it goes out!
Take ‘Em to the Bank
One of the easiest ways to start teaching your children about money is to take them to the place where (almost) all of the magic happens; the bank! While you can open a bank account for your child at any age, a milestone occasion (like a 10th birthday) can be a great opportunity to open up an “adult” bank account. This is a great opportunity to teach your children about bank statements, the differences between chequing accounts, savings accounts, and introduce them to the concept of interest.
For younger children under the age of 12, most banks suggest opening a savings account. If you’ve read this article and decided to start giving your child an allowance, opening a bank account is the natural next step. Work with them to set savings goals from their allowance, and rewarded them with a special treat or movie night when they’ve successfully reached their goal. This will help them learn the benefits and importance of saving money!
Set Them Up for Success
As we’ve already mentioned, it’s difficult to teach your kids about savings if it’s not your strong suit. If you’re looking to get back on track and become a Super Saver yourself, don’t forget that getting better with money is a process and a habit. Like any habit, it takes time and effort to master. Don’t get discouraged if it’s not happening at the pace you want it to. Celebrate your savings victories, and share what you’re continually learning and perfecting with the ones that matter most to you; your family!
For extra savings opportunities don’t forget to check Caddle for your weekly Cash Back rebates to help you save a little bit when you go to the grocery store, eat out at your favourite restaurant, or hit the mall to visit your favourite retail store!
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