With the Kids

Helping Teach Our Children About Spending and Saving

In today’s economy, saving a dollar is something that we all need to do. With the ease of credit cards, we can sometimes fall into spending traps. So it’s time to get back to the fundamentals of saving, helping teach our children to save as well, preparing them for their future.

As my son is getting older, he’s starting to learn what the value of a dollar is. What a quarter is really worth, and that you need 4 of them to buy Super Silly Sour Spray! I want to start helping him understand more about what it means to spend money, so I’m going to start grocery shopping with him. He’ll get to see it costs $4.95 for a rotisserie chicken, $2.29 for tortillas, and $3.59 for shredded cheese, all to make chicken and cheese quesadillas, one of our family favorites. That’s $11.50 with tax. But, with all of those ingredients, it’s enough to feed our family for two meals, cutting the price in half for dinner. When we go to a fast food restaurant, they may get a nifty little toy, but it will cost our family double what it costs for two homemade meals! Hopefully my son will be able to understand that with the money we save by eating at home, we’ll be able to save up for a fun family trip, possibly to Disneyland!

I was recently given this children’s book called, Three Cups by Mark St. Germain. It’s a fun illustrated picture book for kids, and I’m happy to say that my son who’s 7, is already doing what it suggests. It suggests children divide their money into 3 categories, spending, saving, and charity.

It also introduces kids to some big words, like deposit and interest, in an way they’ll grasp. And the little boy wants to buy a toy and saves up for it until he has enough money, helping to reinforce good spending and saving habits. There’s even a parent’s guide in the back of the book teaching you how to introduce your children to saving.

There are a lot of great frugal and economically minded blogs out there, sharing their knowledge for saving. Here’s just a few links sharing how they’re teaching kids to save:

How have you helped your kids learn about money and the need to save?


  1. Oh…and I also love how you are teaching your son the value of a dollar. My 6-yr. old kindergardener is learning pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters and struggling to remember which one is called what. He confuses the dimes, nickels & quarters unless they are right next to each other. We call them dinky dimes (because they are the smallest) and naughty nickels (because they fool him into thinking they’re dimes or quarters). I love the idea of showing him exactly how much something he wants to buy is. Maybe that visual will help him remember what is what and understand the value. Thanks again!

  2. I love the idea of this book! My oldest daughter is great with saving her money & giving some to charity. My 11-yr. old, not so much! She thinks if she has a dollar in her pocket that she needs to spend it. Immediately. Then she wonders why she never has any money when she NEEDS it and her big sis always has some saved. This would be a great lesson for my younger two as well. Better to start them off early before they make these bad habits! Thanks for sharing! ;D

  3. Instead of using real money with my 4 and 5 year old, I use Chuck E. Cheese tokens for rewards for things like sticker charts. Although my 5 year old does have some basic concepts about real money, they both like that they can see their tokens adding up, and they understand that 1 token equals 1 ride or game. And 1 token a day is enough of a reward to keep them on best behavior to help them learn a new skill (staying in bed, for my 4 year old) or banish a bad habit (whining and complaining for my 5 year old).

    They also understand that if they don’t have as many tokens, it means some time of sitting and waiting while their sibling keeps playing. (And, as far as the “real money” side goes, they know we don’t eat there! We eat at home, and just go for the games!)

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