Kids and money: blog readers weigh in with their favorite tips

jean chatzky logoIn anticipation of National Money Night Talk on Thursday -- an evening that American Express and I have dedicated to helping you talk to your kids about money -- we asked bloggers at three prominent money blogs to get top savings tips from their readers. They poured in. Here, our favorites:

From the readers of Moolanomy:
  • Save half of your paycheck from the time you start working until you graduate high school. Use this money for starting your college life. You will be surprised what you need to get even if you are living in a dorm room. My daughter used her savings for setting up her first apartment with new not hand me down things and paid for her textbooks for the first two semesters. Books for one semester ran over $500!
  • Instead of losing your time on Facebook, start a blog and earn some side money!
  • Get a little spiral-bound notebook that will fit in your pocket. Write down every purchase -- EVERY purchase, even a pack of gum -- for a month. Look at how much you've spent without realizing it on things like Slurpees or sandwiches out even when there's stuff at home to eat. Now you know why you never seem to have any money left from your paycheck. Extra credit: Separate out the non-essential purchases and add up their cost. Find one of those investment calculators that will tell you how much investing even half of that "wasted" money will add up to 40 years from now thanks to the miracle of compound interest. I bet you'll start making your own sandwiches at least some of the time. And I hope you will.
From the readers of Dough Roller:
  • Well, my Grandfather always told me to never carry much money in my pocket, he said it would "burn a hole in my pocket" so he always suggested opening a bank account. What I tell my younger cousins is to take 20% of what they have every month and put it away as "untouchable" money and then we sit around trying to figure out how much that would be five years from now, which is always impressive!
  • We have taught our children to give 10% to others (charity, etc.) first, then 10% in long term savings (can't touch!), then 10% in short term savings (in a savings account), then to budget the rest. It has always been very helpful for them.
  • Oh, this one is so easy for us. We sit down every weekend and do our budget for the week. We have the kids help review the budget, and by putting the cash in our envelopes. It helps them to see that we have an allowance, too. We also say 'Well, we'll have to put that in the budget for next week' if they ask for anything (new clothes, sleep-overs, everything ... ). And, they have come around splendidly. They actually ask, 'Do we have money in the budget for ... ?' now.
  • My advice to my son was open a Credit Union Account, have automatic deductions for savings plus open an IRA and save!! What's left is his to pay for essentials and gas, and some fun things.
From the readers of PT Money:
  • I told all my kids that regardless of how much or how little they made to ALWAYS save at least 10% of it and not touch it unless it was an emergency.
  • An important lesson for teenagers is that checking your balance once a week online is not the same as knowing what you're spending. Most kids see their balance but don't have any idea where the money went. Write it down in your register and add up your categories at the end of each month. It's amazing how what you "think" you're spending on something doesn't always match up to what you're actually spending. Knowing (in and of itself) has the effect of making you more thoughtful about your money and more purposeful in how you spend it.
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