9 easy ways to teach your child to save money

Teaching Kids to Save Money

When it comes to teaching children about the value of finances and saving money, the earlier you can do so, the better. It's important to start them out as young as possible, since it instills in them good money skills, building a foundation of financial responsibility that can last into adulthood and a lifetime of smart decisions.

However, 74 percent of parents are seemingly reluctant to talk to their kids about money matters, according to Forbes. Yet there are some perfect opportunities to do so, like during the upcoming holidays: Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day (April 28) and Teach a Child to Save Day (April 29). Both are chances to spend some extra time with your kids and, in the process, show them the value of money and saving.

If you're unsure how to go about talking to your son or daughter about how to save money and finances in general, don't worry; there are lots of simple, fun ways to teach your children to be financially responsible at any age. Here are the easiest ways to teach money lessons to your kids.

1. Talk to Them About Finances

One of the first things you can do to teach your children about money is to talk with them about it. Even as young as ages 3 and 4, you can begin to teach your children the difference between needs and wants. "Kids can start the process of understanding money at an early age," said Gary Swim of Swim Retirement. "Even toddlers will understand that you get money by working and you need money to buy things."

"Try having these conversations with your children early and often. It will make it easier for everyone and help them develop an understanding of finances at a young age," said Brad Sherman, a financial planner with Sherman Wealth Management. Don't hesitate to involve kids, especially when they get a bit older, when you're sitting down to pay bills online or work on the monthly budget. This will give them exposure to the hands-on way you manage the family finances.

2. Give Them an Allowance

LaToya Scott of Life and a Budget gives her 6-year-old daughter an allowance not tied to any chores. "We simply give her money so that she will learn how to manage it properly," Scott said. "She can earn additional money from random jobs around the house to accelerate her savings."

When your kids get old enough, though, they can start earning an allowance for chores or small jobs, like cleaning around the house, babysitting, mowing lawns and more. Create a progress sheet or a goals board to hang on their bedroom wall that tracks how much they've earned according to the work they've completed. This will help children learn the value of earning money themselves for something they want to buy.

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9 easy ways to teach your child to save money

Dog-sitting, babysitting, or house-sitting

These jobs are always in high demand, and the best part: you can name your price and create your own schedule! Post an ad on craigslist, or use your friends' and family's connections to get your name out there. 

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Rent out your space 

List your apartment on Airbnb or another rental site, and make some easy cash by staying at a friends and renting out your place for the weekend.

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Share your space

Just as you can rent out your full apartment or house, you can also post a free room (or even just your couch!) on sites like Craigslist or Airbnb. This way you can split your living expenses -- and maybe even make a new friend!

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Sell your body parts

Now here's a weird one: Donate your hair, breast milk, or even plasma for a profit. According to Grifols, if you're healthy and weigh above 110 pounds, you can earn up to $200 a month donating your plasma to life-saving medicine. 

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Sign up to participate in medical tests and clinical trials. 

Universities constantly need volunteers to test new medicines and treatments -- and because the pool of willing participants is limited, there is typically a large compensation for being a guinea pig. 

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Participate in a focus group

Companies and organizations will pay you to join a focus group. These can be conducted in person, online, or via phone. You will most likely be reimbursed in cash or gift cards -- plus, you often get to test out fun new products! 

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Take online surveys

Similar to focus groups, you can get paid to give your time and insights on an online questionairre. Plus, you can do this from the comfort of your couch. 

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Bank on your sperm

Although we don't necessarily recommend this option, there is a very high demand for healthy sperm donors. Keep in mind some of the obvious drawbacks, but sperm donation is non-invasive and highly compensated. 

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Crowdfund your dreams

Crowdfunding allows you to raise monetary contributions from a large group of people who want to support your venture. Post your project or idea on a crowdfund site, like GoFundMe.com, and see the cash pile up.

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Become a tutor

If you're qualified, post an ad online or on a community board to tutor children on their school courses or for the upcoming SATs.

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Get a part-time job

Capitalize your free time (on the weekends or after work hours) by working a part-time job. A bartender, waiter, or Uber driver are all great options for an additional source of income -- and great tips! 

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Resell tickets

Take this suggestion at your own risk: If you're staying within legal limits, buy tickets low and sell high as an effective way to source additional money. (Just make sure to check your state and local laws first!)

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You can sell anything on the internet these days... including your companionship! Get paid to go on a platonic outing for a few hours and enjoy your afternoon with a new friend. 

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Rent out your parking spot

Make sure to check with your landlord first, but if you have the option to park your own car further away, lend or share your parking space or driveway for the hour, day, or even month! 

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Keep a coin jar 

This one takes patience before a big pay out, but keep a spare jar or drawer for loose change that you usually toss anyway. It will keep it all in one place -- and those quarters do add up! 

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Make something to sell 

If you have a knack for arts & crafts, create jewelry or other handmade gifts to sell on sites filled with other thrifty vendors like Etsy

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Sell items online

This effective strategy requires low effort with a high return. Post photos of your used or non-used items on sites like eBay or Craigslist, and let the bidding begin! 

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Have a yard sale

Sell clutter you've been meaning to get rid of right in your front yard. This simple tactic is convenient, and guarantees a wad of cash right to your pocket.  

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Return past purchases

This tip may seem obvious, but is often overlooked: Take your recently-purchased items that are laying around back to the store for either store credit or a full refund. 

Recycle scrap metal and cans

Collect cans and scrap metal out your own garbage, basement, and street and bring to your local recycler to exchange your findings for money.  

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3. Match Their Earnings

Your young one might be years, or even decades, away from tapping into a 401k of their own, but it's not too early to start them on the concept of contributions and matching dollars when they begin saving money.

"Encourage them to save by matching their savings dollars," said Jeff Jones, a certified financial planner. "If they need to save $100, offer to match them dollar-for-dollar up to $50. Be sure to put a cap on how much savings you are willing to match. If they prove to be exceptional savers, you might find yourself hustling to keep up."

A simple alternative to dollar matching is the tip method. Similar to how you'd tip at a restaurant, give them some extra money for a job well done on their chores. For example, if their chore was to clean the bathroom for $5, you could give them $2 extra, adding up to $7, if they did an exceptional job.

SEE ALSO: How to Say No to Your Kids

4. Use the Three Piggy Bank Method

Most kids have a piggy bank on their dresser or nightstand to fill with coins, but as we all know, one savings account isn't usually enough as we grow up and our financial needs vary.

Lori Craig, market director for PNC Bank Wealth Management, recommended setting kids up with three piggy banks: one for saving, one for sharing and one for spending. "A spending bank is for money to be used on everyday things," Craig said. "A saving bank is for money to be used in the future, or on a big-ticket item. And a sharing bank is to be used to help others or to give."

If you have younger kids, you can help them decorate their banks with stickers, photos or cutouts from magazines that show them visually how the money inside will be used, said Craig. For instance, if the "savings bank" is meant to hold money for a new bicycle, it should have a picture of a bike on it. Using these visuals is a tactile way to remind your children of their goals and what they need to do to work towards them.

5. Play Money Games

Monopoly is such a popular board game, yet it seems to get overlooked as a good financial teaching tool. "[It's] great for teaching kids that they need to save the money that they earn because they might need it down the road for something they need or want," said Matthew Coan of Casavvy.com. "It also teaches them how a smart, possibly expensive, investment can pay off in the long run if done correctly."

Other money-minded games to play with your kids are Payday and LIFE. Both games can teach kids about budgeting and making money decisions. There are also many mobile and online games available to choose from. But to make learning more tangible with younger children, use play money and a toy cash register to introduce money concepts into their lives. Something as simple as coin and bill counting is a simple way to learn how money is quantified.

6. Use Real Life Experiences

Nothing beats real life experience if you want to teach a child about money. Teach by example; make everyday shopping excursions a learning tool. "A trip to the grocery store is a great time to talk about price comparison, value and inflation," said Swim. "The next time you swing by the ATM, make it a point to tell your kids that money doesn't just come from a machine."

Oraynab Jwayyed, a money management consultant, recommended talking to your kids about what you're buying and why as you bring them along shopping. Discuss with them what it means to have a budget and shop within it, and even have them help you hand cash to the cashier and receive the change. You can also ask your younger children to guess the amount the change will be before it's received.

7. Make It a Math Lesson

There's a time and place to teach your kids about money skills — and while they're doing their math homework is the perfect opportunity.

"When my daughter was learning about percentages, I used that study time to also talk about money," said Dianne Crampton, founder of the TIGERS Success Series. Crampton asked her daughter if she would like free money for depositing $10 into an account. She explained to her that 6 percent on $10 in a year gives her more money than the original $10. This helped Crampton introduce the concept of investing to her daughter in simplified terms.

READ MORE: 13 Children's Books That Teach Money Lessons

8. Establish Financial Independence

Even at an early age, it's good to help your kids become more financially independent. If you teach them to save their money for something they truly want, instead of just blowing it little by little on candy or cheap toys, they'll learn the value of a dollar and the items they purchase with those dollars.

Giving pre-teens and teenagers the freedom to do what they want with their money allows them to learn from their mistakes and repeat good financial behaviors, said CPA Ellen Rogin, while also avoiding bad ones. Even setting them up with their own checking and savings accounts at this age, or sooner, can help them learn financial responsibility.

"[It's] trial and error with their own money," said Rogin. "Let teens pay some of their expenses: their cell bill, gas, meals out with friends, movies [and more]. Let them make mistakes while stakes are low."

9. Use Money Apps

Consider engaging your children in some money skill smartphone apps geared specifically to kids. There are many educational games that can help your kids learn how to count, save, set goals and even invest. Apps like Savings Spree, which teaches kids to build a nest egg via a virtual piggy bank, and Green$treets, a game where kids manage money to save endangered animals are both fun and educational. Plus, most of these types of apps are appropriate for younger children all the way up to pre-teens.

Use these steps and tools as you like, according to your child's age and interests. And as they get older, these lessons will translate to teaching them about credit and lending. If you teach your kids how to save now, they'll be responsible and independent — and prepared for their financial future.

RELATED: How to save money on a road trip

How to save money on a road trip
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9 easy ways to teach your child to save money

1. Calculate your expected fuel cost before your trip. It’s always wise to get an accurate estimation of how much to budget for gas beforehand. GasBuddy's fuel calculator is an excellent tool to get an expected price point. Just enter your vehicle information, startpoint and endpoint, and the app will calculate how much you’ll spend.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

2. Don’t fuel up near popular areas. You’ll find inflated gas prices near popular tourist destinations and metropolitan areas, so it’s worth venturing to the town over for more affordable prices. For example, gas costs on the scenic Pacific Coast Highway in California are considerably higher than the stations a few miles off the main highway.

Photo credit: Getty

3. Fill up your tank at truck stops. You'll often find the cheapest gas prices here. 

Photo credit: Getty

4. Download gas apps. Apps like GasBuddy and GasGuru come in handy by computing the cheapest station in relation to your current location.

Photo credit: Getty

5. Drive efficiently to save gas costs. These 5 fuel-efficient tips are proven to maintain a full tank longer:

           1. Turn off your AC

2. Engage cruise control in low-traffic areas

3. Avoid rapid acceleration and braking

4. Inflate tires close to maximum

5. Avoid speeding

Photo credit: Getty

6. Travel with friends. Traveling with a few buddies is an efficient (and fun) way to save cash by splitting the cost of a tank.

Photo credit: Getty

7. Grocery shop in advance. Pack water and snacks beforehand in a cooler -- inflated convenience store prices will eat away at your budget.

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8. Bring reusable water bottles. Filling up a water bottle is cheaper than buying a Poland Spring at every stop.

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9. Buy fountain drinks over bottled drinks. If you’re craving a Mountain Dew, fountain drinks give you a better bang for your buck over bottled soda.

Photo credit: Getty

Use Yelp: Download Yelp on your phone to see the best restaurant offers in your area.

Photo credit: AOL

11. Take advantage of restaurant deals. Chances are there will be tons of chain restaurants along the way, so use sites like Groupon and GiftCardGranny to get a deal on the road.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

12. Load up on free coffee and breakfast from hotels for the road. Take advantage of a free meal and avoid Starbucks and other expensive coffee shops.

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13. Avoid staying in popular areas. Tourist-driven and metropolitan areas are often paired with inflated prices, so find a place to sleep in surrounding towns.

Photo credit: Getty

14. Check out sites like Airbnb, Tripadvisor, and Kayak to score the best low-cost lodging deals.

Photo credit: Getty

15. Rent a car. If you don’t own your own vehicle, renting a car beforehand for as cheap as $22 a day on sites like ExpediaHotwire, and Travelocity can be a great deal.

Photo credit: Getty

16. Alert your bank. Sometimes banks will deem charges in new cities as fraudulent and cancel your cards.

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17. Stick to budget-friendly activities. Some ideas include hiking national parks, visiting beaches and checking out a town’s culture by walking the streets and venturing into a street fair.

Photo credit: Getty

18. Take advantage of student discounts. If you’re currently a student, bring your student ID for maximum discounts.

Photo credit: Getty

19. Download road trip planning apps. Apps like Roadtrippers are a great way to help plan and finance your new excursion.

Photo credit: Getty


SEE MORE: 10 Ways You're Hurting Your Kids Financially

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 9 Easy Ways to Teach Your Child to Save Money

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