For several years I had been thinking about teaching my youngest daughters how to save for a goal. Recently it occurred to me that I needed to combine the thought of saving with the enjoyment of spending time together.
First, I purchased two small wallets, one for each child. In each wallet, I also included a $10 gift card for Target and a $1.00 bill as seed money for us to start saving towards our goals. Then I sat down with the girls individually and reminded them about one of their favorite events, which is a shopping trip with mom. We rarely go on shopping trips, but all truly enjoy such outings when they do occur. We talked a bit about how much more fun it would be if we decided ahead of time just where we were going, and what we might want to shop for.
We also spoke about how a shopping trip can be somewhat expensive, and how we should all be responsible for saving ahead of time towards our trip. With work a little slower for both their father and myself, I thought it was a good time for the girls to become aware of the need for using care when spending money for pleasure.
Now, when we go on our little excursions, we try to visit one store like Target or Walmart to select items within our budget, have a lunch out, and then a stop at our local Dollar Store to finish out the festivities.
Both girls are very excited and often bring a dollar or two in change that they have saved to add to their coin purses. I also add a dollar from time to time. The money in each of their coin purses has quickly grown to about $20.
During our last shopping trip, my eight year old carefully budgeted her funds at the Target store that we planned to visit. She had a $10 gift card, and purchased several items. She calculated the cost of her items, and selected several items for money. During the trip we talked about the value of her purchase and tried to choose things that were of good quality, and items she would use as well as ones that were durable.
The girls are beginning to share clothing as they become closer in sizes, and often discuss their choices together ahead of time. Sometimes both girls choose items they both can use and enjoy, increasing the value of their purchase.
I am looking forward to my next shopping trip with each child just as much as they are. I can see that they are learning the value of saving, as well has how to make wise choices for their purchases. An added bonus is that we are also enjoying the time we spend together.