With spring break just around the corner, I’m sure the kids are already asking, “Where are we going?!?”, “Are we headed to DisneyLand?!?!”. Even if you’re not on your way to The Happiest Place on Earth, you can still have a great time with your kids, and use this as a learning/saving opportunity for the whole family.
Now you can tell them, you’ve got something great planned, and you need their help. Whether you’re setting a big goal, or a small one, everyone in the family will be able to pitch in, help, and learn how to budget.
Start the Family Budget
When I was a kid, my folks taught me a little bit about saving money… using a big jar. We set a family goal of going to Callaway Park (just outside Calgary – and a 4 hour drive from where I grew up) during spring break. To save money for the trip, we were going to do it as a family. Anytime we had some spare allowance money, or helped out with extra chores, some extra cash was added to the jar.
While the ‘jar technique’ won’t earn you any interest, it’s a great visual way to teach kids about saving money. Literally seeing it pile up in front of them shows how a little saving at a time can really add up – to give them some extra incentive, you can put in more quarters than looneys, and give the illusion of more!
Furthermore, I still remember feeling like I accomplished something by helping my family save the money for the trip. I swear it helped me have more fun on the trip, knowing I was part of getting us there.
This is a great first step in showing your kids the power of budgeting, goal setting and saving – something that should stick with them for a long time.