My fourteen-year-old, Savannah has always been a saver. She saves all her money from birthday presents and allowance. She doesn't usually save for anything in particular; she just kind of tucks it away for future use. When a movie comes out that she really wants to see, she knows she'll have the money to buy a ticket, or when she sees a shirt she wants to buy, she knows she'll have the cash to purchase it because she doesn't spend frivolously on everything that comes her way.
My twelve-year-old, Jackson, on the other hand, well, let's just say that money burns a hole in his pocket. If he's got a dollar, he's got to find something to spend it on. Immediately! It doesn't matter what it is; he's just got to spend that money.
If being a mom of six has taught me one thing, it's that all kids (and adults too) are different. Like most folks tend to be either night or morning people, I think most individuals are also programmed to be savers or spenders. However, even spenders can learn how to save.
Jackson is slowly learning how to save for things that he wants. It goes against his nature, but he's learning that saving can be rewarding. He recently saved up for an iPod. It took him a year to save enough, but he managed. What can help your teens (and even younger kids) save is a chart. When charities do fundraisers, they set their goals and draw a chart that they color in as their funds get higher and higher. It's nice to have that visual reminder of how far you've come and how much farther you have to go in order to reach your savings goal. My teens like going online and seeing how much they're accumulating on their PASS cards. It's a convenient way to keep track and have that visual reminder of how much is being saved.
As an adult, I don't save for particular things I want so much as I save for a "rainy day". You just never know when your car's going to break down, your furnace is going to go out, or your washing machine is going to start hopping across the floor, spewing suds everywhere. It's nice to have that little cushion of money tucked away for those unexpected expenses that have a way of surfacing.
How do you encourage your teens to save? What ideas do you use to make saving money a little less painful? What kinds of things do your teens save up to buy? Join in the discussion here!
I am working with American Express on this project. As always, I'm writing my honest accounts and opinions.
photo from alancleaver_2000's Flickr stream