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April 12 is Teach Children to Save Day, a national program sponsored by the American Bankers Association Education Foundation that raises awareness about the important role that banks and bankers play in helping young people develop lifelong savings habits.
In honor of Teach Children to Save Day, here are some tips for parents and other adults to help the children in their lives become smart savers.
1. Start a coin collection. You can help children start a fun “American the Beautiful Quarters Program” coin collection from the U.S. Mint. In 2010, the U.S. Mint began to issue 56 quarter-dollar coins featuring designs depicting national parks and other national sites. The next five quarters are being released in 2011, and the program runs through 2021. Teach your kids to save quarters and ask your local bank for new quarters as they become available. For more information, visit www.usmint.gov.
2. Play Treasury trivia. Can your family distinguish “real” currency from counterfeit bills? Did you know that money changes colors, or that each day the Bureau of Engraving and Printing prints currency worth approximately $541 million? Investigate Treasury trivia, play games and learn fascinating facts about U.S. currency at www.moneyfactory.gov.
3. Take advantage of shopping trips. Family shopping trips are great opportunities to discuss budgeting, spending and saving. It’s easy to give clear examples of “needs” and “wants” using different kinds of food at a grocery store: Milk (for strong bones) is a need; soft drinks are a want. Comparison shopping is another valuable way to teach saving. Research the prices and quality of several similar items before making a purchase.
4. Set a family saving goal. Involve everyone in saving and budgeting by setting a goal everyone agrees on. Choose something your family wants to buy or an event your family wants to attend. Write a budget and ask every family member to make regular contributions. Discuss cutting costs or ways to earn more money to reach your goal quicker. Hold family meetings (serve popcorn and snacks!) to discuss your progress.
5. Visit a bank with your family. Take a family “field trip” to a local bank. Call ahead to make an appointment for a tour, and learn about services available for everyone in the family. While there, encourage your children to open a savings account if they don’t have one already. Research shows teaching kids to save teaches self control, and kids who save are more likely to go to college, have a better outlook on life and are more financially literate.