In these tumultuous economic times, I keep asking myself what good ways to teach my kids about money are. Only one is old enough for an allowance, but both receive money from grandparents, for little jobs around the house, and of course there are those exciting moments when one of them finds a penny on the street. So they have some money--and they sometimes spend some money, on kids' books, small toys, and the "dime candy" aisle at Spicer's.
But do they understand what saving is, and how money can work for them? They're getting there. Last summer, I took my then 4-year-old and 8-year-old into the CWE branch of Pulaski Bank and helped them deposit their savings. Since an account requires at least $100 to stay open, I had to up their $ a bit (well, a lot in the case of the little one), but they got accounts. In particular, they got passbook savings accounts, which are an active way for kids to follow what they've got.
Now we go to the bank every 6 weeks or so. The tellers and managers at Pulaski have been great! (Although I'm guessing the folks at other local branch banks would be equallly nice.) They always greet my kids and patiently wait for them to lay out their cash. They congratulate them on earning interest. They smile and offer lollipops when the transaction is done. And my children now ask questions like, "What's interest?" and "How does the bank make money?" and "When I save enough, can I buy a trampoline?" The answer to the last one, at least, is easy: "No."