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It's time to start an honest conversation about money

It will start with three jars.

The first jar will be spending money - for candy and small toys that fall into the "want it now" category.

The second jar will be saving money and we'll stick a picture of whatever he is saving up for on the jar.

Background image by Shawn Campbell

The last jar will be charity money, which mommy and daddy will match and we can spend that money on a worthy cause together.

Three jars and an entire conversation can be started.

You see, my son is quickly leaving toddlerhood behind, and it is time to introduce him to real money. This is a big leap for us from our previous discussion about money in stores or during playtime with his cash register. This is a big leap.

But, it is also an important one: After reading the findings of the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research's annual Monit..., it seems that by the time children hit their teenage years, all they want to do is spend. I want to give my son a firm foundation in money education (side note: I believe that all high schools should have a mandatory fiscal education class that teaches students budgeting, but that's another post for another day).

So, we will begin with three jars.

How does the money conversation go in your household? What do you do to teach your children about money? Tell me at Sorry, Mom. I didn't listen.

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Comment by Lauren Markman on March 3, 2014 at 9:31pm

Thanks for sharing, Marcia - it's glad to know that with a lot of planning ahead of time this system can really work well!

Comment by Marcia Fowler on March 1, 2014 at 8:03pm

We've done the three jars for a while and it's usually great. Once a month we choose a place to donate money to (a friend's walk-a-thon, the food bank, toys for tots etc). My kids take a dollar from their giving to donate and I put in the rest. They also take a dollar from spending to help pay for birthday gifts for any friend's parties they go to or anything they want for themselves. The savings goes in the bank specifically to help them buy a house when they're older. 

I pay them $3, or 75 cents or 30 cents for whatever chores they do. I purposely pay 3 of whatever so they can do giving, saving, spending. All was working well for a long time.My 7 year old saved up enough to split the cost with us for a lego item he wanted when he was six. But now, he's realized the Death Star is 400$ and he's saving for that: in a separate container. So now he has giving, saving spending, spending (death star). Somehow I got roped into giving $4 or 4 quarters or 4 dimes for chores. So that part's not going to well. I also run out of loose change an often raid my son's lunch money container to pay the kids or have the kids cash in their change to me and I give them dollars (once again out of the lunch money or summer trip money container). It can be a lot to manage and takes some thinking ahead, but overall, works well.

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