The other day I stopped by the grocery store before I dropped my son off at school. We bought 2 bags of white flour because it was on sale and one of whole wheat flour since that was more expensive, and I hadn’t brought a lot of money with me.
Imagine my surprise when the whole wheat flour came up as $1.99, cheaper than the white flour that was on “sale” for $2.50, and nearly $3 cheaper than the shelf price. I quickly asked the cashier how long the sale would last, and then I bought the other two bags on the shelf. After we paid, we went to the customer service area and got a rain check for 10 more bags of whole wheat flour.
Exploring the World of Saving
My son, watching the entire process, was fascinated. He thought rain checks were a “secret” way to save, and he asked me to tell him more ways to save at the grocery store. I suggested a few more and thought the topic was over.
But today we stopped by the store again, and he reminded me of the “special coupon” I have for the flour and that I should use it soon.
I had forgotten, but he hadn’t. A simple grocery store transaction turned into a learning experience that stuck with him.
Using Interest as a Springboard for Financial Independence
He has asked to learn to cook, and though he is still young to make an entire meal by himself, I plan to hand over meal planning to him in a few years (with careful guidance). I also plan to let him cook some meals and go grocery shopping. I want to teach him how to budget and shop within his means.
We have already told him that if he sets aside money for a car and college, we will match his savings. He hasn’t yet taken us up on this offer, though, because he prefers reading books over doing chores to earn money. I imagine in a year or two, though, he will have more interest in making and saving money.
Too many kids don’t have a basic financial education. While I think teaching him about the benefits of a Roth IRA are important, I also think it is important to teach him about the smaller, every day ways to save money such as rain checks and strategic coupon use as well as matching savings. If your employer matches your retirement savings and you don’t take advantage of that, you are leaving money on the table.
What are your favorite small ways to teach your children to save?Tweet