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The Piggy Bank Part I: Teaching Kids Financial Freedom Starts at Home

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With a total US debt of over $20 trillion, and average household debt of $90k+ (including home mortgages), the concept of saving is a critical lesson to grasp early. An easy way for youngsters to start saving is by giving them a place to put the money: the iconic piggy bank.

While the concept of saving may be too abstract for a toddler, a piggy can start as a toy with a little one learning to fit coins in the slot - and evolve into a tool to help them learn the value of being rewarded for a task. At this point if your child is like me, every seat cushion in the house will be flipped in the quest for stuffing that piggy. As your child grows up, or if the piggy bank starts to get filled with bills, a savings account could be opened at the bank as an additional financial savings tool.

Spending your own money on a purchase puts the value of those benjamins into perspective. It could take months to save up for a particular purchase, but when it's made there will hopefully be a sense of achievement, pride and excitement…as well as acknowledgement that money doesn’t grow on trees.

While some parents are hesitant about “rewarding” their children, especially with money, if you think about it, the idea of being rewarded has probably already began in your household. Everyday we negotiate with our kids – dessert if they eat their veggies, 5 more minutes of TV if they sit quietly at the dinner table, etc. The piggy bank is a mechanism to introduce financial responsibility and lessons on how money works. I was a finance major in college and not once from grade school through my Bachelors Degree did I have a class that taught how to balance a checkbook or the reasons for saving money. Money basics should begin at home and should be easy to understand. The piggy bank is a great tool to start the process.

Even at over 30 years old, I still have a piggy bank. Sometime in college, my now wife had given me a piggy bank with the four card suits hand painted on it. I like to save, but I also like a good night out at the casino. The intent was for my loose change to make its way into the bank and then when it's full we could hit the tables. It did serve its purpose a few times. Now when full, it joins us on our weekly food shopping trip and turns into an amazon gift card at the local supermarket coin machine. Even now, it serves a purpose -- a placeholder for loose change that could otherwise go lost or forgotten.

It’s never too early to teach your children about the value of saving and instilling smart money methods early will “save“ your kids in the long run.

From an early age, Jared Sarnowski was passionate about money. How to make it? Where to spend it? When to save it? He started his first business venture at the age of 12 offering to mow the lawns of his neighbors in exchange for monetary compensation. Jared went on to graduate from Penn State with a degree in Finance and is currently a Construction Estimator. Jared resides in Jersey City, NJ with his wife Alexis, who arguably is even more financially savvy than him.

Click here to read Part II of the Piggy Bank Blog Series: Spending Wisely is as Important as Saving

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