how teach kids importance of saving

How my Parents Taught me the Importance of Saving

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Parents can teach their kids the importance of saving through simple financial tasks like managing a savings account

The importance of saving is something too often lost on Americans and rarely taught in school. Personal finance classes are non-existent and have led to the fact that more than half the country faces financial risk of unexpected expenses. One of our scholarship essay applicants writes in about how her parents taught her how to save with simple tasks like managing a savings account and paying bills. Yes, parents can teach their kids the importance of saving right before anyone else.

As a parent, you envision a bright future for your children and that vision probably doesn’t include your child being into debt because they made poor financial decisions. Considering this, how do parents help kids get a better grasp of basic money management knowledge?

In many families, the topic of money is usually initiated around as during dinner table conversations, and sometimes something left to be discussed by adults. And in most scenario, the dinner table could just be the ideal place to talk about financial things. This does not necessarily mean discussing all of your debt or money problems out in the open but rather it could be a brilliant opportunity to allow organic conversations about finances to occur in a casual, relaxed atmosphere where the children can familiarize themselves with basic money stuff. Say for example, if your family is buying a new car, you can use the situation to introduce your children to the concept of auto loans and leasing versus buying. Or if your family is looking for a new property, take the time to discuss mortgages, interest rates and the pros and cons of buying and renting.

When a child is learning how to do something for the first time they naturally get involved and have the tendency to follow the example of their parents. This inclination applies to financial behavior patterns as well that is why it is important for parents to practice healthy money management behavior. 

Getting children involved in the family finances while the parents are still able to oversee things is a smart way to instill good behavioral patterns that will last once they are out on their own. So many of the daily activities that occur at home are in some way related to money or finances and can easily be turned into a teaching opportunity for kids to learn and apply.

Today’s essay is by Maybel Perez, a student at San Diego City College in Managerial Accounting. Her story is a great reminder how teaching your kids simple financial tasks can go a long way to making them more responsible with money.

Check out Maybel’s story and please share on social media. The most-shared essay on how parents can teach their kids about money will win our $500 personal finance scholarship, announced August 31st!

Looking for more ideas on teaching you kids about money? Check out this huge roundup post of 36 expert ideas on teaching kids money saving tips.

Learning the Importance of Saving from My Parents

My parents have always been financially responsible.  From an early age, my parents tried to teach my siblings and I the importance of saving by opening youth savings accounts for us.  We each had piggy banks and regularly my parents would drive us to the bank to deposit the pennies and dollars we had collected from birthdays, holidays and any loose change we could find lying around.

We were each in charge of filling out our own deposit slip, with their help of course, and sitting with the teller as they processed our transaction.  I remember being excited when the teller would stamp my savings account register and I would see my new balance grow.

Looking back I see how important it was to have us kids involved with the physical process of depositing our money, versus my parents doing it themselves, which would have been a lot faster and easier for them.  Even though I was kindergarten age, my parents believed it was never too early to teach the value of saving.  They also stressed how important it was to remember that little by little, it all adds up.

My Parents Didn’t Give Up Teaching Me about Money

As I grew into my teenage years and began working, I wasn’t as good at saving as my parents would have liked.  I was now earning my own money and could “buy anything I wanted.”  Saving wasn’t something I felt was that important; I felt I had time to save later.

how teach kids importance of saving

That didn’t stop my parents from advising me on my finances.  They felt I spent my money on frivolous things and now having access to credit, they warned me about spending more than I was making or could pay.  I can hear them now lecturing me on horrible I had become at managing my money. Luckily the phase didn’t last long.

Maybel’s parents helped her dodge a bullet by teaching her about credit and overspending. A lot of people get access to credit and get in way over their head, not realizing how much interest on loans really costs.

I was most definitely caught up initially with my “financial freedom” but that didn’t mean I didn’t have bills I had to pay.  My parents ensured that I helped contribute towards my car payment once I had a steady job.  I would write a check to them each month to help cover the cost of the monthly payment.  I was also responsible for paying my car registration each year and my gas.  My mom would give me the registration bill when it came in and I would write a check directly to the DMV.

I didn’t think much of these tasks at the time, but having worked in accounting for a couple of years now, I see now how many people have never been taught to balance a checkbook or write a check.  A task I took for granted turned out to be an invaluable lesson taught to me by my parents, because I certainly didn’t learn any of these basic necessities in high school or college.

I owe everything I know about personal finance to my parents.  From saving money to paying bills and budgeting, my parents did me a great service by teaching me all of these from a young age.  As an adult, with a family of my own, I plan to do the same with my children.  My parents’ financial guidance molded me into an adult who, despite my teenage years, is financially responsible and realizes the importance of saving and investing.

Questions about budgeting and how to save money are some of the most frequent we get here on the blog. I reached out to ten money experts to answer the top 10 budgeting and saving money questions.

I am proud to have been able to buy a home, an investment I can later pass on to my children.  Because of my parents, I see my son and know it’s not too early to start saving for college or to teach him the basics of savings, like they did with me.  I am forever grateful to my parents for all they have taught me and continue to do so.

I want to thank Maybel for her essay on how her parents taught her the importance of saving through simple financial tasks…and a little nagging. Financial responsibility and daily money tasks aren’t on the curriculum anymore in schools so parents have to take it upon themselves. This essay really proved that parents can teach their kids the importance of saving in a meaningful and disciplined way, one that grows as the child grows. Be sure to support Maybel by sharing the article through social media and check in August for the winner of the personal finance scholarship.

Read the Entire Money Lessons from Parents Series


  • I’m Maybel’s Mom. I so proud to read this comment and I know, I did a good job with my daughter. She didn’t have an idea how to management her financial until she got her first job in Cuba. Now she knows because she decide taking accounting classes, how the assets, Revenue and loss it’s work . So what I think and always tell her. You can’t speed more money in credit card accounts that the real assets do you have.

  • I enjoyed Maybel’s story it reminded me of my parents and the importance of saving and budgeting. It’s amazing I never knew that schools do not teach basic savings and budgeting skills however I did not attend any normal school. It is very important to teach the importance of money, spending, and savings, and financial responsibility before eighteen so that financial freedom doesn’t turn into a financial nightmare>

    • Thanks Damella. I understand that it’s tough to build personal finance into a school curriculum but it seems like the schools aren’t even trying. Such an important topic. Thank you for commenting.

  • I like Maybel Perez essay, it is so well explained on how to learn and manage money on daily basis, by
    showing how she did learned from her parent the important of saving. Also the idea of teaching her son to save for college and how to be responsible for his future too.
    I see maybel one day as successful manager because she is very smart and fast learner.

  • Maybel!

    I really like your essay. I think everybody has a history about parents and money. I remember when I started working and received my first check, it was so happy moment. But, because when you are young never think in future, spend the money more fast that I received. Now I know by experience how it is important to learn how administrated your financial. Because from there depend you future and economy.

    Good Point.

  • Maybel,

    I read your essay and really enjoyed it. Parents always have good advises for children but someone who do those exactly right is win in life and I think you did. Well done to you and I hope you good luck!

  • Very good story from Maybel, I love how she talks about this topic. It’s very important to learn about how to balance your money, and ways to not spend. To always make sure that your finances are on tip top and to never mess up your credit.

  • I am so glad I read Maybel Perez’s essay at the same time when I had my grand-kids present. I was trying to teach the same my granddaughter who is living on high and carefree style that will cause a downfall in her future.
    I am one of savers among 5 other siblings as we are divided half savers and half frivolous spenders. I like this essay and I hope it earns 1st place.

  • It’s too true. Our parents grew up during a different time, during World War II and the great depression so they learned the importance of saving money. Passing on their knowledge of this was the best asset they gave us. From this knowledge we learned to invest in our future by buying homes and creating nest eggs for our retirement years when we would no longer be able to work. We have instilled this into our own children and hopefully will be able to pass our assets on to them in the future. Thank you for sharing your story Maybell.

  • I have known Maybel for a few years now from school. I really admire her tenacity to solve problems, her willingness to do the work needed to succeed and her very positive attitude. It is inspirational to read her account of what it took for her to become financially responsible. Bravo to her parents and bravo to Maybel. The same lessons are lost on so many people. I consider Maybel to be a good friend and am confident that she will succeed in all of her future endeavors.

  • That’s a really good article. A very important thing that should be taught in school is how to manage and save your money!

  • Really enjoy Maybel story. This is a very important lesson that parents should teach to their children.

  • Very good topic. It is important for anyone to know how to administrate their economy. I like this history. Thank you Maybel for share with us. I wish you the best of luck.

  • Wow Maybel. It’s impressive how you describe your experience with us. This remind me when I was in that age and my mom always talked to me. Open an bank account and save money. Because If you want to buy a car , clothing or shoes. Every month when you get your pay check. It will be good for you and your future to have a saving account.

  • In this day and age, Maybel’s essay is a much needed reminder of the importance of saving. My parents came here from the Philippines for a better life, and I, too, have memories of going to the bank to cash my checks and make deposits and having the teller stamp and update my little bank book.

    Now, just about everything is electronic, but the principles are the same. And Maybel makes a good point. Not only is it important to save, but it’s also important to stay out of debt while saving and building up a good credit score. When those credit card offers start coming in the mail, maintain control. The following quote comes to mind: “Own your house. Don’t let it own you”. The quote can be modified to just about anything, but the sentiment is the same: Don’t get in over your head; control your spending. With credit cards, it’s so easy to look at your credit limit, but lose sight of how much you actually have. Walking around with a credit card that has a $10,000 credit limit is like having $10,000 in your pocket… but it’s not your money… it’s a loan waiting to happen.

    I’m not saying we should deprive ourselves of having fun. If you can afford to go to the movies, eat out every once in awhile, go on a vacation, then great. But if you’re already in debt, you may have to give up some of those escapes for awhile. It’s basic math… just addition and subtraction. How much are you taking in and how much is going out for rent/mortgage, food, clothing, etc.

    And while I understand that some of the responsibility should fall to parents, I also feel our schools should join in. And I’m not talking about college. I’m talking about starting in elementary school. If one of the goals of our educational system is to teach and train our kids to become productive members of society, I can’t see how classes on sound financial practices and planning and investing aren’t already part of the curriculum (Or maybe they are? I graduated from high school in 1987, so I have no idea what changes have occurred). Shouldn’t one of the skills of a “well-rounded” student be an understanding of the basics of saving, spending, budgeting, and how your credit score will affect your ability to buy a car or a home?

    [I’ll get off my soapbox now. A very good essay, Maybel :-)]

  • Hello Maybel. I liked your story a lot. I think it was an important issue which you have spoken. It is always good to teach children early, how value that has the save each penny. It does not matter as you say alone is 25 cents, what you can save time over the account will be grow in the future. That why I think it is important learned to manage accounts and not wasting money unnecessarily.

  • Maybel’s essay certainly illustrates the importance of financial literacy from an early age, and building on this important part of life. By instilling life-long positive habits as it pertains to the importance of handling money responsibly, Maybel’s parents created a road map to success as it is only through building and maintaining a great credit rating that she was able to get mortgage loans to buy a house! That is a MAJOR accomplishment! I see Maybel as very fortunate to have her parents to teach and train her to be financially responsible, and that saving early on for her son’s education and future will benefit him greatly while she passes down important lessons learned about financial literacy. Well done, Maybel! I am very proud of you and admire you and your parents very much! Keep up the great work!

  • Maybel. Excellent description about how you learned to manage your money. I’ve always thought that every father has to instructing the child since childhood. For when they reach the teenage stage they will know how hard is to win the money understand the value of each penny. I always think in save and not spend it on things unnecessarily. I always say it better to have cash in hand that material stuff. I enjoyed your story.

  • I loved Maybel’s story about saving because in today’s society not many of people save money. A lot of people live paycheck by paycheck which makes it impossible to save. Even though people know the importance of saving money, still people postpone it until an emergency comes, and there is no money to pay for the emergency. For these reasons and more I really enjoyed reading Maybel’s essay and hope she wins the scholarship. Good luck!

  • I enjoyed Maybel’s essay very much. It was really inspiring of how her mother taught her the importance of saving. She is doing good by thinking of her son’s future and by opening a saving account for her son. Good job Maybel!!!

  • A great essay about saving money and being financially responsible at a young age. As a younger person, I can appreciate the act of budgeting, while I don’t keep a hard plan, I stay aware of how much I spend versus how much income I get, making sure to always stay positive by a good amount. I can relate very much to how you buy miscellaneous things as a teenager/young adult.

  • I agree we need to do more to teach about financial responsibility. It starts at home, but learning advanced concepts in school is invaluable…at every age. Programs like Junior Achievement’s BizTown and Mission Federal Credit Union’s “Mission 2 $ave” are teaching our youth important financial values that they can carry with them the rest of their lives. We need more programs like this.

  • Really nice article, well written, I love how you explain how to manage your money to be able to have a better economy at home, all the steps. How you manage and invest your money now to be able to have and give your family a better futuro. Wel done

  • I really liked your story. But because this is a subject which I am in total agreement that every parent since our children are young we have to teach them how to manage money. But mostly you explain why it is important and causes that may affect future whether or not squander well know how to manage their economy. Maybel good example. I wish you the best of luck in your career and in the same way you teach your children a good example to your parents gave you.


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