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Teaching Kids to Save, Share and Spend Smart

When my kids were young, it was a natural inclination for them and their young friends to spend money. The difficult part came in teaching them to save. They seemed to want everything they saw and usually wanted it yesterday. Allowance day for us led to full-blown tantrums if clear expectations were not set in advance.

I wish Service Credit Union’s Smart Savers Money Mammals program, which teaches children ages 3 to 11 to Save, Share and Spend Smart, had been available. The catchy tunes that the colorful, life-sized puppets sing resonate with the children and they remember the songs long after the show is over.

As the song begins, children hear “Save” first, which sets the clear expectation that when you have money, first you save. It sounds so simple, but a lot of grown-ups have a hard time considering savings as a first priority.

Next, the puppets encourage children to “Share.” When we teach children at an early age to share, they begin to see that they are part of a bigger group and that their actions can influence other people. It is exciting to see the joy on children’s faces when they share something they purchase with their own money and when you are the recipient of such a gift, you know you are very special.

The art of “Spending Smart” teaches self-discipline and empowers children to realize spending is a choice that should be made after some thought. What a great principle to set at an early age.