Saving Together

Photo © Jupiter

Wants and Needs

Explain to children that needs are the basics, such as food, water, and electricity. Wants are things that we desire, such as a new toy or a DVD. Help young children see that there may be many things they want, but there are few things that they need. Make a list separating wants and needs. Assure children that, by not buying things family members want, your family is saving money to make sure you have all the things you need.

Use the challenges facing your family as an opportunity to discuss money saving practices with your children. This is a chance to broaden your child’s sense of happiness beyond an attachment to material goods and focus on what is truly important – the relationships between family and friends.

Starting a family bank

Every day, place spare coins in a jar that you’ve labeled “Family Bank.” Together you might fill your jar with money you earn from recycling bottles and cans, from holding a yard sale or an Internet auction. When you’ve collected enough coins, use your family-bank money for a fun family activity or for something the family really needs.

Being resourceful

So many things can be made from scratch! Saving by creating your own homemade toys can really add up and it can be so much fun.

  • Make your own presents. If your children are attending a birthday party, talk together about how they might make a present. Perhaps they can decorate a birthday T-shirt or make a bookmark, journal, or scrapbook.
  • Make homemade music. A pot and a wooden spoon make a great drum. Cover one end of a paper-towel tube; fill it with rice and cover the other end. You’ll have a rain stick! An empty salt or oatmeal container, filled with paperclips and pebbles, makes a maraca. Shake, shake, shake!

Reusable materials can make towers, robots, cars, or anything you and your children’s imaginations can invent! Use paper towel tubes, empty cereal boxes, and clean, empty milk cartons as building blocks. Ask children how they can use those materials to make a car and racetrack, a building, or a creature.

Next: Getting the Essentials

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