In this modern day, it’s easy to handle all your money digitally and go weeks or months without actually seeing cash, and even then there’s a tendency to deal mostly in bills. The days of piggy banks being common have, unfortunately, passed, but that doesn’t mean there’s no value to having one.
Piggy banks are the original rainy day fund, and help children learn a lot about the value of saving. It’s better to start a child off with positive amounts and let them learn how to manage, and for that, a piggy bank can be very helpful! It also helps keep the saved money out of sight and thus out of mind.
So what are some modern alternatives to teach the same lessons?
A savings account is a great idea for older kids and preteens, especially those who get money occasionally such as birthdays and holidays. It allows them control over their money, but is easy to monitor. It also accrues interest, which is great way to begin talking to your children about how to grow money and prepare them for the future.
For the more impulsive, a reloadable cash card may be a great idea. Add money to it weekly or monthly, and have them keep up with it and how much is left. This is also a good start to learning how to use a credit card—and how not to use a credit card.
An allowance book is somewhere between a savings account and a piggy bank. Designate a small notebook for them to keep that you keep a running tab in, and add money to it each week. When they spend, you can deduct it from the balance in the book. This is a great way to teach responsible bookkeeping and also puts the burden of collecting their money on them every week or month, to encourage routine and fiscal awareness.
Then there’s always the old-fashioned piggy bank! You can grab one at most thrift stores or big box stores, or make your own. Consider trying a challenge, such as filling a 2-liter soda bottle with dimes or collecting quarters in a jar. You can add loose change as you have it, as well, to help little savings grow.
Remember, it’s important to teach your kids about money early to help them succeed in life. You don’t have to talk to them about the state of your personal finances, but do talk to them. Money is important and being able to manage it is integral to a happy, financially-secure life.