3 Ideas to Share and Save — 008

Memo from the Chief Mammal Header

“Working to help parents raise money-smart kids.”

3 Ideas to Share and Save


In my book The Art of Allowance, I identify three core money-smart skills we want to teach our kids:

  1. Distinguishing between needs and wants
  2. Setting and saving for goals
  3. Making smart money choices

In today’s 3 Ideas to Share and Save, I’ll provide you with resources to teach your kids — of all ages — each one of these skills.

— 1 —

If you’re reading this newsletter, then you’re probably fortunate enough to have your primary needs met — clothing, food and shelter. Considering the current social, political and economic situations in this country, I’m grateful that this is the case.

With primary needs met, though, distinguishing between needs and wants can feel more like distinguishing between wanting and wanting more.

Enter “needlets.” This is a term I use to describe conditional needs. Needlets are situationally no less important than primary needs. Although not necessary for survival, they are necessary in your current context. For example, you need a soccer ball to play soccer. This is a needlet. Reframing the first core money-smart skill as distinguishing between wants and needlets might be a more practical way for you to teach your kids. My recent post elaborates. Let me know if you find it helpful.

— 2 —

Setting and saving for goals is a powerful life skill — beyond the domain of money. It teaches kids to delay gratification, a foundational trait for success.

Setting up S.M.A.R.T. goals gives you a framework to better help your children succeed. Originally coined by management expert George Doran, the acronym S.M.A.R.T. stands for:

Specific (what they want — might also be a needlet!) Measurable (the cost) Attainable (See below.) Relevant (in this case a given) Time-based (How long will it take to save for the goal?)

Be smart about the “A” for Attainable. Keep the time horizon short for a five-year-old’s first goal. It should take her weeks, not months. As she gets older and has more goals under her belt, saving for months will become more attainable.

You can use this handy-dandy tool to create a S.M.A.R.T. goal with your child today. Smart and easy.

— 3 —

If we want our kids to make smart money choices, then we need to give them as much practice as possible. How do we learn anything but through practice?

If you haven’t started an allowance yet, then these resources can help you set one up:

> For younger kids, use the Starter Allowance worksheet.

> For older kids, set up or upgrade to the Breakthrough Allowance. You can download an easy-to-use Google spreadsheet to give them more responsibility and a wider range of choices.

You can access the worksheet and the spreadsheet here.

If you’re looking for more interesting ideas to help your kids make better decisions, I’ve had some terrific podcast conversations about time choices, media choices and intentional choices.

Until next time, I wish you and your family well on your own money-smart journey.


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