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Invest, Donate, Save, Spend.

My son has saved a bit of money from gifts, and the promise of using his money to buy something at the toy store or a pair of sneakers with rollers on the bottom is always on his mind when he ponders how much he has. I thought it was time to start a home bank to help him manage his money and learn a bit about how finances work. I had heard that some parents were doing home banking like this with their kids, and we thought we would give it a try. I believe there are piggie banks you can buy with different sections, but we chose to recycle glass jars we already had in the house. My son decorated the jars with different colored paper and wrote labels on them: Invest, Donate, Save, Spend.

We talked about the different jars and how they work:

Invest: My son gets five cents for every dollar that goes in the Invest jar and a penny per dollar every week after that. Once the money goes in, he cannot access it for 3 months without a financial penalty. At the end of the three month period, he can choose to reinvest or withdraw his money and put it in different jars.

Donate: My son gets to pick how much money he wants to donate and where he wants to donate.

Save: If my son has a specific item in mind he wants to buy, he can put money into his Save jar until he has what he needs; then, he can move that amount to the spend jar.

Spend: Money goes in the Spend jar when he is ready to purchase something specific.


My son has control over what he does with the money he has and the money he earns or is given in the future; I did not tell him that he had to spread the money out. He could have put it all in one jar if he chose.

First day of deposits:

My son had about $40 to spread around; he chose to put $20 in the donate jar, and he said wants to donate to kids who need food. That's my big-hearted kid! He put the remaining money in his Invest jar. The Save and Spend jars are empty.

In the past, we have donated to "No Kid Hungry," but we would like to know where others donate. If you have a preferred organization that provides food for kids, please let us know!

And please share your own stories of how you teach your kids to manage their money!

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