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How to help your kids become money-savvy grownups

By Michelle Steffes
Member service representative at Dupaco’s Carroll, Iowa, branch

How to help your kids become money-savvy grownups

Dupaco’s Mackenzie Damm (left) watches as children play with their new tablets provided through the partnership of the Tri-County Child and Family Development Council Inc., Dupaco and the Dupaco R.W. Hoefer Foundation on Sept. 29, 2017 in Waterloo, Iowa. Thanks to the partnership, more Tri-County families are getting opportunities to break away from a paycheck-to-paycheck cycle by learning about thrift, budgeting, saving, credit history and goal setting.(D. Klavitter/Dupaco photo) Read more >

As parents, we’re constantly teaching our children.

From reminding them to use “please” and “thank you” to showing them how to drive, ultimately, we’re doing our part to help our kids grow into well-rounded, capable adults. An important part of that endeavor is teaching them how to be financially savvy.

By getting our children involved with their money—and ours—we can help them get money ahead long before they leave the nest.

Model money management.

Kids are always watching us. Take advantage of that by talking about how you manage your finances. Kids are never too young to learn about money.

When you pay with a credit card, talk about how you must pay for those purchases when your credit card statement arrives.

Talk about the bills you pay, and explain how your checking account works—how your paychecks go into the account and how you use those funds to both build your savings and pay your bills.

READ MORE: How to teach kids the value of a dollar

Involve kids in the kitchen.

We spend a lot of money to eat outside the home.

In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,  the average household spends $3,008 per year on dining out, a CNBC story reported.

Think about how much we—and our children—can save by cooking more meals at home. Teach your kids how to cook, and let them help you go through the ads to find the best deals and coupons to save even more.

The more your kids are involved in meal preparation, the more practice they will have when they move into their own homes.

Help them save, spend and share.

When you teach your kids the three pillars of money management—save, spend and share—you empower them to make decisions on their own and value their money.

Dupaco can help you do that. When you open a Dupaco savings account for your kids, they automatically become members of the DoPack Saver’s Club, which rewards kids for saving. We give them a piggybank so they can start saving money and get involved in watching their money grow.

As your kids become responsible for more of their purchases, help them create a budget so they know how much they can spend on gas, clothes and other purchases. Even if you’re still footing the bill for car insurance and other expenses, you can show teens how to start setting aside that money so they’re prepared for these expenses in the not-too-distance future.

Need help teaching this critical money skill? A Dupaco money expert can help guide the conversation.

Consider two savings accounts.

As you help your children learn how to save, consider setting up a couple of accounts. I’ve had many parents request two savings accounts for their children—one the kids can’t touch and one they can use.

When kids want access to funds in that second savings account, the parents bring them to the credit union so they have to physically take out the cash, bring it to the store and watch it disappear when they buy the game or toy they wanted.

It’s a great way for kids to get hands-on experience with both saving and spending.

Save together for family fun.

Families can save together too.

I’ve worked with members who, when preparing for a family vacation, set out a savings jar for everyone to contribute to. As they acquire spare change, the parents and children put the coins into the jar. When it’s time for vacation, they take the jar to their credit union to find out how much they saved and bring the money with them to spend on souvenirs or extras.

I love this idea, because it’s a group effort for a memorable cause!

Take full advantage of your membership.

Show your kids how to take advantage of discounts—and how the savings add up.

As Dupaco members, you have access to discounts to some great events and destinations, including alpine slide rides at Chestnut Mountain Resort in Galena, Ill.; admission to Adventureland Park in Altoona, Iowa; and admission to Lost Island Water Park in Waterloo, Iowa.

There are plenty of other ways to save too, including discounted movie days and free admission days to family-friendly destinations.

Help your child open a checking account.

Encourage your children to open a checking account when they’re mature enough for that responsibility. There’s no magic age, but it’s often a good idea to begin using a checking account when they start getting paid for a part-time job or other odd jobs.

It’s one more way teens can practice managing their money. And with Dupaco’s Shine Online and Mobile Banking tools, they can easily keep tabs on the money coming in and out of their accounts.

Consider helping your child invest.

As your kids become older and more interested in how interest works, show them a compound interest calculator—and the benefits of saving early.

When they’re ready to start saving for their retirement, consider a tool such as Dupaco’s Launchpad. The account helps establish and grow savings to eventually open a retirement savings account—putting participants money ahead for years to come.

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