Since last September, my 11 year old son wanted to buy the Apple iPad. He mentioned that it is the coolest, best and greatest Apple gadget ever! As you can see he is an Apple fan.
But rather than demanding it this minute, he researched how much it would cost. Then, he calculated how many allowances, birthday gifts and other gifts he'd have to save to be able to afford it.
He waited the necessary time for the allowance (plus some pocket money put into his bank by his older sister), then happily went to the store and bought himself an iPad. This new Steve Jobs creation has been the attention of family and friends for a few weeks now - and I couldn't be prouder.
No, I'm not proud that he got a iPad. I'm proud of other things.
I'm proud that he didn't have a meltdown at the Apple store, demanding one now.
I'm proud that he didn't simply ask for or expect for me to just buy the iPad for him.
I'm proud that he knew to save diligently for it and not to spend money along the way.
I'm proud that even though he was really into saving for the IPad, he still put money aside for his favourite charity.
How did we get to this point? I really attribute it to three things....
First, we bring home the point time and time again that everything costs money and that Mom and Dad have to work to earn the money they have. Whenever we consider any purchase of any kind, this is an idea that's brought up. We also talk about how the more money we spend, the more Mom and Dad have to work, and we also point out that as he gets older, he'll also be working for money.
Second, we do not give in to any sort of meltdown, crying, or whining. No patience or tolerance for this.
Third, we help him mark his progress towards specific savings goals. Each week, he diligently chose to put his allowance into his piggy bank plus any other money he earned doing work around the house like filing for dad. All his money was used saving for his goal. Then, he would ask how much more he'd have to save and he started to get quite excited when he was close to the goal. The clear marking of progress - talking about it, seeing money build up in his bank - excited him far more than the delayed gratification brought him down.It works. If you want your kids to learn how to save, start young and be diligent. Our eleven year old gets it - it can be done!