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6 Cool Ways To Teach Kids How To Save Money From Home!

Updated on March 26, 2014
The ants are weak but they are clever enough to store food for the rainy days.
The ants are weak but they are clever enough to store food for the rainy days. | Source

Simple ways to teach your child to earn and save money!

Teaching your child to earn money at an early age helps them understand the value of working for a living. They teach themselves to save because they "worked hard" to find it. Saving money is almost everyone's goal in life, why not show it to the kids while it's not too late?

I grew up in an environment where my father didn't provide my school allowance. Instead, he planted 50 lemon trees in our farm. Every Sunday, I have to go with him to pick "my lemons". Whatever I personally harvested is mine. I packaged them by 50-pieces or 100-pieces and sold it around the neighborhood or to small grocery stores. All the proceeds goes to my pocket.

I sold my produce at a lower price than my competitors. I don't have an overhead to think of in the first place, except fixing my nails from the yellow stains from harvesting through the branches. My product sold like hotcakes and I ended up to have more money than my middle-income-family counterparts at school.

In this tough economic times, I will suggest 6 ways for your child to earn and save money. These are ordinary ways that most of us can do at home.

Recycling Center
Recycling Center
California Refund Value (CRV) label
California Refund Value (CRV) label

1) Recycling

Let me start this topic from my actual experience at home. My girls have "growing-up" expenses that strains our family budget. To compromise, we agreed that they take turns to receive the money from our recycling activity at home.

How do you know if it is recyclable? Read the Refund Value (for California, it is California Refund Value or CRV) label. It should indicate your state and the amount of (C)RV - like 5 cents or 10 cents. When you buy at the grocery, the (C)RV is usually charged separately. You should get the money back through recycling.

The common recyclable products are:

  • water bottles
  • water containers
  • cans (soda, juice, etc)
  • plastic bottles

In California, effective March 1, 2012 recycling centers will now accept items that doesn't have CRV labels on 2 conditions:

  • The recyclable value 1/2 less the price
  • There is one item in the pile that has CRV label on it

My original idea was, whoever is getting the money, will be the one in-charge of collecting "recyclables" at home and placing it in the bin.The average resale value of our recycling is $20 every two months. But it went further than that, my girls started bringing back their water bottles and soda/juice cans from school. Even when they go out to the mall, they carry their recyclables back home. They do not throw it away anymore!

2) Couponing

My daughter started couponing a few months ago. There is a television show called "Extreme Couponing" which features college students who barely make ends meet. This show inspired her.

After watching several episodes, she got the idea how to save money from the discounts and free items. She started with the basics:

  • Reading the store coupons we receive from the mail and sorting them into groups.
  • Researching on-line coupons
  • Writing the companies for products samples and asking for more manufacturers' coupons
  • Buying the Sunday newspaper that has a lot of coupons inside
  • Understanding the coupon policy of the stores
  • Announcing to friends and family that she is now couponing. People started to hand her their own coupons

We schedule our trips to the grocery stores twice a month. I prepare the list and my daughter sorts out the discounts and freebies that she can make. Our savings averages about $25 dollars each trip. As a gesture of goodwill, I give her the money we have saved through her coupons.

Today, she has learned the tricks of the trade. As a full time college student, she make sure she works on her coupons during the weekends. I dd not ask her to do it, but I am strongly encouraging what she has started.

Couponing For Beginners

3) Cash Rewards

Cash rewarding system for a job well done works well in our home. As an example, we have been practicing cash gifts for good grades they receive from school. So far, it is effective for us.

The girls' rewards equivalent to their school report card:

  • Grade of A = $20
  • Grade of B = $10
  • Grade of C = minus $5

My mother-in-law, who has a doctorate in education, supports the cash rewarding system for students. In fact, she suggested we try this at home. I give her the credit for the success of my girls as consistent honor students at school.

A word of advise to parents: always remember that the benefit of your cash rewarding system should exceed the cost of your money.

Other activities can be rewarded with cash as well. It includes kids doing household chores, running an errand, assigning them appropriate tasks, etc. Your child needs to understand that money is not everything in this world. It is a compensation of their hard work and they can choose to save for rainy days or spend it all in the end.


Johnny, if you had 5$ and you asked your father for 3$ more, how many dollars would you have?
I would have five dollars...
You don't know your arithmetic, Johnny...
You don't know my father, Mrs. Mutch...

-by Lukaroski

4) Matching Savings

A child can already be saving up money on their own. I know kids who keep part of their school allowance in piggy banks. This is a good place to start encouraging them to save more.

As an incentive for their efforts, you match the money they saved. Doing this on their birthdays makes it more special. Whatever money is in their piggy bank or in their bank account, you give the same amount as their "bonus for saving". This concept is the same as matching what they have saved.

You can have a ceiling threshold if you prefer limiting your contribution. The maximum dollar value that you match on their savings should be clearly stated from the beginning. This way, you have a clear agreement before they start expecting more from you. As a precaution, do not disappoint your child by not living up with the bargain from your end. You need to pay up what your promised.

5) Gardening or Poultry - Converting Nature To Business

From my childhood experience, gardening and selling my own harvest taught me many things in life. I learned simple commerce and trade of exchanging products for money. During my lemon-business years, I interacted with many small business owners and did learned a lot from them. I understood the hard work to earn for a living.

There are many gardening and poultry opportunities available for you. Technology has shrunk the need for big farms if you want to cultivate plants or herbs from home. Both your local and national governments have training and learning resources for would-be entrepreneurs.

The internet itself has a vast source of information for a specific business interest you and your child would like to start doing. I suggest for the parents to do a good research before venturing into the trade. Make your garden or poultry business simple and doable for the child. Do not expect them to manage it. Remember that your objective is, you are teaching them to earn money if they work for it.

6) Garage Sale

Garage sale may sound a sporadic weekend business but it is a good training ground for your child to earn. Instead of throwing broken things from the closet, you can ask your child to take care of their stuff so they can sell it next summer. The child's motivation to earn in the future will improve his sense of responsibility by taking good care of its own material possessions.

Also, think about it, talking to people and selling things from home teaches your child to be a good salesman too. Dealing with the "buyers" is not an easy task. A child can overcome shyness from speaking up if they continuously do business conversations with a lot of people.

Make it fun!

Make it fun for them. Their mind-set of earning an honest living will be carried through adulthood. As parents, we can only do as much to teach our child how to handle money. Sometimes it can be frustrating, other times it will be a huge success. Consistency is the key. Teach them continuously how to earn and save money. In 2012, the American family discuss finances with their children only 25.8 times a year (

Letting your child earn on their own will make a big difference on their financial decisions when they are all grown up. As much as possible, make yourself as an example too. Being a parent, I understand that managing your own income is already hard to do. How much more saving some of it. Therefore, what's your obligation to your child regarding money? By doing your part, teaching them the best way you can on financial responsibility.

Copyright © 2012 The Girls. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without permission prohibited.


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      Rochelle 5 years ago

      Instead of doing Garage sells, if you donate, you can take the item off your income tax, and you can price it for what it's really worth. When we moved, some people told us we could get a lot of money doing a Garage sell, so we let them do it, they only made $100, for the bunk bed that was sold, my mom was going to donate and write it off for $200 (it was in great condition). All of it combined could have been written off as $900

    • the girls profile image

      the girls 5 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      Thank you Precy! More green bucks for our recyclables :-)

    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 5 years ago from USA

      Wow! These was really great tips! We use coupons too and recycling. And glad to learn about the recycling centers now accepting non CRV recyclables, I didn't know about that. Voted up! Really enjoyed this hub! :)