Are you a good saver? Is it easy to save money or is it tough? Here are some simple tricks to help you save money. We talked to a few people here at CTCU to hear real life stories of how their parents taught them about money or how they teach their kids about money to hopefully help you have easier money discussions.

Trick #1: Four Banks, Not One!
Want a smart way to control your money? Use four little jars. Label each jar with the way you’ll use the money: SAVE, SPEND, INVEST, and GIVE.

A SPENDING JAR for money to be used soon on everyday things.
A SAVING JAR for money to be used later on larger items.
An INVESTING JAR for money that will be used in the future.
A GIVING JAR for gifts to help others.

Decorate each jar with stickers, photographs, cut-outs from magazines — or your own drawings. The pictures you chose should show how the money will be used. Show off the jars in your room! If you’re trying to build up your savings we encourage you to open a youth savings account, this way you’re not tempted to spend that money you’re saving.

“To help my kids learn about money and saving money I give my kids eight quarters a week. Of those eight quarters, two go to a jar labeled ‘give’ and the other six they can save or spend. The ‘give’ quarters are designed to help them develop a philanthropic mindset. They can choose to give that money to any cause they want. In the past they donated to the American Heart Association, their church, and fundraisers to help sick classmates. To help them learn to save the other six quarters, I will give them an additional two dollars once they reach $10 in saved quarters. To help them learn about spending I do not buy them an additional toys or games they want. They must use their own money for those purchases.” A CTCU employee on teaching kids the importance of saving.

Trick #2: Set Savings Goals!
How much should you save each month? That depends what you’re saving for. For example, you want to buy a new bike, but your parents say that you have to save $100 of the bike’s price before they will pay the rest. It can be tough to earn $100 in a short amount of time. That’s why money-smart Super Savers have savings goals – and stick to them. If you saved $25 each month ($6.25 a week), you could buy that bike in four months! And if you saved $50 each month, you could buy that bike in two months! Sweet! The more you can save, the quicker you get the bike. Money-smart Super Savers who stick to their savings goals make things happen!

Trick #3: Save First, Not Last!
What’s the FIRST thing you do when you get paid? You divide your money and put it in your four jars. If you want that bike, you have to be sure that money goes into the SAVE jar FIRST. Talk to your parents about your plan. They might separate that SAVE money from your allowance, so that you can easily put it in the SAVE jar right away. Here’s why putting your SAVE money into your jar first is important. Listen up! THIS IS A BIG RULE about money. You can spend it only once. Let’s say you use your SPEND money go to a movie. You have all of your allowance in your pocket, and you spend $5.50 of your SAVE money on pizza and soda. That money is gone. You can’t use it for your bike. Your dream of a bike just got farther away.

Trick #4: Cut Your Expenses!
Get a notebook that you use only to keep track of your money. Write down any money you spend. Find a journal and keep a money diary. List what you bought, when you bought it, how much it cost, and why you bought the item. Your money diary will teach you something about yourself. For example, you may find that you spend $5 a week on snacks from vending machines at school. Are those snacks worth that money? Or would you rather save that money for something else? Don’t eat the snacks, and you get closer to buying the bike.

“When I was in the third grade my dad had me create my own budget and pay for my own schools supplies. I remember being so frustrated, but it taught me a valuable lesson on money at a young age. I realized that things add up quickly and that creating a budget is important every time you shop. It’s easy to spend more money on something because it’s trendy, but that little amount each of those items were sometimes isn’t worth the money you would save.”  A CTCU employee on being taught the importance of saving.

Trick #5: When You Do Spend, be a Smart Shopper!
Okay, you’ve got some money and you’re ready to buy a movie on DVD. You’ve saved that money, so make it work for you. Remember to shop smart! Check out prices. You can buy that DVD plenty of places. Figure out where you can get the best buy for your money. Look for sales and coupons. If you save a dollar, that means you can spend it on something else. Or add it to your SAVE jar for your bike.

No matter what kind of saver you are, the important thing is that you’re doing it! What saving tricks do you use to teach your kids better money habits?

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