Turn saving money into a game kids want to play



August 7, 2019

Your kids will want to save money if you make it fun.

Turn saving into a game and it’ll soon become a habit.

Habits are frustrating. Bad ones, like leaving their clothes around the house, can be hard for kids to break.  While good ones, like saving money, are hard to form. As parents, one way you can help them get started is by making the habit-forming process fun.

We’re talking gamification. And here are some ideas for how you can use it to help your kids build the habit of saving money.

One reason gamification works is because it taps into people’s natural desires to compete and achieve.

You can have your kids set weekly or monthly savings goals, then come up with games to help them achieve them. For example:

  • Bonus chores. Make a list of chores, like dusting baseboards, and challenge your kids to earn as much allowance as they can before the deadline.
  • Challenge the mind. Set a learning challenge, like reading books, memorizing verses or doing extra math drills. The winner gets an allowance bonus.
  • Find cash in clutter. See who can resell the most unused video games or toys in one month.

Notice that the competition can be against each other or themselves. Another idea is to put the kids in charge of low- or no-cost activities.  Here are a couple suggestions:

  • Family dinner. Give them a budget for the evening meal. They get to pick the recipe and the ingredients from the store, but they have to stick to the budget, or better yet come in under budget. If they do, they get to keep the money saved and put it toward their savings goal.
  • No-money day. Let them research and plan a day of family activities that are totally free, including things like a concert in the park, having a picnic at the beach or geocaching. Decide together how much money they saved that day and put part of all of it toward their savings goal.

It makes good sense to build your lessons and values into the gamification process. That could look like pledging to match their savings account deposit if they meet their goal or making a donation to a favorite nonprofit on their behalf.

To help you make this gamification process work for your kids, ECCU offers Start Young spending and savings accounts. You can learn all about them and open an account here.


Category: Common Cents