My parents opened up a bank account for me when I was 10 years old. And guess what? I still use that account to this day! It is never too late, or early to start a banking account for your kids.
Growing up my parents instilled a ‘savers’ mentality and it has transitioned into my adulthood, where I am still known as a saver to this day (just ask my husband, ha!).
I opened accounts for my twin boys when they were 1, and I’m hoping to instill that saver mentality to them, too.
Read on for our picks for kids banking programs that are available to families and a few ideas on how different families help kids fund their checking accounts and teach littles about money and savings.
Ideas on funding a child’s savings account
1. In lieu of gifts
Contributor Jessica’s tip: When the boys were younger, I would tell grandparents, friends and families about the account if they wanted to opt into that instead of gifts that kids forget about (and that are pricey anyways). Twenty dollars towards a child’s savings account will sure make more of an impact than another plastic toy.
2. Match dollar for dollar
Grandma Ginger’s tip: When Amy was young and received birthday money we gave her an option: spend it, or if she chose to put it in her savings account, her father and I would match the funds to double the amount deposited.
3. Setting an 18-year goal
Janelle from our Facebook Neighborhood Group: We decided on an amount we wanted to have saved for each of our kids by the time they turn 18. We divided it up by each month and year and deposit that amount automatically. The money can then be used for big milestone purchases (college, home down payments, wedding, etc.). For us, it was easier to do a little each month than thinking of pulling out a big sum down the road.
4. Grandparent’s gift
Site Manager Cara’s tip: When both my kids were born, my grandparents opened account for each kiddo and put a generous couple hundred dollars in as a kickstart for their future accounts. This took the act of actually opening the account off my plate as a busy new mom where this definitely would’ve fallen off my to-do list. Since it’s already open, it’s then been easier to encourage the kids to use their accounts because it’s always been there.
5. State-funded deposits
A few moms in our neighborhood group shared that their children receive special checks from the government (social security for having parents of a certain age, minority status for Native American children, etc.) For those lucky enough to not need these funds day-to-day, the parents deposit the checks into their kids accounts for future use. One mom mentioned that with the new federal checks coming to families with young children, she plans to do this with the funds as well.
Where to open an account
Western State Bank (located in Mesa, Scottsdale, Chandler, Casa Grande, Sun City and Sun City West)
Amy’s whole family banks at the Mesa location and even when Cara has gone to deposit checks, she talks about how much of a hometown feel the bank offers to customers, including remembering her (and her kids) every time they come into the branch.
Western State Bank offers a Lil’ Buckaroo Savings Club that can make finances fun for the entire family. Kids build smart financial skills for tomorrow while making fun memories today.
The program boasts no minimum balance and no monthly service charges and is open to kids 12 and under. With each deposit of $10 or more, kids receive a special bonus in the form of Lil’ Bucks which can be redeemed for fun prizes in the Lil’ Buck Shop at the bank location.
They also offer exclusive, family-friendly events throughout the year for club members, activities and newsletters to promote financial literacy, as well as fun promos for kids, like their backpack giveaway during back-to-school season recently.
As kids get older, they can grow at Western State Bank by opening a tween/teen Future Checking account with the same zero minimums as kids accounts, but with a few more account features. The bank also offers scholarship opportunities for high school seniors and full-time college students.
Ways we’re teaching our kids about money
Financial Peace Junior Series
Contributor Katie’s tip: Dave Ramsey offers parents a toolkit to raise money-smart kids with their Financial Peace Junior guide. We started our youngest out on these when he was four years old. It comes with picture books, activity pages and a parents guide that helps provides insight into what money concepts kids are capable of understanding in different “ages & stages.”
Karyn from our Facebook Neighborhood Group: There is a little boy in our neighborhood who has a business where he will take your trash can to the curb on trash pick up days for $0.25. Most people leave him more and he’s done really well with it! Any time a kid has a business idea, encourage it and let them grow it!