How to save money with a family fun jar
Are you tired of loose change jangling in your pocket or weighing down your purse? Why not create a family fun jar and collect those coins for a special activity? As North Americans become more careful with their spending, family vacations, trips to the zoo and even children’s dance or hockey lessons have become unaffordable luxuries.
The family fun jar is a great way for the whole family to get involved in saving money and watching it grow. And, in a society focused on instant gratification, it provides an opportunity to teach your kids the value of waiting, and saving for something they really want.
Once you get started, you’ll be surprised how quickly the coins add up. Even if you’re only able to deposit $5 a week, in six months you’ll have $130, which may be enough to take the family to a theme park for the day. Here are some tips to get started:
Set a goal – Some families leave the goal open and then choose their reward once the jar is full but children are usually more excited about participating if it’s tied to something they want. Saving from the jar can go towards a big event like a vacation or something smaller like a new bicycle. For kids, seeing is believing so you might want to start with a smaller goal that can be achieved fast and save more ambitious ones for the second or third round.
Choose the jar – Transparent jars work best because you can see the amount grow each week, but any container with a lid can be used. The size of the container is dictated by the cost of the goal. A 5-gallon water bottle is better-suited if you’re planning to save for a week-long vacation. If it’s a new video game console or a season of ballet lessons, a large pickle jar may suffice.
Make it special – Success rests on getting the whole family motivated so get everyone involved. Invite each person to add stickers, photos or other mementos that will help them ‘keep their eye on the prize’ and not lose interest. Keep the jar in a high-traffic, visible area so that each time someone finds themselves with extra change, they’ll contribute.
Find the money – Filling the jar is easy. Each day when you come home, empty your pockets or purse of loose change or tattered bills and toss them in. If a relative gives the children a surprise gift of a few dollars, it can go in the fund. Earmark any pennies found under the cushions or on the sidewalk. Be proactive; look around for sports equipment, toys or other items that can be sold at a garage sale or online. In short, any funds that are outside of your normal household budget are fair game.
Count and cash it in – When the jar is full, make a night of counting the cash and rolling coins. Pop some popcorn and get a bunch of coin wrappers and a calculator. When you have all the coins rolled, deposit them in the bank. Check first to find out if they require any additional information to accompany the rolled coins. Some banks will even give you paper or plastic coin wrappers.
To keep the momentum going, pick another goal and start the process all over again. Not only will you enjoy spending the money, you’ll be instilling the habit of saving with your children.
Do you have questions about the everyday management of your money? Call Everyday Money, a toll-free, personalized and confidential financial helpline. This complimentary member benefit can provide you with access to accredited counselors who can answer questions about budgeting, planning and more. For more information, call 800-444-3043 or click here.
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