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"Mom, I Need Some Money"

Penny-Wise

Kids usually need a nudge before they'll start socking away those dollars. Financial experts Jayne A. Pearl and Janet Bodnar offer easy-to-do money-saving advice.

  1. Create goals and guidelines. It's easier to save for something concrete, like an electric guitar or the first college tuition payment, than for something abstract like "the future." Calculate how much he can afford to put away each week, and how much he'll have after a month, six months, one year, etc.
  2. Provide incentives. Create a matching program where you give a dollar, 50 cents -- or any amount you can afford -- for every dollar she saves. Another option is to offer to contribute a certain amount to her bank account if she reaches an agreed-upon sum by a specified date.
  3. Defray costs. For birthdays and holidays, give them gift cards to their favorite stores, coffee shops, and movie theaters, so they don't always have to use pocket money.
  4. Make allowance tougher to access. Consider paying an older teen's allowance by check or deposit in a bank account. Kids are less likely to spend it all if they have to withdraw it first.
  5. Encourage awareness. By eliminating just one weekly $6 fast-food outing with friends, your teen will be able to save up enough in one year to splurge on some "can't live without" item, like an iPod.

  6. Help your child learn to delay gratification. Bonus lesson: After seeing how long it can take to save up for something pricey, he may realize he really didn't want it as much as he thought.