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Everyday Cheapskate: Give Your Kids Flying Lessons

Mary Hunt on

A simple way to teach a child basic money management is to get four jars and label them: "giving," "long-term savings," "short-term savings" and "spend now." Clear plastic containers are best because your child will be able to see how the coins and currency are accumulating, but you won't worry about the hazards glass containers can present.

"Giving" is money your child gives to charity or church.

"Long-term savings" are for college or something far in the future.

"Short-term savings" are for something significant like a new bike or special toy.

"Spend now" is money your child can spend right away.

Using the four-container system, you may decide on a 10-30-30-30 plan, where 10% is designated for giving and 30% each for long-term, short-term and immediate spending. Or you can do 10-30-40-20. Whatever it is, make it nonnegotiable, and then help your children use their math skills while at the same time developing a habit of managing their money before they spend it,


Last, teach your children, "To whom much is given, much is required!" A simple spending journal is a way that children can become accountable for how and where they spend their money.

The goal of parenting is to help children grow wings to eventually fly away. Building financial confidence in your children's lives is one important way you can prepare them for the flight.

You may believe that you have lots of time to deal with the letting-go part of parenting. That may be true, but I can tell you from experience that it will be a lot easier if you start now.


Mary invites you to visit her at, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

Copyright 2021 Creators Syndicate Inc.



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