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Teaching kids how to save for college

Teach your kids good financial habits.

Mother with young boy holding jar with coins.

College tuition continues to increase every year, so it's important to start saving for college as early as you can. Getting your kids involved when they're young can help them form valuable savings habits and alleviate some of your financial burden. These steps can help you get started:

Divvy up their pennies

Decide with your child how much of every dollar they earn will go toward spending, saving, etc. Set up separate banks for each category and help them split their earnings. This can simultaneously teach them to save for long-term needs and to spend only within their means.

Reward saving

Children might be more encouraged to save with a little incentive. At the end of every month, match all or part of what your children have saved, so they can watch their money grow even more.

Take a field trip together to the bank

Go old school and regularly deposit your children's cash and coins in person. They can experience the savings process firsthand and they can see how their money grows. If you utilize an online savings account, then act as the banker: Set a regular deposit date when your kids will bring you their allotted savings, and put that amount in their accounts.

Suggest cash gifts from relatives

If eager gift givers are looking for another idea, mention contributing to your kids' savings accounts or giving money. If it's the latter, remind your kids to divide it up according to their spending and saving categories.

Look for non-institutional scholarships

Yes, there are scholarships available as early as elementary school. Essay contests, science awards and more may come with cash prizes. If your child receives award money right away, consider investing it in a tax-advantaged college savings account.


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