The Road to Financial Responsibility: Pointers for Parents at Every Stage

Without the opportunity to practice making wise money decisions, children won’t learn these valuable lessons until much later in life. While students are home, now is a good time to start teaching them the importance of saving. On April 24, 2020, the American Bankers Association is inviting parents to join them in Teach Children to Save Day. Here’s a list of tips to help you, the parent, teach your children financial responsibility at any age.

General tips

Save the Money You Earn:

  • Save 50 cents a day in loose change – This could save you $15 monthly, $180 yearly
  • Drink one less soft drink a day – This could save you $22 monthly, $264 yearly
  • Bring lunch to school – This could save you $40 monthly, $480 yearly
  • Eat out two few times a month – This could save you $30 monthly, $360 yearly
  • Buy store brands – This could save you $10 monthly, $120 yearly
  • Use fewer cell phone features – This could save you $10 monthly, $120 yearly
  • Conserve gas (share rides with friends) – This could save you $20 monthly, $240 yearly

Pre-school through 2nd grade

  • Ask relatives to contribute to a college fund instead of giving toys.
  • Start saving early by opening a college savings account or exploring 529 college savings plan options, available in every state.

3rd through 5th grade

  • Take your kids to the bank to gain an understanding of depositing money and making basic transactions.
  • Use allowance to teach kids about saving and spending money early on.
  • Create a saving jar, spending jar, sharing jar, and investing jar to show the different ways that money can be organized and used.

6th through 8th grade

  • Help your kids find simple jobs, such as babysitting or car washing, to start earning and saving money.
  • Include your children when planning finances that involve them so they can learn how to make sound financial decisions.
  • Take your kids to the grocery store. Have them help make decisions about what to buy based on your budget.

9th and 10th grade

  • When starting a first job, help your child create a savings and spending plan so they learn smart strategies for using their money in the future.
  • Research scholarships and other college funding resources now to cover the rising cost.
  • There are a lot of expenses when your child goes off to school. Set a goal and start saving together for housing, travel and other costs.

11th and 12th grade

  • Talk to your teen about credit and avoiding identity theft. They should understand the implications of accumulating debt and aim to pay off their monthly balance in full.
  • Help your teen learn about scholarships, investments and funding plans now so they’re better prepared to make decisions on what college, trade school or university to attend.
  • Ask relatives and friends to contribute to a savings fund as a graduation gift.


Students – This season of life is the best time to practice good money-management habits. If that seems overwhelming, we can help you start off on the right foot. Click here for more information on how to open your first checking account.

ABA Foundation Needs vs Wants Coloring Sheet

Money Smart for Youth – Parent Guides from the FDIC

How to Talk to Your Kids About Money – American Bankers Association