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FDIC Consumer News

Spring 2015

For Grades 3-5: The Creation of a Comparison Shopper

Dad and son making purchase at storeKids in this age group are ready for meaningful lessons about saving and spending money wisely. Many also are ready to open their first savings account, if they haven't already. Here are key concepts to teach.

Think before you buy: Continue discussing with children how to separate their needs from their wishes. Also help them think how to prioritize how they use their money. Consider, for example, making a household shopping list and asking your child to number the items in the order of importance. Also use visits to the store to point out how advertisements can lead to unnecessary purchases or steer consumers toward products that are more expensive than alternatives.

Try to stick to a budget: Creating a simple spending plan at this age will teach him or her to set limits on expenditures, prioritize spending choices, and avoid running out of money. Younger kids may verbally agree to a spending plan, while older kids can write it down. You will likely need to help the child keep written track of spending so both of you can monitor the progress.

Consider opening a savings account with your child: Shop together for the account, and pay particular attention to the account balance needed to open the account and to maintain it without incurring fees. Also point out the interest rate, which will be expressed in advertisements as the "Annual Percentage Yield" (APY). Many banks offer special savings accounts for young people that can be opened and maintained for less money than a regular savings account.

Consider reviewing with your child one of the savings account statements that shows transactions. "If you also encourage your child to keep a log of the money in the account, that could be an opportunity for you to work together on a simple math exercise and learn the value of keeping track of money," said Luke W. Reynolds, Chief of the FDIC's Outreach and Program Development Section.

And when you're at the bank to open or access an account, ask a customer service representative to talk about what the bank does (it takes deposits, makes loans, and so on) and that money kept in a bank is safe.

Know that there are different ways to pay for things: Children can benefit from understanding where the money is coming from when people pay for purchases by writing a check or swiping a credit or debit card. Use your bank and credit card statements and ATM withdrawal receipts to explain that actual cash is either deducted from an account or it must be paid back by a certain date. If you'd like useful information about how to pay for purchases safely in person or online, see our Spring 2014 article.