Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Accidental Savings Plan

I have accidentally discovered a brand new way to get my 12 year old to save his money. Pay him in BIG bills! Sounds crazy but it has worked. He has a $50 bill that he refuses to part with. It all started with a visit to his grandparent’s house.

Fifty $50 Dollar Bill 7337x3107
One of the highlights of summer time for my kids is getting to spend time with their grandparents. They play Scrabble, build marvelous things with my Dad and generally get wonderfully spoiled for a week. In the midst of all the fun, my parents have discovered that my kids will also do plenty of summer chores for them. Things that my parents can’t (or don’t) want to do, such as detailing cars, washing windows and painting benches have become specialties for my kids! Grandparents tend to pay pretty darn well too.

This past summer, my 12 year old accomplished several of the big tasks for my parents. They paid him $50 and gave him a brand new, crisp $50 bill. He still has it and is determined to keep it for a very long time. There have been two instances where he has thought about buying a toy or game but has opted to save his money because he does not want to part his cash!

The desire to hang on to that $50 bill has caused him to analyze and critique his spending habits.  He really thinks about whether an item is "worth it or not".  

I know it is unrealistic to pay a child $50 on a normal basis. (Although my kids would really, really like to try it out!). However there is a way to give this a try without destroying your wallet. Encourage your child to save their ones and trade them in for a for a $5 dollar bill. Then trade two of those in for a $10 dollar bill. They can work their way up to a twenty, a fifty and oh my, a hundred dollar bill.

Getting kids to save their money can be a challenge. I have read books and blogs and articles for hours and it all comes down to finding the right thing to motivate your child.  For our 12 year old, the Accidental Savings Plan is the right motivation at the moment!

What creative ways have you motivated your child to save?


  1. That is a great idea! I just gave $50 to my 15 yo brother, and gave him a check he is going to have to deposit, and hopefully the hassle of withdrawing it (he doesn't have a debit card) will make him save it too.

  2. Nice story and nice idea! Time with grandparents is priceless, but the money aspect you shared was a good point. No matter where they get the money, having a big bill - and needing to break it if they want to spend it - might get them to think twice. There is something finite and impressive about a high denomination bill!