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Saving for That Big Purchase – Tips for Kids from Community Bank Mascots

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All kids and grown-ups know that saving money is hard work. However, if you save money regularly, you’ll have enough to buy something really special. It takes a lot of patience to earn enough to buy a new bike, video game console, or concert tickets, but it’s worth it!

No one knows more about helping kids save money than community bank mascots, so the NerdWallet Banking team turned to them for some good advice. Here’s what they had to say about saving big, making money, buying their favorite things, and hanging out with kids like you.

Rex the Dinosaur
President, Rex’s Kids Club
ViewPoint Bank (Plano, TX)

NerdWallet: Why is it important to save money?

Rex: Well, popcorn—my favorite food—doesn’t grow on trees, you know. Oh wait, it grows from plants, so that’s not a good example. The point is I can’t just traipse through a cornfield to get my popcorn fix. Everything costs money. When you’re a kid, you may want things like toys or videogames. When you’re a grown-up, you have to pay for boring things like water and electricity. By saving money, you can pay for the things you want and need, and prepare for emergencies or major expenses like a car or college.

What should you do if you want to buy something, but it’s too expensive?

The easy answer is to save up for it. It takes a lot of patience to save, but it’s worth it. However, once you have saved up for something, it’s wise to shop around. Do some research and find the best price. Also, ask yourself, “Is this something I really want or need? Or just something my friends think I should have to be cool.” You just may realize that something less expensive will meet your needs (and kudos to you for not always following the crowd).

How can kids make extra money?

It’s really up to your parents, of course. Ask your mom or dad if you can do extra chores around the house to earn money. Maybe sort socks, empty the dishwasher, or mow the lawn. If your family ever has a garage sale, ask if you can sell some of your old toys and keep the money. Or maybe someone would like to have their dog walked more often and would be willing to pay. Be prepared to pick up the yucky stuff though. That’s part of the job.

When you have a question about money, whom do you ask?

I ask the smart folks at ViewPoint Bank. They know so much, they sometimes go out to schools and teach students how to save money and manage it. That’s an important skill to have as a grown-up, and it’s best to learn it while you’re young. You can get into a lot of trouble if you’re a grown-up and aren’t wise with your money.

What would you do with a million dollars?

Well, things get pretty cramped where I live (in the storeroom of Viewpoint’s marketing department), so I’d like to get some bigger digs, with a giant game room and my very own popcorn machine. Beyond that, I would save most of it in a bank account. You never know when you’ll need money for a rainy day. Plus, a bank pays you interest, so that money can make even more money. I’m too old for the ViewPoint Kids Club account, but if I were 18 or younger, I’d put some of it in that. I’d also give some to groups that help people like the North Texas Food Bank or Minnie’s Food Pantry. I love animals—even though most are scared of me—so I’d love to help some of the shelters for homeless dogs and cats. I wouldn’t quit my job as spokes-dinosaur though. I love it. The kids I meet are the best.

Money Mouse
Chief Executive Officer, Money Mouse Kids’ Club
Yoakum National Bank (Yoakum, TX)

Why is it important to save money?

Money Mouse: Saving money teaches you that it’s easy to build “Good For You” habits. The earlier you start saving, the easier it is to save. When you do, you’ll have money available for emergencies or for giving to charity. Your savings can also help pay for large items like a college education, a car or even a house.

What should you do if you want to buy something, but it’s too expensive?

First, you need to decide if the item is a “want” or a “need”. This can take a lot of thinking! If it’s a “want”, how bad do you want it? Do you really want to lose the money you worked so hard to save? If it’s a “need”, is it an immediate need or can you wait to save more money for it? If you decide to purchase your item, make sure you shop around for the best deal. Lastly, if you need the item right away and you don’t quite have enough money saved up, go talk to your banker before you use a credit card. Your banker can help you find the least expensive way to purchase your item.

How can kids make extra money?

Talk to your parents! Many times you can earn money for doing your chores well or getting good grades. You may also get some money for a gift on a special occasion. If you’re old enough, consider getting a part-time job after school or on the weekends.

When you have a question about money, whom do you ask?

When I have a question about money I talk to my friends at Yoakum National Bank. You see, because I have been going to the bank to save my money, I have gotten to know them and they know me! If you can’t make it into your bank, talk to your parents or your teachers.

What would you do with a million dollars?

Wow! I would do so many things. I would donate to a charity that I like, I would have some gourmet cheese, I would go on a trip to visit all my Kids’ Club friends but, most importantly, I would save some for the future!

Buck and Penny
Chief Ambassadors, Eaglet Savings Club
Univest Corporation (Souderton, PA)

Why is it important to save money?

Buck: When you’re a kid, your parents usually buy things for you: food, clothing, schooling, entertainment and more. When you reach your early- to mid-twenties, you’ll start to pay for most (if not all) of your own expenses. You’ll look for a full-time job, which will enable you to pay those expenses.

Penny: That’s right. Now is a great time to learn how to save money so that you can make smart financial decisions as an adult and, eventually, work toward achieving your dreams.

What should you do if you want to buy something, but it’s too expensive?

Penny: Throughout your life, there will be things you’ll want or need to buy. And you’ll always be faced with a choice: is my desire for this item worth the cost of the item? Understand this: some things are worth the extra money. But with experience, you’ll learn that some things you really want now won’t be as important to you in, say, a few weeks or months. If you can make a distinction between wants and needs, you’ve taken a big step toward growing up and making wise decisions.

How can kids make extra money?

Buck: It’s important to work hard, and that’s a good way to make money, too. Ask your parents if you can do extra chores around the house, sell lemonade in the neighborhood, babysit, mow the lawn, or shovel snow. If you’re old enough, you might be able to work on a weekend or get a summer job.

When you have a question about money, whom do you ask?

Penny: You’ll learn a lot about money from watching your parents. They’re a great source of information about saving and spending money because they’ve had a lot of practice.

Buck: Definitely. And parents, if you’re reading this, we know that sometimes you have questions about money, too! It’s not always easy to know how to talk about it, but you can start by showing your kids all the ways that you save money. When you model responsible money management behavior, your kids will notice and mimic you.

What would you do with a million dollars?

Buck: I think we’d spend it very differently. Penny and I are twins, but that doesn’t mean our personalities are the same!

Penny: Not at all! We have different attitudes about money, too.

Buck: I like to spend my money on things I can use right now. I’d use my $1 million to buy several years of season tickets for my favorite sports team – the Philadelphia Eagles! I’d also buy some Eagles’ memorabilia and tons of cool electronic gadgets.

Penny: I’m an organizer and a planner by nature, so I always like to save my money for something important. I keep my money in fuzzy pink purse to keep it safe until it’s time to take it to the bank. I would invest my $1 million wisely, retire early and spend a long, happy retirement pursuing my passions: dancing and reading.

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