5 Ways to Teach Kids Good Money Habits

Financial literacy for kids: Teaching kids good money habits 

April is National Financial Literacy Month! Recognized in the U.S. for nearly 20 years, Financial Literacy Month is a time to reflect upon the key components of money management: earning, spending, saving, investing, borrowing and protecting. With “National Teach Children to Save Day” coming up on April 22, it’s also a great time to introduce the concept of money to young children and financial responsibility to teens. From buying them their first piggy bank to teaching them about online banking, here are five tips to help your kids build good money habits throughout life’s stages.  

Open a savings account

One of the best ways to set your children up for financial success is by opening a savings account for them. Whether you add money annually or monthly, each contribution can make a big difference over time. Southland offers a Jr. Savers Account, which can be established by a parent, grandparent or guardian, with as little as a $5 deposit, and features no service fees. In addition to in-person transactions, deposits or allowances can be made online or with the mobile banking app to make saving easy. Together, you and your child can set savings goals and watch the savings account grow! As a way to celebrate National Financial Literacy Month and help children create healthy money habits, Southland is matching deposits up to $25* when you open a new Jr. Savers account through April 30th. 

Start a piggy bank

Loose change easily becomes “lost change” without a place to put it! In addition to opening a savings account for your kids, having a piggy bank or designated area to put change can help convey the concept of money, and act as a clear and simple visual of how saving works. This process can also be a valuable teaching tool for how to identify pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half dollar or dollar coins, and understand the value of each. The next step is magic to both kids and adults – trading in all those saved-up coins for cash! Southland Credit Union Members can exchange coins for free at the coin counter of their nearest branch location

Play money games with them 

When the process of learning about money can be made into a game, it becomes both fun and educational for kids. Studies also show that games can help them remember valuable concepts more! Imagination-related games like setting up a “store” with price tags and fake money can help children understand how money is processed in the real world. The free Southland Jr. app is a digital resource (available on Google Play and the App Store) that adults can use to teach their kids financial literacy. Created for children ages 2 to 12, these interactive games are led by Piggums the cheerful pig and include modules on topics like setting savings goals. There’s also a chores section that gives families the opportunity to assign and follow up on household tasks.  

Teach teens to budget, save and invest

Birthday cash, babysitting cash and more… As teens begin to earn money of their own, opportunities arise to teach them how to spend and save wisely. One question parents often have is, “What should my teenager pay for?” Teaching them about wants, such as new material possessions, versus needs, like food and shelter, can help them budget for the extra items they want to save and pay for. To help with budgeting, saving and investing knowledge, Southland’s Achieve for Teens financial wellness program features engaging playlists of content with three to five 10-minute modules covering each topic. Developed for teens in 7th to 12th grade, these tools are an informative and engaging way to understand finances, money management and business, with courses on investing basics, compound interest rates and more.

Open a teen checking account 

An additional way for teenagers to put money knowledge into practice is by opening a bank account for them. Southland’s Teen Checking account is created for teens ages 13 to 19 and features no service fees. With joint access by a parent or guardian, this checking account is a responsible way for teens to manage their own money with parental guidance. Setting responsible money habits, like saving, is easy with free eStatements and online and mobile banking. The account also comes with a free Visa debit card and offers access to nearly 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs, ensuring that your children always have access to funds when they need it. Whether your teenager is searching for their first job or heading off to college, this account is one of the best options for them to gain financial independence with boundaries. 

From imaginary “play” money at a young age to adding money into savings accounts for when they’re older, teaching your kids about money early on helps them become financially responsible and independent adults. Establishing savings and checking accounts for them helps pave their way to financial success. When searching for the best savings accounts and teen checking accounts for your children, look for options that offer no service fees and no minimum balance requirements. For more finance-related news, be sure to follow Southland Credit Union on social media, and happy National Financial Literacy Month! 


*Membership is subject to eligibility. Individuals that open a new Southland Jr. Savers account April 1-30, 2022 will be eligible for a matching deposit up to a maximum of $25 at the time of account opening. Match is considered interest and will be reported on 1099 to the IRS. Only one deposit match per unique social security number. Multiple Southland Jr. accounts under the same social security number do not qualify. Member does not qualify if they have an existing Southland Jr. account or if they have had a Southland Jr. account closed within the last 12 months. If new account is closed within six months of account opening, the match will be deducted from the account at closing.