By Go-To Mom Dylan Newton, Beverly Hills, FL
I'm a big saver. I started saving young, putting my money in an old Nestlé Quick tin, carefully hoarding all that I collected from birthday, or the tooth fairy. When my daughter Devon was born, I wanted to instill in her the same saving habits, but with an upgrade from my Nestlé Quick can method.
We opened a 529 account for Devon at birth and set up an automatic deduction from our checking account to help pay for college. But this money was earmarked only for her education; it wasn't an account I could use to teach her the value of saving money. I needed something simpler to show her the power that comes with having your own money, and the discipline involved in saving it.
When Devon turned 4, we opened a savings account in her name. I made it a big ceremony by taking her into our local branch, letting her sign one of the signature cards (the other was in my name), and having the bank representative hand over the official black account register directly to her small hands.
At each birthday and holiday, she was asked to put at least half of the money sent to her from out-of-state relatives into her savings account. Many times, she deposited all of it, having no use for the money at that time. We even upped the ante, creating the "Mommy-Match Program," where Mommy (or Daddy) would match whatever she decided to save, transferring those funds to her growing account.
Admittedly, I would wince a little when Devon got that $50 dollar check for Christmas from her great-grandparents in New York. There were times when that good idea, the Mommy-Match Program, threatened to send our checking account into overdraft status. But, we stuck to it, and so did our daughter.
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