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3 jars of money :: a metaphor fro life

my 5 year old son has been bitten early by the money bug. he is beginning to feel the powerful lure of the dollar and knows that it is a means to get him things he wants. he has already asked us for an allowance (which we have decidedly said no to), and is further fascinated by the notion of winning money as on a scratch ticket (sadly, after noticing that the world is littered with them and inquiring about them).

admittedly, i am not the greatest of finacial planners by any stretch of the imagination and it is something i need to continually work on, especially this day in age. as a child i remember my feelings about money more than i remember the practicality of how to manage it. i had a big plastic piggy bank that i regularly pilchered quarters and dollar bills from, tenaciously using a bobby pin to coax them out the top slot as it had no other access. saving my money was never a big priority as i was fortunate enough to have all my needs met, and many of my wants, when i was growing up...yet wanting and having i realize are only a small part of the equasion.

i want my son to have the entire formula, and i hope to help him gain the skills and desire to successfully control his financial destiny. i see managing all those nickles and dimes today as a powerful metaphor for living a balanced and happy life tomorrow.

inspired by an article written by another mom, i adopted her wonderful idea of 3 jars of money. the concept is simple enough for a young child to understand but the richness of the lessons are endless and can be built upon as my son gets older, which is why i love it!

together, my son and i labeled 3 containers: save, give, spend. we talked a bit about what each of these meant and why they are all important...that when the save jar is full we will get to go to the bank and deposit the money into his savings account, using his very own bank book, and he can watch that number grow and when the give jar is full he can decide what cause he wants to support and how good it feels to be able to help those in need...then of course how when his spend jar fills up what he might decide to go and buy with that money.

he happily went to the task of sorting his money among the three jars, excited that he could decide where his coins would go. as he learns this new concept, we agreed that when he has money he must put something into each jar, but he gets to choose how much goes in each (of course most went into the spend jar, but that's ok for now). when he is older i imagine we will work out percentages in a more mature and mathmatical way as we build on the complexities of budgeting and saving. by then though, i hope he will be well on his way to understanding the freedom that comes from being responsible and thoughtful with his money. it is an invaluable gift i think.