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The Family Piggy Bank: Dreaming, Earning, and Saving Together

Under our Christmas tree this year, there was a very mysterious package .  My daughter was baffled by the label– To: Our Family  Merry Christmas!  From: All of Us!

When she asked me about it, I assured her that, although it looked quite small, it was definitely going to be the very best present any of us opened on Christmas morning.

And here it is: Our family piggy bank. (OK, so ours is actually a Cash Cow.)  Isn’t she sweet?

How the Family Piggy Bank Project Works

All year long, we will all be putting money into our communal piggy bank.  We will be creative with ways to make more money available for savings, and plunk in there as much as we can.  Each month, we’ll open it, count it up, and record the amount.  We’ll put it in a larger jar somewhere we can see it, and see if we can match or exceed that amount in the next month.  At the end of the year, this is our special gift to ourselves– a big chunk of cash to use for TRAVEL.  We don’t know for sure yet where we’ll go– it all depends on how much we can save!  The end of the year is definitely around the time when we get the most anxious to go someplace warm and sunny, so I am personally hoping we can come up with enough for Greece.  We all have a list of places we’d like to see.  Amelia’s top choice is Spain.  Jeff would love to go just about anywhere in the Mediterranean.  We would all love to visit Morocco… The possibilities are endless!

Along with freeing up change and small bills here and there, we will be focusing on ways to actually earn some extra money throughout the year.  Last summer, Amelia’s American lemonade stand did pretty well; we’re thinking we could take it a step further this year, and maybe do a family lemonade stand at our local open market on some free Saturdays.  Jeff is trained to teach Positive Discipline classes, so he will look into leading a seminar or two this year through my daughter’s Montessori school.  You know that earning money through this blog is one of my personal goals this year, so some of that will definitely go toward travel!  Other things that will help our travel fund grow are selling things we don’t need, and forgoing little luxuries, putting that money toward our dreams instead.  The last couple of Fridays, we stayed home instead of enjoying our usual pub nights, and put that £15 into the cash cow, and just enjoyed playing games at home by the fire instead.  All these things really add up, and it’s been fun to work together toward a really fun dream/ goal!

I want my daughter to understand that money is a tool, and we can choose how we want to handle it.  The amount of money available will vary greatly through life, but there are some basics that will always apply.  We give our money away to others who need it; we use it to bless people through gifts and hospitality; we defer little things we want in favor of bigger and better options in the future; we don’t waste it on unnecessary purchases, and try to be smart about how we choose to use it.  The same goes for most of life’s resources, doesn’t it?  And now, we are working together as a team to make some big travel dreams really happen!  It has been fun to see Amelia embrace the idea, and get excited about contributing her own allowance money to the fund, and helping to think of ways to either save money or earn more.

Imagine: If we put in an average of £1 per person each day, that would add up to over £1,000 at the end of the year!  When it comes time to find out what we have to work with and how we want to spend it, we will sit down as a family and plan out the budget and logistics of our trip (for example, a certain little someone really wants to go to Disneyland Paris someday– that is definitely an option, but it will be valuable to price that experience and see how it would compare to staying longer somewhere, or taking a side trip, etc.)  I think this part of the experience will also be a really valuable and empowering lesson for Amelia.

We’re excited about the potential for this plan, and where it could take us.  I’m also enjoying this co-operative lesson with Amelia, and hope it’s a really positive experience that she will be able to remember as she grows.

UPDATE:  Here are the results of your Family Piggy Bank Project!

Did you have a valuable learning experience about money when you were a kid?  What do you want to teach your children about money now or in the future?

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14 Responses to The Family Piggy Bank: Dreaming, Earning, and Saving Together

  1. Gemma Mills (mymillsbaby) January 14, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    I love this. It’s utter genius and I wish you every success with it. I think we might be joining you in a few years time x

    • Ariana Mullins January 15, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

      Thank you, Gemma! We are all pretty excited, and I am already a little antsy to count up what we’ve saved since Christmas!

  2. Michelle Twin Mum January 14, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

    Brilliant idea, I really love it. Good luck collecting the money up. Mich x

  3. Crystal January 14, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

    I love this idea and just might use it plus it involves the kiddos that way they don’t take travel for granted.

    – Crystal

    http://www.learning2exhale.com

    • Ariana Mullins January 15, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

      Hi Crystal. I know what you mean about taking travel for granted. I often wonder if Amelia realizes how lucky she is to have seen so much already. I am just now getting to go places I’d always dreamed of visiting. I think that it will be neat to help her understand that doing this kind of stuff takes work and sacrifice, but is absolutely possible if it’s a big priority.

  4. Robin January 15, 2013 at 1:55 am #

    I do believe I’m going to use this idea when J gets old enough to understand. What a clever way of teaching and including Amelia in family decisions.

    http://www.keepingrobin.blogspot.com

    • Ariana Mullins January 15, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

      Hi Robin! We do try to include Amelia in a lot of things. Since there is only once kid, it’s much different than having a “parents” group and a “kids” group. It’s the three of us, and we’re all equally family members. This is tricky sometimes, but it’s been good to have regular family meetings and work as a team on a lot of things. This one should be a lot of fun!

    • Robin January 16, 2013 at 3:43 am #

      At what age did you really start incorporating her into discussions? J is almost 3.

    • Ariana Mullins January 16, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

      We started our weekly “family meetings” when she was 5– old enough to sit and follow the conversation, and to contribute her own ideas. I think we could have started earlier, actually, but it all depends on the kid. In these meetings we bring up “issues” any family member is having, and it’s a collaborative way to problem-solve behavioral issues, in a non-threatening way for kids. It also creates a nice healthy format for a child to bring up the things that are troubling him or her, and to be able to get advice or just help the family understand what they are struggling with.

  5. Hausfrau January 17, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    Good for you! It’s a wonderful idea, and I love your cash cow!

  6. Elie January 26, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    So awesome, Ariana! You and Jeff are such great parents! I appreciate that my parents would contribute a certain amount of money toward a bike, for example, that we wanted as kids and we had to come up with the other bit of it. It made me feel like that bike was really mine and that I earned it. I think I took better care of the things that I had to contribute to buying. I have a travel savings fund myself these days and it’s an automatic transfer rom my checking to travel savings. When I want to travel, it’s so nice to know the money is there waiting for me!

  7. Angie Generose February 9, 2013 at 3:34 am #

    What a great way to teach children about money! I love this. We are saving up for an adoption, so this would be a great way to scrounge up some “extra” money each time a payment is due.

    -Angie
    http://www.easylivingmom.com

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