Life Lessons from a Money Jar

Life Lessons from a Money Jar

A money jar is a unique item that has so many different uses. It is different from a regular mason jar since it has a slot on the cover that can be used to put change, bills, raffle tickets or other personal ideas in. Folks are not aware that these special covers with slots exist and there are many online videos with instructions on how to make a slit on the cover of the jar. The tutorials have the student using various cutting tools such as sharp knives, blades, and other aids. The people teaching these skills are being creative, but the facts are clear, there are half gallon mason jars specifically meant for tips and savings and there is no need to endanger yourself by slicing into a hard lid. These jar covers come in different colors and for savings purposes they can be labeled for different wishes such as vacation, car, college, and house paint job. You will be surprised at how much money a half gallon mason jar can hold, almost three thousand coins and many many bills. People enjoy decorating glass money jars and then watching how the money adds up. 

Mason jar covers with slits can also be used for a variety of household items such as tissues, and plants. These jars look so nicely uniform, all being the same size with different items. For example, in the kitchen the counter can become decorative with different color beans in select jars or jellybeans and other colorful candy. For these type of food items, you would need the regular covers and not the ones with the slits. 

For those of us lucky to be the parents of young children we are always looking for unique fun ways to educate our children especially when it comes to money. Most of us have heard of the marshmallow experiment performed by psychologists many years ago. A group of children were given a marshmallow and before they were given permission to eat it, they were given a choice. “If you wait a certain amount of time to eat your marshmallow you will get another, but if you decide to eat it immediately that will be it.” Some children could not resist the delicious looking marshmallow and ate it right away while others agreed to wait to get the second one. The testers visited these children as grownups and found that the majority of the waiters for the second marshmallow were more successful in life than the children who ate the lone marshmallow straightaway. For this reason, it is so important to teach our children about delayed gratification and what better way than to educate them on saving their money for a special compensation. 

Saving Can be Just as Rewarding as Quick Spending 

In this crazy world of instant gratification, it’s refreshing to know parents and children who still believe in an anachronism known as the piggy bank. Pennies might be deemed useless by many financial advisors and cash is also going out of style; that is why it is so important for children to understand the value of a dollar. Adults are the guilty ones in exposing their children to the ease in which credit cards are used. We are guilty of handing over the credit card to a young child or teen to buy groceries at the supermarket or clothing at the mall. How much fun is it for an eight-year-old to self-check the groceries at the store and scan the credit card completely on their own? The trouble is, does an eight-year-old understand that the items that were just purchased actually cost money and that the credit card bill must be paid at the end of the month? 

By giving our children a savings plan such as a half-gallon mason jar with a slotted lid we will be teaching them not only the value of money but the value of waiting for a special item that will be purchased with the saved money. You can decorate the money jar many different ways and you can ask your son or daughter what item they would like to save up for. (Or they might have already requested that item from you and that is how the savings idea came to be.) We can be sure that a bike that is bought with a child’s own savings will not be left outside in the rain or at the corner coffee shop without a lock and chain. Or maybe your son would like horseback riding lessons and your daughter piano lessons. If these luxuries are not within your budget don’t despair. With G-D’s help you will be raising a child who will be able to cope in this uncertain world and will know how to be independent as he or she grows up. 

Parents have different ideas of what is important for their children and what is frivolous. This is where the adage, “silence is golden” comes into play. Your son might be saving money in his slotted money jar for a new skateboard, and you cannot understand why. His skateboard is in perfect condition. Why would he want to spend his savings on something he doesn’t truly need? Or maybe your daughter is saving for new sneakers. Come on, she already has five pairs, why would she want to buy another pair? 

When teaching our children about the benefit of a piggy bank, we should make sure to give them incentives to collect money to save. After all, how far is a dollar bill going to go in this age of inflation? Yet, children and teens make extra money all the time in different ways. Paper routes might not be your idea of a safe way of making money but cutting your neighbor’s lawn or taking their dog for daily walks would be okay with you. If your daughter is old enough to babysit, I hear that the minimum per hour these days is fifteen dollars! Of course, you must make sure that you know the people personally and that you feel comfortable for your daughter to stay in their home for several hours at a time. Many years ago, my daughter was babysitting for a neighbor who we knew quite well and trusted but we did not know that she had male boarders on her third floor. My daughter was so scared when a guy walked down the steps into the kitchen to get something to eat. 

As you can see money saved accumulates relatively quickly and sometimes you can add a bit of cash if your child gets frustrated with the amount of time it is taking to accrue all the money needed to purchase their heart’s desire. We all must be flexible when it comes to our children and money because there are lessons to be learned, frugality is a virtue, stinginess is not. 

Charity Begins at Home 

The charity box is a staple that should be in every home. Decorating a money jar and labeling it charity is a wonderful way to teach our children about giving. There are always people who have less than us no matter how poor and needy we may be and no matter what religion and domination you are, charity begins at home. Yes, the original meaning of the above saying is to take care of your own family before taking care of others. We have altered the meaning to explain that parents are the people who will teach their children in the home the ethics of giving to others. 

Final Words 

There are so many opportunities for parents to teach their children what is ethical in life. Earning an honest dollar and spending it on something the child wants but does not need shows he or she the difference between needs and wants. Your daughter might not need that extra pair of chandelier earrings, but she wants them very much. By saving up her own money that she receives from various tasks that she gets paid for she is learning the value of money. She will be receiving an education about saving and spending that she cannot learn in school no matter how good of a teacher she has. Even experiencing a mistaken purchase is a learning experience. 

For example, your daughter decides she wants to spend the money she saved on those chandelier earrings and after one wearing, they break. You advise her to return them to the store but to no avail, they were on sale and the sale was final. She has just learned two lessons, one: make sure the earrings are sturdy and will not easily break and keep away from final sales. As a wise person stated recently, “I only learn from my mistakes, not my successes”. 

How your child will save their money is your choice and theirs. Some parents encourage their children to open up savings accounts and for some looking at the bank statement is enough proof of their financial security. Others need to see their money physically accumulating in a money jar. They like to count their money at least once a week and use their subtraction skills to figure how much they still need to buy their favorite item.

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