Family Office

Spend, Save, and Give: A Lesson of Three Jars 

Teaching children about money and wealth is not an easy task. Financial lessons are learned over time through teachable moments, family practices, and by following examples. One ritual that can help teach kids about money and wealth is the practice of Three Jars. 

The Three Jars Concept

Each jar represents an activity: spending, saving, and giving. When a child receives their allowance or a small sum of money, they divvy the money up into thirds and contribute to each of the three jars. Money accumulated in the “spend jar” is for the child’s discretionary spending. Money in the “save jar” teaches delayed gratification by encouraging children to save up to buy something that may be more expensive. And finally, money in the “give jar” teaches children a sense of social responsibility and stewardship by allowing them the opportunity to give back to a cause they care about. The Three Jars should be clear so that children can see the money build up in each jar over time. 

Modifications

There are ways to modify the Three Jars practice to suit your family’s values. If teaching children about the importance of saving is important to you, you may consider paying interest on the funds in the “save jar” at the end of each month. Moreover, to increase the impact that a child may have through their “give jar”, you may consider matching the contributions that the child makes to this jar. As children grow, it may be helpful for them to set a goal prior to contributing to the jars, such as “buy myself a bicycle”, so that they know what the money in the jar is working towards. 

In conclusion, the Three Jars practice teaches children how to allocate money to savings, spending, and to giving at an early age. In addition to instilling values of saving and giving, children may gain practical skills as they practice math and counting money. 

If you’ve implemented the Three Jars to teach your children about money and wealth, we’d love to hear your story! Please contact us to share. 

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