Money Saving Challenge For Kids

An Easy DIY Gift That Rewards Kids For Saving

If you’re thinking about giving money or gift cards to a kid or young adult, you might consider doing a money saving challenge instead. It’ll get them as excited about saving as they are about spending, and it teaches them the fundamentals of earning interest over time.

Why You Should Do It

Kids who maintain even a small amount of savings are 6x more likely to go to college and 4x more likely to own stocks as young adults. (Washington University St. Louis)

Developing good financial habits early gives them the discipline they need to juggle bank accounts, save for retirement, start a business, pay back a loan, and avoid going into debt.

You’ll be helping shape them into financially intelligent adults, and they can put the money you give them towards a long term goal.

Money Saving Challenge For Kids Paper Wallet With Money

How it works

Provide them with their initial seed money, perhaps $10 or $20. Any amount will do, as long as it’s enough to make them tempted to spend it.

The game goes like this: as long as they can manage to hold on to the money, you’ll give them periodic bonus payments. You can set the payments in any amount that you want.

For example, an uncle who sees his niece a few times a month might pay a bonus of $1 every time they get together. Or you might set up a schedule for bonuses like $5 every couple of weeks or months, or perhaps a larger amount on every birthday.

They’ll continue earning bonuses for as long as they can resist spending their initial seed money AND any of the bonuses they’ve received.

Right now you might be thinking, “What if they never spend it? Will I be paying them forever?”

Yeah, I guess. Feel free to add a “No payments after 30” clause in case they try to keep squeezing you long into adulthood.

But seriously, if they’re still holding on to the money a few years from now, then good for them. They’re doing a better job at saving money than most adults, and they’ll deserve the windfall when they finally feel bad enough for you to spend their first dollar.

The No Cheating Variation

If you really want to, you can add in some optional rules and safeguards to make sure they don’t pull one over on you.

If you’re afraid they might spend the money and then replace it later to make it look like they didn’t, you can mark the bills you give them.

But really, even if they did, those are some impressive money management skills. Maybe they should be allowed to get away with it — unless you’re worried about pushing them down a path toward money laundering.

Feel free to get creative, and structure the terms of your challenge however you’d like.

Signing Money For Kids Money Saving Challenge

Instructions for Making the Money Saving Challenge Wallet

Use the downloadable image provided to make a DIY wallet and present them with the challenge and their initial seed money.

There’s also a ledger you can print out to keep track of how much money should be in the wallet come bonus time. Have them fill it out for each payment and keep it inside the wallet. It will be an early introduction to a balance sheet and will help them visualize how their money could grow if they continue saving.

You can use regular 8.5 x 11″ white paper but the wallet will naturally be a little flimsy. It’s not bad, the square sides keep it somewhat rigid, and it will work just fine if it’s stuffed full of money! If you have thicker card stock it will be even better, and you can also print on glossy photo or brochure paper for a more commercial look.

STEP 1: Download & Print

Drag the template images at the bottom of the page onto your desktop, or use the Get Pattern button then right click on the images to save them. Print them on 8.5 x 11″ all purpose paper, card stock or photo paper. Glossy paper looks nice and makes a sturdy envelope, but can be harder to fold neatly. Check your settings to make sure you’re printing at full scale (some printers try to resize images) and select the highest print quality.

Printed Money Saving Challenge Paper

STEP 2: Decide on a Rewards Schedule & Fill In The Empty Fields

Fill in the fields with the amount of money they’re starting with, at what interval the bonuses will be earned, and how much each bonus is worth. There’s a box on the back for your custom message or any special instructions. It’s a whole lot easier to do this BEFORE you fold up the paper.

Filling In Money Savings Challenge
Message On Money Saving Challenge

STEP 3: Carefully Cut Out The Pattern

Take your time and work under good lighting so there aren’t shadows covering the line you’re trying to follow. Use sharp scissors or a craft knife and straight edge. Be careful on those inner corners. If you slice in too far the paper might tear when you fold it.

Cutting Money Saving Challenge
Cut Out Money Saving Challenge

STEP 4: Slice Closure While Flat

Remember to cut the slice that holds the flap closed before you get everything folded up and glued. It’s important to use a very sharp blade for this because if you leave any jagged edges the envelope will be difficult to close. If you do forget this step until the end (it’s easy to do) you can insert a pad of note paper inside the envelope to provide some backing and a cutting surface.

Slice Closure On Money Saving Challenge Wallet

STEP 5: Fold the Sides

Fold carefully along the edges of the light green stripe to create the envelope’s square sides. It’s easiest to do the inner fold first, followed by the outer fold and complete each side one at a time. Make sure the folds line up with the corners you cut and crease firmly against a flat surface.

Folding Money Saving Challenge Wallet 1
Folding Money Saving Challenge Wallet 2
Folding Money Saving Challenge Wallet 3
Folding Money Saving Challenge Wallet 4

STEP 6: Stick It Together

Apply adhesive to both sides where the paper will overlap. A tape roller like the one in the image works perfectly. You could also use double sided tape or glue. Make sure the corners are nice and square before you stick anything together. Do one side at a time or you may end up with a crooked wallet. Sticking something like a notepad inside helps give you something to fold around and press on without wrinkling the paper.

Glue Money Saving Challenge Envelope
Glue Money Saving Challenge Envelope 2

All Done!

Print out the ledger if you’d like and load up the wallet with the lucky recipient’s seed money. It’s a creative way to give a young person some money while helping instill the habits they need to be financially secure later in life.

Completed Money Saving Challenge Envelope
Completed Money Saving Challenge Envelope. 2
Completed Money Saving Challenge Envelope. 3

Downloadable Files

Money Saving Challenge Wallet Pattern

Drag the image below onto your desktop or use the button to open the image. Right click and select save.

Get Pattern

Optional Savings Ledger

Drag the image below onto your desktop or use the button to open the image. Right click and select save.

Get Pattern

This pattern is based on the square envelope pattern at: http://paperandlandscapes.com/box-envelopes/