In this episode of Money Explained, we look at how parents and guardians can discuss the topic of savings with the family.


Sometimes, it’s easy to get distracted. With TV on demand and social media everywhere, there’s a lot to grab the attention. But resisting temptation and saving for the future are some of the keys to balanced money management.

For children, it may be even easier than for adults to get distracted. Parents and guardians have an important role in helping kids learn the skills of impulse control, and saving for future goals. Teaching these skills early in life can help promote a healthier relationship with money in adulthood, when they may be faced with saving for large purchases like cars and homes. 

Find teachable moments

Make the topic of saving a part of normal family conversation. Discuss things that are important to you as a family, such as holidays, days out or perhaps even moving home. Explore how long it might take to save for these different goals. 

Show them how to visualise savings

Using the Spaces feature in your Starling app is an easy, fun and visual way to save money for the things that are important. With the Spaces feature, you can give a name to any savings goal you’ve created for you or the children, for example, ‘bicycle’, ‘new jeans’, or ‘holidays’. The Spaces feature ring-fences money from your main account. You can also attach whatever photo you like to each savings goal, so why not ask the children to help choose the images for family goals?

Automate your savings 

When you create a savings goal in Spaces, you can choose to schedule regular contributions that transfer in automatically, so you may reach a target sooner. You could also use this as an opportunity to teach savings management. Another way to automate is with the Starling app ‘Round Up’ feature. Each time you buy something, the feature can round up your spending to the nearest pound and the difference is automatically added to the Space you choose. It can be easier than having to remember to add in money all the time.

Encourage the habit of saving

Make saving fun but age appropriate. A piggy bank or a jam jar is good for younger kids and a great way to teach them counting, sorting and organising different coins and notes. Older children may benefit from having their own account, or you could set up savings goals for them with your own Spaces feature on the Starling app.

To encourage saving, you could think about topping up their contributions. Say, 20% on their savings to help the pot along. Or perhaps even 50% if you’re feeling generous.

Saving and spending together

It can be useful to teach that saving pocket money can happen alongside spending. Help them choose something that they’re motivated to save for, by exploring with them how they’ll feel when they’ve purchased it. For younger children, you could use a colour-in savings chart to watch the savings grow. The Spaces feature in Starling app has a percentage bar to help visualise progress in saving.

Self-control

Saving for the future requires self-discipline and planning. Model self-control in everyday situations in front of children by saying things like: “I do fancy a takeaway, but we have food in the fridge.” 

Saving for their future

Are you saving to give your children a helping hand with some of the big financial costs in early adulthood, for example their first car or university? 

With older children, you could talk to them about any savings accounts you may have set up for their future, such as a Junior ISA. Showing them how balances can grow over time could help demonstrate the value of saving and patience. The Starling Marketplace provides access to several companies offering Junior ISA accounts, including Nutmeg and Wealthify. It’s very important to remember, with all investments, capital is at risk and the value of your investments can go down or up. 

Habits don’t take long to form. When your child is able to associate their saving activity with a positive outcome, they may have learned a valuable skill that could help them to grow up to be financially savvy adults.

Read other articles in our Money Explained series.

The above article is intended as general information and does not constitute advice in any way. You should take independent legal advice if you have any questions about your specific circumstances. Remember, with all investments, the value of your investments can go both up and down, and your capital is at risk.

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