Today is Black Friday here in America. Ah yes, Black Friday, the day where all the retailers finally are “in the black” for the year. Eh, whatever. Seriously, while I love to shop and I adore a fantastic bargain, I cannot stand crowds – especially angry mobs trying to get the best deal on a Furby (yes those awful things are back this year, ugh). So today, I shall be nowhere near a store.
But where we are going today is the bank. Why? Well, because it’s time for T to open his very first bank account!
I called and spoke with a lovely woman named Teresa (sp?) at our local Bank of America branch earlier this week (mainly to make sure they’re open today, and they are), so that’s where we’ll be headed. I picked B of A because C and I already have some accounts established there already, so if there’s any issue with minimums and daily balances, it’ll make it much easier to manage and move funds around to avoid those sneaky fees. That and Teresa’s friendly demeanor on the phone sealed the deal; I have learned not to take friendly customer service for granted these days, RMT’ers!
B of A also still offers a savings plan for kids under 18 years old. From the look of it, kids can open a simple custodial (meaning one parent name on the account in addition to the child’s) savings account for just $25 to start. While the B of A custodial accounts normally charges a $5/month maintenance fee for balances under $300, Teresa told me that sometimes this fee is waived for three years to allow the minor child to save up to that $300 minimum balance (when that fee doesn’t apply). We hope to get more details on this practice because I cannot find that information anywhere online to verify. But if true, then it’s truly a savings account to encourage and teach positive money-handling habits to our kids. I’ll come back to report how it goes!
To get T into the spirit of saving, I asked him if he wanted to dump, sort, and count his change out to see just how much money he had. Of course, he enthusiastically said YES. Counting, sorting, AND money?! What kid would say no to that?! Not mine anyway.
T’s also starting to get a grasp on the fact that “stuff costs money,” and the stuff that he especially wants (and doesn’t necessarily need) has to start coming from some of his own money. In fact, this came into play last week when we took a family trip to the “mouse house” for a day (and night) packed solid full of fun. T told us before we went that he wanted to get a souvenir, so we told him that it would need to come from his own money as buying the tickets, food, and drinks at the park wasn’t cheap. He said no problem, dug into his own wallet, and handed over $8 in one-dollar bills to C to use at the gift shop. While the item T chose was slightly over $8, C and I secretly agreed beforehand so long as T didn’t go too much over-budget that we’d match up to his $8 for something he absolutely loved (versus him settling for something $8 or under that he’s just meh about). Luckily, the force was with T regarding his choice, and it only was about $5 over-budget (not bad!).
Just where does T get all his money, you ask? I know, I asked myself that, too, when I saw what he had on hand! Well, birthdays and Christmases are T’s big cash cows, for starters (of course), and most of the larger amounts already go into a long-term savings plan just for T. But there are other special occasions in the year where family will mail a $5 bill here and there, too. All of that paper money usually winds up in his wallet. As for all the coins? We at one time were giving T some loose change as part of his sticker chart rewards or for other spontaneous, above-and-beyond chore calls of duty. He also got a few coins from Easter egg hunts and other daily discoveries of coins in the street, playground, sidewalk… yeah, I think you get the picture.
I have fond memories from my own childhood of sorting, counting, and rolling change, and not just with my money by my parents’ coins, too. I was cheap labor; I worked for change, after all! Regardless of what I might have earned, I grew up really enjoying that chore… hard to even call it a chore really because I enjoyed it so much. Thankfully it appears that T enjoys this new “chore” also. Cha-ching!
Have your kids opened up a bank account yet? How are you teaching your children the value of money?
While we won’t be shopping today, we definitely saved up for American Express’ Small Business Saturday, RMT’ers! If slots are still available, you can register each of your American Express cards at this link and shop TOMORROW (Saturday Nov. 24, 2012) at any participating small business to receive up to a $25 statement credit (see this link for all program details). It’s just American Express’ way of saying thanks for supporting your local small businesses!
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