smart spending

Your plan for 12 days of financial gift-giving

Savings account
Savings account | vfedorchenko/Shutterstock.com

Savings account

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ... a savings account to begin learning about the banking system.

Helping a child open his or her first savings account is one of life's financial milestones.

"Take that extra 15 minutes, drive to the bank, walk your child inside, stand in the little S line. This is the next step for your child," says Levine. "Don't just take your child's money and deposit it for them because then they don't connect to it. Let them have the whole experience."

Seaman agrees: "It engages all the senses basically. The more senses involved in a financial activity, the more it will stick. People at the bank are very nice; there are usually lollipops involved. There's nothing but positive associations for the child."

Linfield started her three children saving early.

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"At the age of five, children can really begin to understand the concept of money and money management," she says. "You want either a passbook account or one with paper statements because kids are tactile. Every month, their statements come and we go through the ritual of opening it up and reviewing it, spotting their deposits and earned interest. It may not be a lot right now, but it's important for them to see that."

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