How to Teach Your Child to Save Using Video Games

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I am the lucky mom of an 11-year-old son. Creatively teaching him about the value of money (and how to save) has always been a challenge for me. When I was growing up, our chores resulted in minimal pay, and you did them without whining. These days, things are a bit different. When I ask my son to do a chore, he complains that he is the only kid in his class that is “forced” to take out the garbage, do his laundry or clean his room. Although I highly doubt that, I was looking for a way to encourage these chores while also teaching him the value of money. So naturally, I turned to video games like Fortnite and Minecraft.

How does it work?

My son earns, what we call, “XBucks”. XBucks allow him to earn the money to have “Xbox Live” each month. It also encourages him to do more chores for extra things like skins, gliders and dance moves for Fortnite and mine coins for Minecraft. We started off by creating a menu of chores, putting dollar values next to each of the chores on the list. If he wants a new skin for Fortnite, he knows what chore(s) he needs to do to earn it. He keeps a balance sheet of how much he has earned and how he earned it.  He must subtract when the XBucks are used, explaining what was purchased with them, so he can see where he is spending. We did this by using a simple check register which also teaches him about debits and credits in a way he can relate.

Assigning the values to chores.

I would suggest keeping the value of each chore at a lower cost because your child will want to do every chore on your list and that adds up quick! At first, we started out with a value of $5 to clean his bedroom. That didn’t take him long to clean and in real life work isn’t always that easy for the pay. I decided to be more specific and detailed in the chores he was doing. Our list has morphed as I am evolving in my chore value skills. We now have more defined chores like; pick up your clothes, put them in the laundry and start the washing machine for $0.50, put the clothes in the dryer and fold them for  $0.50, and vacuum your room for $1.00.
Your values may need to be less or more depending on your unique situation. This option allows them to associate the value of money with something they can relate to. Having them track it on paper holds them accountable for their spending and brings a visual element to their actions. Download a check register similar to the one I use here to get started! If you have other creative and fun ways to teach children to save, we would love to hear them!
Written by: Natalyn Jannene, AVP of Marketing for AbbyBank