Part three in our series on teaching children about money...
One of the things my parents taught me very early is to make saving money a way of life. How did they do this? As I mentioned yesterday, I had a designated "Save" category in my envelope when I was still quite young.
Around the same time I started my first envelope-system budget (was I five?), my parents took me to the bank to open a savings account. I have no idea how much I deposited the first time, but I'm thinking it was around ten dollars. Honestly, what I remember more clearly than the amount is the fact that I did it... and the stuffed-animal bank mascot I was given. (It might seem silly, but I had that little brown dog for years, and it really was a reminder of the bank and my account there.)
Opening my own account at the bank made a huge impression on me--I still remember sitting on the counter at the bank--and I continued to make deposits when my "Save" envelope would grow to a decent size.
If you can let your children do things with their money themselves it tends to make a much bigger impact and make them feel more responsible and thus motivate them to take initiative themselves. Not, "Oh, Mom took my money off to some building somewhere," but "I opened my own account at my bank."
As I grew older, I took responsibility for my own savings account--which I was prepared for through my parents' early influence.