Up until about six months ago, when my son J would receive money, we’d put it in an old lemonade jar on his dresser. It would sit there until it filled up, at which point we’d head to the bank to deposit it into his savings account.
All was well, but I had this feeling that I could be using this money to teach him some important lessons.
I did some research and came across the Moonjar. The Moonjar is a jar with three compartments — one for saving, one for spending and one for sharing (or giving). I also found the Money Savvy Pig — a piggy bank with four compartments for saving, spending, donating and investing. And for all the crafters out there, there are a TON (and I mean a TON) of DIY posts on blogs and Pinterest about creating your own jars.
These were good ideas, but the idea of lugging around a jar full of money was absurd. Wouldn’t an envelope or wallet be better? You know, like normal people carry? Plus, even more importantly in my mind, I wanted him to know exactly how much was in each “account” at any given point and learn to balance the accounts. (I am one of two people on the planet who actually balances their checkbook. Actually, I found another! Joan on Man vs. Debt!)
With a plan in place, we embarked on our hunt for envelopes and a register.
I thought clear envelopes would be best so he could see the contents; they needed to open and close easily and hold change plus they needed to be sturdy. We went to a few stores and finally found some awesome 1″ poly zip envelopes (check size) at Staples. We bought three — one for saving, one for spending and one for giving, but we’d end up needing another (more on that later).
A standard checkbook register was a little small for his handwriting so we decided to make our own. I found this great example on WalletHub because I think using two lines for each transaction makes it easier to understand:
- Enter the date and description on the white line
- Put the withdrawal or deposit in the proper column
- Then also enter it under the latest balance along with the proper sign (+/-)
- Add or subtract and the new balance lives on the shaded line
Here it is in action!
It’s been working really well so far. We keep the spending and giving envelopes in the car so they’re available when we need them. The savings envelope lives at home with the statements. I’ll tell you about that soon!
Download the register we created here and let us know how it works for you!