Editor’s Note: This is a personal experience from 2010. Program highlights and benefits may be changed. See links for current program details.
‘Tis the season to give, but also the season to receive. We are blessed with generous grandparents, so my children had to learn to receive with graciousness. However, by the third child, we had more Barbies, Lego’s and train tracks than any household needs, and mom was losing her sense of gratitude. Grandma and grandpa didn’t want to pass up the chance to spoil the grandkids, even if we already had at least one of everything. So, we agreed on cash. After all, this way, the kids could buy whatever they wanted, right?
Junior Savers Clubs in Lake County
Well, ironically, whatever they wanted was never just the amount they were given. In fact, it was usually more, and the kids expected me to make up the difference. After being labeled “Evil Mommy” one too many times, I did some research and decided to use this as an opportunity to teach them about saving. Now, their money goes to a Junior Savers Account held at our local bank: the State Bank of the Lakes.
To be fair, other banks offer Junior Saver’s programs, and readers may want to contact a local one to find out about their program. But, the one at State Bank of the Lakes has been perfect for my family: no annual fees, no minimum deposits, friendly faces, and close to home. So now, when my kids receive a monetary gift, we take a trip to the bank.
My five-year-old has been banking since he was in a stroller. He knows exactly where the deposit slips are and can make his own deposit after mommy fills it out. Afterward, he knows where the “Treasure box” is for Junior Savers to pick a toy for every deposit — no matter how small. He also knows where the bank keeps its free cookies and tootsie rolls and is content to eat these while his older siblings make their deposits. They (ages 7 & 10) are currently competing to see who can accumulate the most cash in their Junior Savers passbooks. They can (almost) fill in the deposit slips entirely by themselves and get a kick out of seeing the numbers go up.
Junior Savers can also participate in special events throughout the year, such as pumpkin decorating, jellybean counting, and the annual Junior Savers picnic. Did I mention, the kids also receive “treat dollars” to local restaurants for every $100 in their account? That means, we can leave the bank and go directly to the bakery. The kids get a kick out of doing something that grown-ups do, and I love that they are learning a valuable life skill and participating in their community. Now that’s what I call a “functional field trip”!