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Teaching Kids How to Save: DIY Kids Savings Jars

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I always thought it was strange how public school didn’t teach more “life skills”. Things like buying insurance, saving money, how to control finances, how to buy a house or car—the list goes on. Many people used to say “parents are supposed to teach that”, but what happens if parents never knew how? Instead, we learn about the Pythagorean theorem, memorizing the periodic table, and about sine, cosine and tangent angles… (Not that I can tell you what any of those mean anymore!)

Honestly, the way our academic system has been set up, you’re really just taught how to memorize facts and formulas. I could take the shit out of a standardized test, no problem! My report card never had less than an A- (except that one time Junior year…grr), but what do I have to show for it?

My grades didn’t help me get a full ride scholarship to any university, they didn’t help me earn the job of my dreams. They’re little more than a fond memory.

Heck, I didn’t even know how to apply to colleges when I graduated! (My parents didn’t know either. My father only attended 1 semester and dropped out.) With no mentors to help me, I stuck with local community colleges and slowly but eventually earned an Associates degree.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming anyone for what I deem as a “failure” in my life, but I do believe there are a few serious issues our children need to know before they’re forced out into the real world as an “adult”. (Learn more about these issues in our Adulting Series.)

One of those issues?

Learning how to save money.

It’s sad to say that as a 27-year-old adult, I have trouble saving money. Many of you may have the same problem! We could blame our parents, our school system, the economy, or whoever—but the bottom line is, we need to take responsibility for our own ignorance.

I may not be skilled at saving (yet) but by George, I’m going to learn how, dangit!

And my children are going to learn with me!!!

I’ve spent a good amount of time pouring over articles and books trying to teach myself about money as an adult. Kristen, my blogging partner, has also shared amazing tips on budgeting and saving money on everyday bills.

As a way to teach my littles (well, K only at this point since K2 is too young) how to save their money, we made our own DIY Savings Jars. I think 5-6 years old is a good time to start teaching kids about money.  As all the experts say, if you want to save anything, you have to pay yourself first. So any time K gets an allowance or birthday money, etc., she splits her money up three ways:

Spending money (50%)

Saving money (40%)

Giving Money (10%)

Obviously feel free to use whatever percentages you think best, but these (50-40-10) are what seem to work the best for us. Considering how K is already provided with what she needs, she doesn’t spend much of her money. BUT we want her to know that 50% of everything she earns is still available for her to spend as she chooses. To teach her about tithing and donating, we left giving money at 10%. As she gets older we’ll change the percentages up a bit to resemble what adult life is really like.

DIY Savings Jars is just a baby step into the world of learning how to save money. At 6 years old, this is plenty for K to handle right now. In the future we’ll touch on subjects like the different kind of savings accounts, how to pay yourself first, the importance of an emergency fund, etc. Of course I’ll share with you guys, too, when we get there!


So here’s how we made them:

DIY Kids Savings Jars


3 Empty, clean jars

Goo Gone (optional)

Spray paint

Craft paper

Mod Podge (hot glue will work if you don’t have any)


Sharp Knife


Money (optional)

DIY Kids Savings Jars

(My glass jar collection)

If you don’t have any at home, you can buy some here.


#1. Make sure to clean off your jars completely.

I did this with soap and water, then went back with goo gone to get every bit of residue off of them.

#2. Take the jar lids outside and spray paint them the color of your choosing.

I chose plain white.

#3. Cut your craft paper to fit around you jar.

We cut one long light pink rectangle piece to fit around our jars. Then we cut squares out of  marbled pink scrapbook paper. Last we cut a smaller square out of plain white craft paper.

#4. On the plain white craft paper squares, I wrote “Save”, “Spend”, and “Give”.

Feel free to decorate how you like.

#5. Once your lids dry, you’ll need to use the sharp knife to cut a line down the center of them.

This is where your littles will slide money into, so make sure it’s wide enough for bills and coins.

#6. Next, you’ll need to cut out colorful circles to put on top of your lids!

I used each lid to trace a circle on the marbled pink scrapbook paper, then cut a circle slightly smaller than the line I traced. This way you can still see the lid underneath.

#7. Now to assemble!

I tried this three different ways: mod podge, hot glue, and double-sided tape. Mod podge was the winner, and tape didn’t work at all.

 If you’re using mod podge, use a paint brush of some kind to “paint” the glue around the ends of your long rectangle, wrap the paper around the jar and set in place. Now brush some more glue over the ends where it meets the glass.

Next “paint” glue around the edges of your paper squares and set in place. You’ll also want to brush more glue on these as well, over edges where paper meets glass.

If you’re using hot glue, you’ll put glue in the same areas (but not on top).

And DON’T USE TAPE it’s not strong enough to keep the paper down.

Lastly, glue the colorful circle on the lids as well. Try to center it as best you can, but of course it doesn’t have to be perfect.

DIY Kids Savings Jars

#8. To finish them off, you’ll now need to make the money slot pretty!

You should have attached the colorful circle by now, so next you’ll want to take your sharp knife and cut a slit through the paper to mimic the one in the jar lid.

I also folded the frayed ends down into the slot and smoothed them down on the other side of the lid. (Does that make sense??) I didn’t want the money slot to have sharp edges when my littles would be handling them.

And Voilà! Your savings jars are done! Your littles are free to add money to them. 🙂

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 What do you ladies think?


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