When Kelly was a kid, she loved the picture book A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams. In the story, a little girl lives in an apartment with her mother and grandmother. The little girl’s mother is a waitress and sole provider for their family. Together the family saves money by putting their change in a giant jar every day. They are saving for a big cushy chair for the little girl’s hard-working mother. Together with patience and diligence, they buy the mother a very comfy chair.
The story struck a chord with Kelly as a little girl and continues to resonate today with the single mother providing for her two boys. Just like in the story, Kelly has made saving a family effort. She started her boys saving early. “Probably 3,” Kelly told us, “when I started encouraging them to save because that’s when they started receiving small bills from family on the holidays.” She made a box for the boys to put a portion of their money into savings. Kelly would then deposit money into joint savings accounts she had opened for the boys.
Now that the boys are 7 and 10, Kelly has passed on another childhood lesson. “My mom always told me, ‘Give a little, save a little, spend a little.’” I simply told them the same thing because it’s easy to remember.” Giving is important to Kelly. She works for a charity and sees firsthand the needs they serve. To put her mother’s wisdom into practice, Kelly added a second box for the boys to contribute to charity. Kelly shared this story with us: “They recently wanted to go to the mall to buy sunglasses with their holiday money. I asked them to put a portion of their cash in a small box they each have in their bedrooms before we went to the mall. We also do the same thing for charity. That way, they can feel proud and good about spending because they know they saved and shared with others in need first.”
Kelly’s #1 Saving Tip: Have a place in your house where you put spare change or extra singles whenever you have them or find them. Don’t let yourself use money from the container until New Year’s Day, and then count up how much you’ve saved and feel rich at the start of the year!
Kelly and the boys have two savings goals they are working on as a family. The first is for a down payment on a home. The second is for the boys’ college. Kelly is encouraging the boys to save for college by offering to match what they save. The only condition is they can’t touch it until college. The boys are excited about the matching, but they still want to buy things aw – and that’s okay with Kelly. She and the boys were all excited when the boys used a portion of savings to buy their own bats for little league this year!