By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Teaching children to save

“How many of you save your money?” Quincy asked students in Meredith Olds’ class.

Almost every youngster raised a hand. Some raised two.

Julian Gutierrez kept his hand up.

“I used to spend all my money, but my mom said not to, so now I save,” he said. He’s collected more than $50 so far, he said.

Julian and the other students should be proud of themselves, Quincy and Purtyman said. They think saving money is a great thing.

In fact, that’s the reason First Federal staff members visit local schools. They want to honor April — declared Financial Literacy Month — with a special “Teach Children to Save” day.

“It’s very important,” Quincy said. “If kids start saving early, they’ll continue. It ingrains good habits.”

The lessons about saving teaches children to set goals and work toward them little by little, she said.

Newby Principal Dave Carlson said the lessons fit perfectly with second-grade curriculum.

Second-graders learn the value of coins and paper money, do addition and subtraction with coins, make change and figure out if they have enough to buy something. It’s part of the state math standards.

In addition to telling children about the value of savings, the bankers handed out money-related activity books. And Purtyman read them a story about two brothers, “Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock,” by Sheila Blair.

Rock spends every dime he gets, buying green hair goo, broccoli-flavored gum and whatever’s on sale. Brock carefully saves his money, and his proud grandfather rewards him by matching the amount he puts into savings.

When Rock sees how much Brock has saved, he changes his ways and they both start saving. By the time they’re old, they’re rich.

Purtyman and Quincy told students about banks paying interest to people who have savings accounts. And she encouraged students to open their own savings accounts by handing out certificates good for $10 for opening an account with First Federal.

About half the students in Olds’ class said they already have savings accounts. Most of the rest said they use piggy banks to squirrel away savings.

“But I need another one,” one boy said. “My piggy bank’s full.”

Quincy and Purtyman had a perfect solution: They handed out green plastic piggy banks, to the students’ delight.

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