Best Banks for Kids in Grand Rapids, Plus Teaching Kids About Money

best banks for kids in grand rapids



Much Ado About Money: Teaching Kids to be Financially Responsible

As much as I love my children, I don’t want them living in my basement as adults. And that is why I am here today to give you some suggestions on how to teach your kids how to manage their money. While I am no Dave Ramsey, I feel like we have established a pretty good system within our own family.

To Allowance or Not to Allowance?…

There is no right or wrong answer here. We happen to be an allowance family. Each of my kids (ages 8 and 11) gets $5 per week for doing a multitude of chores around the house. This is not an optional thing—everyone has to pitch in. My kids both have their daily responsibilities (picking up their rooms, putting away clean laundry, taking care of school business, etc.) and then we do whole house cleanup as a family. For the most part, it works.

Opponents of allowance say kids shouldn’t be paid to help out around the house, which I understand. (Come on, I don’t get paid to clean up around here, so why should they?) But I personally think it’s important for kids to have the opportunity to manage their own money. And because we give our kids money every week, we very rarely buy them things “just because.” When they see something they want, they have to decide whether they want to spend their own money on it or not.

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It Pays (Literally) to be Responsible and Kind

We also use poker chips for “above and beyond” behaviors. Each kid starts the week with 10 poker chips (each worth 25 cents) in his/her jar. Throughout the week, they can earn extra chips for things like taking the dog for a walk without being asked, doing homework without being reminded, or helping his or her sibling with something. Likewise, chips can be taken away for problems such as not following directions, not getting along, leaving a mess, and more. It is added incentive for my kids to do the right thing and it lessens the nagging.

Poker Chip Jars

Spend, Save or Share?

Each of my kids has 3 jars for their money- spend, save, and share. Spend money is pretty self-explanatory—this is money that they are allowed to spend on anything they want. Save money goes into the bank and is to be saved long term (think car, college, etc.) Share money is to be used to help others who need it. With their allowance, they get to put $3 into spend, $1 in save, and $1 in share. Any additional money they get from their poker chips, doing extra jobs in the neighborhood, or from holidays, they can choose where it goes.

Save Share Spend Jars 

An Example of How This Money System Plays Out

A few summers ago, I witnessed our family’s money system work beautifully. My kids really wanted to get a WiiU and my husband and I were simply not interested in spending $300 on something “just because.” It led to some great conversations about wants versus needs, ways to make extra money, delayed gratification, and finding the best deal.

My husband and I ended up agreeing to pay for half of it if the kids could save up for the other half. My son helped me do some research and we managed to find one on amazon for $240. The kids were able to round up $120 and they earned their WiiU! Because we all pitched in, I think we all value it a little more.


4 Local Banks Partner With Kids to Save

When it comes to finding a bank for your kids’ money, there are several good West Michigan options.

1. Lake Michigan Credit Union

LMCU offers Kids Club Savings for kids 12 and under. Kids only need $5 to set up an account and they will earn 1% up to $1000. At sign up, kids are given a piggy bank. Once they reach $250 and $500, they receive additional prizes.

2. Fedcom

Fedcom offers The Early Bird Savers Kids Club for kids ages 6–11. Each child who opens an account will receive a goodie bag filled with stickers, crayons, a color by number coloring sheet, their own passbook to keep track of what is in their account and their own official membership account card. Also, each time your child makes a deposit into their account, they will get to choose a special prize. 

3. Option 1

Option 1 offers the Dollar Dog Kids Club for kids ages 3 to 12. The program is designed to teach children about saving money and features the Dollar Dog super hero to make learning fun. Kids get all sorts of goodies for being club members such as Dollar Dog rewards, savings incentives for every deposit of $10 or more, and a chance to paw through a treasure chest when they visit Option 1 with a deposit to their account.

4. Chemical Bank

Chemical Bank has no minimum balance requirement and the more you deposit, the more you will earn! Chemical Bank also offers a great interactive page with activities for kids related to saving money. 

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