My daughter had a savings account since birth. When she was very little, I would make it my business to take her to the bank with me to make a deposit into her passbook savings account on a regular basis. She went to a private school for elementary and every year the school and the bank where she already had an account would give the children a savings account and sponsor a field trip to the bank to see the vault, to see how banking worked etc.
I also made it my business for her to see how money management worked from an early age. She liked to go to the mail box – so that was her job. She would open the mail, learn to recognize bills, and watch her dad or I pay the bills, then she went to writing out the checks, reconciling the ledger etc. In middle school she received her own checking account, this was right around the time ATM cards were turning to debit cards so she went with that process as well. For a long time the only check she wrote on her checking account was her tithe check. She could purchase a few things with her debit card and she would reconcile her account, because she learned from doing the business bills, and our personal accounts. For a long time, I just signed checks, never wrote them out, and spot checked her balancing of my checking account.
Now that she’s in college…. oops in high school she started a job, so with that came direct deposit into her checking account. Something happened, I can’t remember what, that caused her to overdraft and I thought the child had injured herself. She called hysterical and when I finally was able to understand what was wrong, her checking account was minus a substantial sum. Turned out she didn’t subtract something properly and I bailed her out – 1 time and 1 time only! She was so hurt from her error, I doubt I’ll have to do it again.
Now that she’s in college, she pays her own tuition with her debit card, (her father and I do deposit in her account for assistance with tuition only). She buys her own books, and incidentals. If I can only get her to go the grocery store instead of shopping in my refrigerator (see my recent pic on facebook), it would be better for me.