Grade K-2, 3-5

The ABCs of Saving

Time: 45 mins,
Updated: September 13 2019,


Students will be able to:

  • Identify the steps for success in saving.
  • Illustrate how saving for the future means giving up things today.
  • Develop a plan for a savings goal.

In this personal finance lesson, students will learn about short and long term goals in order to be a successful saver.



Begin the lesson by informing the students that they save money to get things they can’t afford to buy now. Saving for the future requires patience but it can be worth it when we get what we want the most. Successful saving depends on three elements which are presented as the ABC’s of Saving.

A is for Aim: setting a goal.
B is for Bank: creating a place to put savings.
C is for Coins and currency: making saving money a habit.

Have the students repeat after you.

A is for Aim
B is for Bank
C is for Coins and currency

Tell them they will participate in an activity in which they must distinguish between short-term and long-term goals.


Project the ABC’s of Saving on the projector screen. Distribute copies of The ABC’s of Saving Script to each students. Read the story about the ABC’s of Saving out loud and have the students follow along. During the story be sure to emphasize the ABC’s of savings by pointing out A is for Aim, B is for Bank, and C is for Coins and Currency. Have the students repeat after you in order to retain the phrase.

Group Activity

After reading the story, place students in groups of 2-3. Instruct the students to highlight words on The ABC’s of Saving Script handout that they find familiar to them. Once all groups have highlighted words, then call on groups to share their answers. Remind the students that opportunity cost, or second choice, is the thing they give up when making a choice. Review the questions as a class below:

  1. What is saving?
  2. What are your short-term savings goals?
  3. What are your long-term savings goals?
  4. Where might you earn money to save?
  5. Have you ever created a savings plan with the money you earned?

Individual Activity

Tell students they are going to create a plan to reach one of their savings goals. Explain that when people set a saving goal it is important to know how much these goals will cost. Provide the students with catalogs and newspaper advertisements for toys and other items they might want to purchase for themselves or others. Guide the students so they choose something that is achievable for their age and available resources.

Print and distribute copies of The ABC’s of Saving handout. Review the instructions as a class. Have the students record their goal and plan for achieving it. When the students are done, ask them to share their plans to the class. As the students report their plans, ask them:

  1. Is your goal a short-term or a long-term goal?
  2. What is your opportunity cost?

Encourage the students to take their picture home and post it someplace where it will remind them of their goal.


Print and distribute copies of The ABC’s of Saving Quiz. This assessment may be duplicated for each student. For younger students, project using a projector and complete this assessment as a teacher directed class activity. Print and distribute copies The ABC’s of Saving Quiz – Answer Key to each student or review the answers.


Activity 1

Cut out a small paper square for each student in the class, and use chart paper to create a classroom graph with two areas: Spend and Save. Give each student a paper square and crayons. Have them draw a piggy bank to represent their own money. Ask the students whether they like to spend or save. To answer the question, have each student come to the front of the room and glue his or her bank under Spend or Save on the graph. As a class, analyze the results. Ask questions such as:

How many students in our class like to save their money?
How many like to spend their money?
How many more people in our class like to do one more than the other?
What else can you tell about the students in our room from this graph?

This activity was adapted from Do You Like to Spend or Save? The students discuss spending and saving habits and then take a poll to determine how their classmates manage money.

Activity 2

Set-up a reading center for students. Have books with themes of saving money available in your classroom or school library. Here are four suggestions:

  1. The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money by Stan and Jan Berenstain
  2. Bunny Money by Rosemary Wells
  3. One Cent, Two Cent, Old Cent, New Cent: All About Money by Bonnie Worth and Aristides Ruiz
  4. Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock by Sheila Bair
Personal Finance