I'm probably missing a marketing opportunity here somewhere.
Occasionally I notice that people find my blog by googling "coin jars." Which got me to thinking, if you're looking for one last small gift to round out your child's holiday goodies, why not consider giving him or her a coin jar?
A search of Amazon.com produces a choice of four kid-friendly coin jars, ranging in price from $12.99 to $49.95. (I'm not counting the Qing porcelain coin vase included in the search results as fit for children. Also, note that two of the jars are virtually identical; one just costs $2 more because it's endorsed by Discovery Channel.) All are electronic, counting the coins as your child puts them in and displaying the total amount saved. One even counts and wraps the change for you.
I like the idea of motivating kids to save by showing them immediately how much their quarters and pennies have added up to. But I also think you get a big bang for the buck with children by dumping a bunch of coins out on the floor and helping them patiently count up their loot (reinforcing their math and money skills along the way). Either way, you're sure to get a "Whoa!" or an "Awright!" when they see the total in the end, which will leave a good impression of the value of saving on their minds.
Granted, an electronic coin jar isn't as fun as TMX Elmo or Nintendo Gameboy Advance. But those gifts will last from maybe a couple weeks to a year. The benefits of being a good saver will have the shelf-life of a lifetime.
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