Savings Methods We Teach Our Autistic Son

Estimated reading time: 16 minutes

Our son was diagnosed with ASD 1 Autistic with a sensory processing disorder in March 2022.

Autism, money skills, and independence are high priorities to teach our son.

Even if he weren’t autistic, we’d still teach him about the wild world of money, as every parent should.

He’s always been fascinated with money and wanted to pay the cashier, bag groceries, and shop.

The problem is that he takes or doesn’t understand what he learns literally and needs assistance.

His homework last week was about money, specifically coins, and he didn’t understand what the teacher asked.

Anxiety gets the best of him, and instead of asking for help, he’ll take on the work even if it’s wrong.

Teaching children various savings methods from a young age is not putting them in the line of fire.

Today, I wanted to share a story about teaching our handsome son about savings methods so he can apply them and lead his family.

Autistic Children
Savings Methods We Teach Our Autistic Son

Teaching Our Autistic Son Basic Savings Methods

Although life has been a busy journey since he came into our lives, we love him.

We also worry about his future and whether we’ll be around for his milestones in life.

If there’s ever a gift, we can leave him with its love, experiences, financial education, and the power of not giving up on his dreams.

Since he was around 3, we started to teach him about money and simple savings methods.

There’s nothing worse than a child begging for a toy and saying they can’t have it because there’s no money.

However, when a child understands basic savings methods, things can improve.

You might argue that we’re exposing our child to the stress of financial pitfalls.

We don’t look at it from that perspective since we don’t discuss our finance with him.

It’s quite the opposite. We’re working on teaching our son how to avoid debt in the first place.

Grade 2 Math from our son- Show Me The Money
Grade 2 Math from our son- Show Me The Money.

As you can see from the photo above, he struggled with “Show Me The Money” as he took the question literally.

The only one he got correct was five cents since it is a Canadian coin.

He struggles to take a sentence or question literally, and we teach him from home for one hour every night.

He brought home about 10 pages of mathematics with two sheets unfinished which I will complete with him.

Besides the errors you see above, he did fantastic, which we are proud of because he tries.

Autistic Famous People

Just because a child has autism doesn’t mean they can’t go on to be successful.

Many famous autistic people didn’t let their disability get in the way of their dreams.

Let’s have a look at 20 Famous People With Autism

  • Leonardo da Vinci – Artist
  • Vincent van Gogh – Artist
  • Steven Spielberg – Director
  • Alfred Hitchcock – Director
  • Thomas Edison – Inventor
  • Alexander Graham Bell – Inventor
  • Benjamin Franklin – Inventor
  • Henry Ford – Inventor
  • Ludwig van Beethoven – Musician
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Musician
  • Bob Dylan – Musician
  • James Taylor – Singer-Songwriter & Guitarist
  • John Denver – Singer-Songwriter & Record Producer
  • Charles Darwin – Naturalist & Geologist
  • Carl Jung – Psychiatrist & Psychotherapist
  • Lionel Messi – Football Player
  • Samuel Clemens – Writer
  • George Orwell – Writer
  • Jane Austen – Writer
  • Charles M. Schulz – Cartoonist
  • Elon Musk – Entrepreneur
  • Nikola Tesla – Inventor
  • Bill Gates – C0-Founder of Microsoft
  • Jerry Seinfeld – Comedian Actor
  • Albert Einstein – Scientist and Mathematician
  • Dan Aykroyd – Actor

Source: 20 Famous People With Autism

Wealthy Parents Don’t Always Come From Money

Teaching savings methods to children is important whether you come from wealth or not.
Wealthy Parents Don’t Always Come From Money

Not all children are taught about various savings methods, especially if their parents are wealthy.

I try not to forget that not all successful multi-millionaires live in the lap of luxury.

In the past, I’ve written about Justin Bieber and how he came from a low-income lifestyle and, through hard work, he can now buy whatever he wants.

Life sounds grand for him, but money isn’t everything, and fame isn’t everything.

Loving yourself, God, and his family, take the front seat in his life.

Without that love, he can’t be everything his fans want him to be.

That’s not to say that the wealthy don’t educate their children about money; however, there’s a slight difference.

Growing up in a luxury home where you don’t have to share a bedroom with a sibling and your parents don’t argue about money is either a blessing or a financial disaster in the making.

At some point in our lives, we will all argue about money; that’s the reality.

Everyone Has Different Dreams

Our new neighbour told my wife that she never dreamed she’d live in a house as she is today.

She has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and struggles to save money.

Mrs. CBB told me about their chat, which hasn’t left my mind since.

I, too, thought the same way when we bought our house in Canada.

Coming from my 600 sq ft home in the UK and moving to Canada with a house three times the size of a basement was mind-blowing.

I was thrilled as I never dreamed I’d own a home such as the one we purchased.

Mrs. CBB and I grew up in a home where money was unavailable whenever needed.

That’s the difference between parents with money and those who struggle to pay the bills.

One might argue that rich people earn money through paid education, inheritance, successful business deals, high-level careers, or knowing the right people.

Children may still need to be taught how to handle their money.

Wealthy Parents Produce Wealthy Children

Have you ever noticed that wealthy parents have children who also succeed?

For example, Ultra successful Yolanda Hadid was a model, and now her three children, Bella, Gigi, and Anwar, follow the same steps as she did.

Who do you think taught her children about modelling, money, and the pitfalls of being famous?

Their parents want their children to be successful even though they are no longer married.

Their father, Mohamed Hadid, is a multi-millionaire dollar real estate developer and successful business owner in the wine and caviar fields.

The rich and famous live in a lifestyle bubble many of us will never understand unless we join them.

That doesn’t mean their children have a shred of financial smarts because they earn millions.

Let’s take the everyday average successful business owner who teaches their children about finance.

It’s one thing to learn about money and how to budget and another when living a frugal lifestyle.

When To Teach Children Basic Savings Methods

Savings methods to teach children and motivation to encourage them to never give up.
Teach Children To Never Give Up On Their Dreams

Many Canadians live a frugal lifestyle because they have to, want to, or do so to save money for a rainy day.

However, there’s a difference between earning power and savings methods to teach a child when a parent feels it’s necessary.

As parents to an almost eight-year-old autistic boy, we’ve allowed him to experience savings methods he can use for the rest of his life.

If there’s something you want to leave your children before you die, consider love, kindness, life experiences, independence, and financial knowledge.

Today, you will learn the savings methods we teach our son yearly until he understands the importance.

As our son ages, we will turn savings methods into investing and home buying and the impact of debt.

No age is set when teaching children about savings methods and debt.

If you are a parent, choose the right time based on your instincts and educate your children.

Don’t rely on the school system to do this for you, even if they say it’s in the curriculum.

Show your children how you work your money to make ends meet, pay off debt, and save for the future.

We teach our son about savings methods and ways he can make informed financial decisions.

Important Savings Methods We Teach Our Autistic Son

  • Why do we bring our autistic son to second-hand stores?

We’ve been taking our son to places such as Value Village, Goodwill, and Bibles For Missions for years.

Thrift stores are where he can physically touch products which help him decide what he likes.

The clothing was always a hit for him because he could look at each article of clothing on his own.

We didn’t force him to buy something he didn’t want, and the prices were fantastic compared to retail.

We told him the truth once he asked us the difference between Value Village and Marshall’s.

He knows that previously used clothing is what we purchase at Goodwill.

  • We teach him the importance of a piggy bank to learn about saving money.

Our son has many piggy banks in his bedroom, and that’s because it was a popular gift that he received.

Each of his piggy banks is associated with something of importance for him.

The Canada Post piggy bank is savings he uses to buy new shoes for school and outdoor pay.

He will use his massive water bottle with coins to buy his first car.

The last piggy bank is a pig, where he saves money to spend at garage sales.

Ask Your Child For Permission To Sell Their Toys

  • Ask your child for permission to sell their toys for cash.

We’ve donated toys over the years but sell them to earn money back.

Before we donate or sell anything, we always confirm that he no longer wants to play with them.

Being autistic, he gets emotionally close to his toys and cars, and if he can’t find one, we all look.

I wouldn’t like it if someone sold something without my knowledge, so we treat him the same way.

We then decide the price when we have the items he’s ready to sell at a garage sale.

Choosing Used Clothing To Sell

Another way we teach him savings methods is to sell clothing and jackets he no longer fits in.

He loves to pick and choose what to sell and folds them to look pristine for the buyer.

Seeing how he can earn money for his piggy banks is exciting.

Osmo Is A Must For All Parents

We bought our son the Osmo – Pizza Co. Starter Kit for iPad – Ages 5-12 – Communication Skills & Math – (Osmo iPad Base Included) for Christmas.

He was slow to get into Osmo, and I always sat with him to help guide him through the process.

It’s taken time, but not he loves Pizza Osmo and interacts so well with the system.

He can also whiz through the math that he continues to grow his skills which he struggles with within a classroom setting.

Osmo has many other learning kits that you can choose from, but the Osmo pizza is a winner for learning about money interactions.

I’m updating this post after I wrote it to tell you how awesome Osmo has helped him.

All About Osmo

  • OSMO IS MAGIC: Fun-filled & award-winning learning games. Children interact with actual handheld pieces & an iPad, bringing a child’s game pieces & actions to life (No WiFi necessary for gameplay). An Osmo Base for iPad is included, but an iPad is not included; both are required for gameplay.
  • TEACHING: Make pizza for customers, collect payment & make a change (dollars/coins), & learn the profitability of your business. Additional game concepts include Addition, Subtraction, Fractions, mental math, design, and communication skills (Pizza Co.).
  • SKILLS LEARNED: Real-world (business) math, money, addition, subtraction, fractions, fast-paced mental math, running & grow a business, social interaction, listening, critical thinking, observation, creative problem solving & basic business concepts. Osmo sees and reacts to every real-life move. Geared towards children & love of learning.
  • AGE & CAPABILITY: Ages 5-12+. The game is designed for beginner to expert levels. Osmo enables the continuation of learning. Real-time audio and visual feedback lets children learn through experimentation in a stress-free environment.
  • COMPATIBILITY FOR IPAD: All iPads except Generation 1-4, Air Gen 1, & iPad Mini Gen 1-3. The new iPad 10th Gen, iPad Pro 11” (4th Gen), & iPad Pro 12.9” (6th Gen) are not currently compatible; compatibility is coming later in 2023. iPad Reflector 2021 is required for iPad Mini 6, iPad Air 4-5, iPad Pro 11-inch & iPad Pro 12.9-inch. The minimum iOS version needed is iOS 15.

Savings Methods On Books and Video Games

  • Coach our son on the significance of going to the library instead of buying books.

They often send home Scholastic book forms at school, but we don’t buy any books.

I realize that some of the earnings go towards the school; however, he doesn’t want to buy them.

He knows he can borrow books and games from the library, which means spending no money.

It’s not uncommon to have our son sift through book titles at second-hand shops.

He will look through any books the seller has in a bin or table, even at garage sales.

He also understands that the least amount of money he removes from his piggy bank is better.

We Bring Our Autistic Son To Garage Sales

  • Communicate the importance of bringing a child to a garage sale and how to negotiate.

He’s learned the importance of garage sales from three years old.

Most homeowners hold a garage sale to earn money back from what they’ve used and purchased.

Another reason for garage sales is so that you can negotiate prices and find items for less than retail and second-hand prices.

We taught him to negotiate and carry Canadian coins in his pocket to buy items.

He negotiated a Jack and The Beanstock book at a garage sale for $0.25 instead of $0.50.

The homeowner was awed to hear such a young boy asking for a discount at a garage sale.

  • Start an entrepreneurial adventure with your child from home.

Our neighbour’s daughter is 9 years old, and every Wednesday after school, she hosts a craft class.

The class is held outdoors in the driveway on fold-out tables.

Each week she has a new craft for the kids who attend to make.

To participate in the craft class, she charges each child two dollars which pays for craft materials.

Each child gets teamwork, crafting skills, and socialization from the adventure.

Open A Bank Account For Your Autistic Child

  • Learn the benefits of opening a bank account for your child to deposit savings.

Aside from his piggy banks, we’ve opened a bank account for him, and he knows about depositing money.

We’ve talked to him about how money in his bank account will earn interest, but he’s not sure yet.

He knows that the money in the bank account is his and wants to see his online bank balance at least once a week.

It’s cute that he’s thrilled about banking, saving, and earning money while negotiating.

How We Teach Our Autistic Son To Budget

  • Have your child help with the family’s monthly budget.

We budget monthly, collect receipts for anything we purchase, and put them in the money bag we bought at the Dollar Store.

We’ve tasked our son with organizing the receipts into budget categories.

For example, the grocery receipts, as does Shoppers Drug Mart, go into one pile.

As he ages will give him new tasks to do with our monthly budget until he’s ready to make his own.

How A Basic Credit Card Works

  • Why do we use our credit cards to pay for purchases and benefits?

In the past, he asked us about credit cards and why we don’t use money, so we explained it to him.

We took a fundamental approach to credit card education by explaining that we earn rewards points.

For example, we told him that we use our PC MasterCard to earn Optimum points to get free stuff from Shoppers, Zehrs, or No Frills.

However, we felt it was essential to teach him that plastic is not money and we still have to pay the bill each month.

We have our Canadian Tire Mastercard bill in the post to show him the expenses and how much we need to pay.

We don’t know whether he understands it, but we will continue to educate him about credit card debt.

Teaching Our Autistic Son To Cook

  • Have your children help prep food in the kitchen

Our son has an apron we bought at a second-hand store and a chef’s hat.

He loves the chef’s outfit and always acts goofy while he has it on.

I picked up a small table for free on the side of the road, and this has become his prep station.

Since he was two years old, he’s made cakes, homemade cookies, and chocolate chip muffins.

We have videos to prove that he was helping in the kitchen when he got older.

Grocery Shopping With Children

  • Bring your child grocery shopping and explain how to save money and plan meals.

Lastly, we always bring him grocery shopping and allow him to participate in making a grocery list.

Before his autism diagnosis, he struggled to walk on shiny floors and had to sit inside a shopping cart.

He’s overcome that fear but won’t put his head underwater and struggles to ride a bike.

His biggest sensory problem is with eating foods with certain textures and tastes.

It’s tough for us, but we try to include food in his lunch and dinner even if he doesn’t eat them.

We let him know we’ve added something new to try if he wants, so there’s no stress.

Hiring A Nutritionist Who Deals With Autistic Children

He will work with a specialist who works with autistic children with food aversions as soon as a spot opens.

In the meantime, we include him in meal plans even though he only eats pizza, hot dogs, and grilled cheese.

He loves homemade pancakes, waffles, and French Toast with pure maple syrup.

I once offered him five dollars to try Corn Pops cereal as he’s never eaten cereal before.

Once he took a bite, he threw up, and that was the last time I tried that method.

It was me at my wit’s end, but now I realize it was a silly route.

We allow him to eat what he wants but he must have fruit, yogurt, and vegetable (cucumber).

Bananas, watermelon, strawberries, and apples are the only fruits he will eat, which is OK with us.

Cucumbers are the only vegetable he will eat, including tomato sauce on his pizza.

Review Savings Methods Until They Understand

It doesn’t matter if your child doesn’t understand the basic savings methods immediately.

Continue to teach them through everyday living until they understand and lead them by example.

Don’t be afraid to let children make money decisions, whether it be a small business venture selling stuff they no longer need.

Please bring them to the bank and have them deposit money into their bank account with you.

I WAS THRILLED when I used to deposit my paper route and dish-cleaning savings into my bank account.

Give your children the gift of financial knowledge and remind them about the benefits of the savings methods you’ve taught them.

Discussion Questions:

Please feel free to comment on this post or answer any of the following questions.

Are there any savings methods you wish your parents had taught you?

What savings methods do you teach your children?

If you have an autistic child, how do you teach them about money?

I’d love to read your feedback and experiences so we might apply them to our curriculum at home with our son.

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