Learning about Money Together
Home Savings Bank offers several opportunities for families to learn and share money management skills. A centerpiece for children is Homer's Club. Many area adults started out with Homer's Club accounts and have fond memories of the Save, Share, Spend traditions. You'll find that all of us encourage you to include your children in routine banking activities.
Homer's Club for Children
If you are between 0 and 12 years old, you can join Homer's Club. Visit any one of the four, friendly Home Savings Banks. You can find us on Mineral Point Road, East Washington Avenue, and across from the Capitol in Madison, or on Main Street in Stoughton.
Bring your parent, and some money to open your account. Your parent should bring a driver’s license or photo ID, and we will need your social security number. We can open your account with as little as $1. Each time you bring in another $10, you get to choose a prize from my Safari Prize Box. You get special gifts when you save more, like a big stuffed Homer!
Accounts for Young People
In addition, we are happy to help your family set up special accounts to suit the needs of your tween, teen, or college student. Our Essential checking account offers a basic checking account with premium features like interest and online bill pay. This account can include debit cards and online banking. We encourage pairing it with a savings account and will happily recommend the best savings options for your family's goals, along with savings tips.
Homer's Advice for Parents
Homer has helped children learn the value of saving since 1972. Generations have followed his advice to practice Homer’s Big 3: Save, Share, Spend. This encourages young children to consider carefully how they will use a sum of money, and divide each sum three ways.
Learning to save teaches children the importance of delayed gratification. We suggest putting a portion of any monetary gifts, or allowance, into savings, to help build a regular habit of saving for the future. Homer helps keep children enthused about saving with incentives for each subsequent deposit of $10 or more, and larger incentive gifts when certain deposit milestones are reached.
Children model our behaviors and they often see us taking money out of our accounts, either via an ATM or a drive-up window. Saving money is less evident to them, so it is important to discuss and model that behavior as well. Letting children know about your own savings habits provides them with an understanding of the process, and can give them first-hand experience about the rewards of saving. It is a good idea to let school-age children know that part of the planning for a family vacation, for example, starts well in advance when you begin saving money.
Children value the opportunity to help others, and setting aside a portion to give away can be a very rewarding experience. Homer suggests you have an age-appropriate discussion with your child about the various ways to help, and set a goal. For a very small child this might mean collecting pennies until they add up to twenty-five cents, which can be dropped in the donation box at the zoo, and then discussing the food that might buy for the child’s favorite zoo animal. Older children might enjoy hearing about a variety of community organizations that help other children, and choosing one for their giving. Create a special jar that holds your child’s “donations,” and watch them add up. Or suggest that each time your child’s savings account reaches a certain milestone, a small amount be withdrawn and donated.
Allowing children to spend a portion of their “earnings” engages them in decision-making and teaches them about value. Help them compare items, and make satisfying decisions. Homer suggests children do some smaller spending as they go, but also consider saving towards a special goal. You might work with a child who wants a larger item, encouraging them to save half the cost, then matching the amount once their goal is reached. This helps your child understand the true cost of an item and engages them in choosing wisely.
Homer the Lion's Story
Once upon a time in a grassy forest in Africa, a lion cub was born. He was gentle and kind, but his mane was a little scraggly. His eyes and nose were just a bit lopsided. Some of the other lions made fun of him. His parents loved him and named him Homer.
As Homer grew, he stayed a little bit rumpled. He became a favorite though, because he was always kind and honest. Homer was invited to the United States to live in the Henry Vilas Zoo in 1971.
Home Savings Bank donated money to the zoo, and Homer spent many days visiting the bank’s Downtown lobby. Zookeepers took Homer back and forth, and served Homer his lunch at the bank. Many Homer’s Club members visited Homer and were inspired to save their money.
Today Homer's money smarts are known far and wide. He helped moms and dads learn about saving, and now he helps their children. Homer has grown into a great lion after all.