BASTROP, TEXAS - The students at Mina Elementary in Bastrop are learning about banking and saving money, but it's not just a lesson for them.
Each week the students deposit money on "Bank Day."
"It's a way to put saving into practice,” said Mina Elementary School Principal Reba King.
Bastrop ISD partnered with First National Bank to create the program.
"It's important that children at an early age learn how to save,” said First National Bank President Reid Sharp.
He helped start the program 21 years ago, and now his granddaughter is in the program.
"Financial literacy is a big problem in this country and you've got to start when they're young, you can't start at high school,” said Sharp. "You know we develop habits, a lot of times we develop bad habits but saving and doing it on a routine basis is a good habit to start.”
"Whenever I get like birthday checks I put the checks in my bank,” said 4th grader Kara Touchet.
"I feel pretty great because so in the future I have money to do all sorts of stuff,” said Kara’s 3rd grade brother Kevin.
"I think it’s wonderful for kids to learn to save money," said dad Todd Touchet. "It's good for kids to learn to think about saving instead of just spending everything they get."
Touchet is glad they're planning for that future now.
"It makes me feel good because being a parent with young kids, I may not be able to provide college for them and this would be a nice thing if this could turn into a college fund,” said Touchet.
But Kevin Touchet admits, much of the money is coming from within his family.
"Umm mostly from my dad,” said Kevin.
"Every penny eventually adds up and they can have a decent amount of money when they turn 18,” said Todd Touchet. "They can actually do something with it whether it’s go to college, buy a car, get a place to live.”
“As students make their deposits, they actually get to put into practice that this money is actually going into an account with my name on it and I will be able to use it in the future,” said King.
Sharp said they have more than 2,000 student accounts, with an average of about $500 in each account. The average deposit is about $6.
"It’s a saving, it's a start and that's where we've got to start,” Sharp said.
Dominique Barnett started her account in kindergarten.
"I don't remember opening it, I guess I just remember it become a habit,” said Barnett.
She's now out of college and still uses the account.
"I think it was very valuable -- I mean First National was teaching us what it mean to save and even at a young age it probably didn't mean a whole lot but now that I've had a savings account, and of course it's been drawn out and added back to and I wish I had more," said Barnett.
The district and Sharp hope these kids learn young to make saving a habit for the rest of their life.
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