CHICAGO (CBS) — A group of 3rd graders at Charles R. Henderson Elementary School in the Englewood neighborhood got a lesson in saving on Tuesday.

They joined about 1,000 other students learning about financial literacy on “National Teach Children to Save Day.”

Citibank regional consumer banking president Jerome Byers read a story to the kids about the importance of saving, and each of them was given a dollar coin, which they promised to save.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

“When your money’s gone, it’s gone,” Byers said. “Don’t spend it all right away.”

He said it’s important to start teaching kids about the need to save money as early as possible.

“Every kid relates to money,” he added. “You know, most kids think their parents just have money. They really relate to the items you get with money. What they don’t understand is that money can sometimes run out.”

Chicago City Treasurer Stephanie Neely also took part in the program. She said her goal is to make financial literacy part of the curriculum in the Chicago Public Schools.

When Neely showed the kids a credit card and asked them if it was a good thing or a bad thing, the kids said it was a good thing, prompting a loud shout of “NO!” from Neely.

“When they’re young, you are shaping behaviors,” Neely said. “By the time they get to high school, you are changing behaviors, and as we all know, it’s a lot harder to change a behavior.”

She said it’s important to teach kids how to shop so they understand there are choices to make and that they can delay gratification by waiting to buy some things when you need them, not necessarily when you want them.

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