When you buy a savings bond, you agree to let the government use your money for a certain period of time - three years, five years, or maybe even longer. You pay less for the bond than the amount printed on it; at the end of the loan period, when the bond matures, you can cash it in for the full amount.

Buying bonds is an easy way to save for your long-term plans, like college. Because you have to wait until the bonds mature, you won't be tempted to use that money for other things. Bonds make good presents - maybe you've already gotten one for your birthday or some special event.

You can buy Series EE Bonds and Series I Bonds from most banks or credit unions. Some banks even sell bonds over the Internet! Anyone who lives in the United States and has a Social Security Number can buy a U.S. savings bond - you don't have to be a grown-up.