Simple Ways to Teach Kids About Money
Money is one of those topics that can often be hard to confront. It's one of those things that many adults consider to be had to talk about and wish that they would have handled their finances differently, especially during their young lives. As parents, teaching kids about money early on could impact how they handle their own expenses later in life. Here are some simple ways to teach kids about money.
- Be a good example of spending. Children are observant, and they will watch the way you spend when they are with you. Do your best to be a good role model by being careful about your own expense management. A simple way to demonstrate this to could be to write a list of items you need with your child before heading to the grocery store. Once you get there, stick to your list, avoiding the urge to buy something you may want but don't really need. Ask your child to manage the list to make sure that you got everything on there without grabbing anything else.
- Get a piggy bank that your child can use to save their money in. While they may not be receiving an allowance yet, they may get some money for doing small chores or for occasions like their birthday. While a fun, decorated piggy bank might be fun for your child, think about getting transparent one. This way, your child can see how much money that they begin to save over time.
- Help your child set a small spending goal. Once your child has something in mind that they'd like to have, encourage them to save their money in order to buy it. If they want to stray from their goal, help get their minds back on track to keep saving for what they really want.
- As your child grows up, you may decide to begin giving them an allowance. Help them learn the value of a dollar earned by asking them to do some simple household chores or tasks as a way to earn some of that allowance. This will help your child understand that money is earned for a job well done.
- Keep involving your child in shopping trips by talking to them about how to evaluate items and get the best deal. Along with this, teach your child about evaluating a deal based on need. For example, a 5-pound bag of apples may be on sale at the grocery store this week, but will your family eat that many apples before they begin to go bad? In this case, buying what's not on sale may make more sense for your family.
- If they don't have one already, now may be the time to consider getting your child a bank account. This is especially important if they are planning to get an after-school job through which they will earn a paycheck. Take your child to the bank to get this setup, and explain how they will be responsible for this account moving forward. While they may have been managing money in their piggy bank at home well for some time now, seeing a bank balance and learning about checks, interest, and how to use ATMs is another important lesson in managing money.
- Talk to your teenager about credit cards, both the pros and the cons. As an adult, it becomes important to have credit built up under your name, but irresponsible spending or missing payments can have a huge impact on financial freedom. While they may not get their first credit card until they are a few years older, learning about them now can't hurt.
Teaching kids about money is much more than showing them how to save. It's also about spending responsibly and knowing how to get the best deal. Depending on your child's maturity, some lessons may come sooner or later than others. All in all, it will take time on your end to teach these lessons, but doing so will be well worth the effort.