4 years ago1,000+ Views
The Life as Mama blog has a great list of ten things you can do to teaching your children about money. Here are their 10 methods (with my parenthetical notes): 1. Ditch The Pig While piggy banks are traditional, cute and fun, the truth is that they don’t give kids the opportunity to watch their savings add up over time. A great idea is to grab a clear jar, A Mason jar would do just fine in this instance, and have your children put their earnings in there. As they see their dollar bills and change adding up, they will understand the value of saving. (We've been using a cute "piggy" bank for our toddler that's actually an elephant, but now I'm rethinking that strategy. He definitely does forget it's there, and I think he isn't aware of the coins anymore once they're in there.) 2. Use Primarily Cash For Purchases While your debit and credit cards are quite convenient, they aren’t going to do much in the way of teaching your children about money. Handing over a piece of plastic every time you make a purchase isn’t proving any points to them. When you can, pay with cash, for example, if you go grocery shopping, or even to run a simple errand like pick up milk, let your child hold the money, tell them how much the item cost, let them hand the money over to the cashier. (I think this is a great point. With the number of debt problems many people have to deal with starting pretty early in their lives, getting in the habit of using credit cards is not something I want to instill in my child. Also, I agree that it is too abstract, much like the piggy bank.) 3. Use Modern Tools To Teach Them The internet is a wonderful tool for educating kids about finances. There are many age-specific games geared towards helping kids learn about money and honing their math skills further. A simple internet search will provide many options to give your kids the right start! A great place online that makes learning about money fun is Kasasa, featuring great games and apps that will have kids wanting to learn more! (I might do this with my son when he's older, though right now I'm trying to really limit his exposure to electronics and the internet. I know he's going to be really into it before we know it, so for now we'll just delay it!) 4. Family (and Finance!) Game Night Board games are a great way to ease in a lesson or two about money and finances. Take Monopoly for example, children will have to learn to budget their money so that they do not run out, they have to learn to invest it wisely, etc. The Game of Life is another great one, money has to be budgeted for education, a home, and more. Board games are a unique and engaging way to get your kids involved in the learning process! (I definitely can't wait to try this. We love board games! Even the little ones can get started on this path, and learn math in the process, just by modifying the toddler games. For example, we always turn Hungry Hungry Hippos into a counting game after we each collect our apples.) 5. Give Them Accountability Let your children be accountable for their chores, as well as collecting their allowance at the end of the week. This teaches them responsibility as well as accountability. Still check in on them, but give them the responsibility of maintaining their chore schedule, perhaps with the help of a chart, and this will be a lesson that will surely come in handy later on in life when they go on to get jobs and careers! (As a supplement or alternative to paying for chores or giving an allowance, one of my friends gave her daughters coin rewards for being kind. She was trying to get them to be more thoughtful and respectful, and it worked! After a while, she didn't have to give rewards anymore and they kept the habit.) 6. Use Charts and Planners By employing the use of a chart or planner, you are helping your children learn about where money goes. We have “spend” money, where they can spend the amount they have on a little toy now for instant gratification, or “save,” where they can save up their dollars until they have enough for a larger item they may want, say for instance, a bicycle, or a new video game. Finally, if your children are old enough, you can also teach them about donating to charity. By keeping a chart with all of these different areas, your children will be able to visually see where exactly their money is going! (I think having a charity mindset is important right from the get-go. We already have our toddler periodically - and willingly - choose some toys he doesn't want anymore to give to charity.) 7. No More Splurges All too often as parents, we find ourselves in the middle of the toy aisle at Wal-Mart or Target, with our little one’s batting their best puppy-dog eyes at us. How did we get there? You went in for laundry detergent! Our little ones have fine-tuned the art of manipulating us into buying them a toy. But hey, we all do it. As they get older, though, it is important to teach them that at a certain point, you are going to stop doing that because they have their own money now, so they can buy their own toys. This reinforces the responsibility rule. (This will be hard! I definitely try not to overindulge our child, but I still think it's fun to buy a little present at the store for no particular reason. Especially because many of his toys he has 'earned' through good behavior or as a reward.) 8. The Value of Pocket Change Even though pocket change may seem rather insignificant, it can add up pretty quick. So if and when your children purchase something and receive change back, take that opportunity to explain to them the value of keeping a change jar. Also teach them about the values of the coins as well, such as nickels being five cents, dimes being ten cents, and so on. (They definitely add up! We take ours to CoinStar machines at grocery stores. Actually, many of them now give you the option to apply your money to an Amazon gift card or something like that.) 9. Involve Them In Their Education Funds When the time comes and your children are old enough, sit down with them and show them how the savings accounts for their respective educations have grown over the years from mom, dad, grandma and grandpa putting money into it. Explain to them that they too can add to this account if they wish to. It will make them feel important and responsible as they think of their future. Let them know that they can give you any money they want to put into those respective accounts. Even pocket change counts, it all adds up in the end! (I would love to read your thoughts in the comments about how best to handle education-related savings. I'm still trying to figure out the best strategy for us!) 10. Teach The Art of The Savvy Shopper To children, it may seem that we grown-ups just go to the store and pick up whatever we like and then pay for it. But many of us have budgets to stick to, and to do so we have to learn to be savvy shoppers and find the best deals. Teach your children little by little about saving money where and when you can, like perhaps buying store-brand cereal versus brand name, take them on the next shopping trip and show them how the price tags stack up against one another. You’ll be teaching them a valuable skill for their future! (I think even just vocalizing our decision process out loud while we do our shopping could really help, even when they're little.) So there they are, 10 great ways to teach kids about money. Check out the original post by following the link, and explore more at lifeasmama.com.
My mom always told me not to use my credit card unless I'm traveling. I guess it saved me for impulsive purchases!
Tip #2 is a great point! I've seen people abuse their credit card as soon as they have access to it. As a result, they can't control the amount they spend and accumulate debts.
@alise @stargaze I totally agree... it is very hard to keep track of how much you're spending when you can't see it. I even have trouble with that with a debit card, since most of us don't physically "balance our checkbooks" the way people always used to do.