Kids are money guzzlers. They want a million things and they want them now. Teaching kids the value of money has to come slowly. Trying to make young kids understand that everything they are wearing, eating, watching, or playing with costs money will make their heads explode. If you set aside some time to teach your kids to save or make choices with money, it can help them understand how to treat it.
Keep up learning about money by introducing it to your kids in everyday events and special outings.
It’s important for children to see the things they want will cost money, but charging them to a credit card is difficult for children to understand. Try using cash for purchases that your children are included in. U.S. News suggests letting kids put coins in a parking meter. This shows kids the direct correlation between how many minutes they have the parking space for and how much it will cost.
My parents always gave us allowances in exchange for completing a chore or two. We had set chores every week; my chores were cleaning my room and cleaning up after dinner. One thing to remember when giving out an allowance is to withhold it when the chore is not done. Children shouldn’t learn that they are going to get paid whether they do the work or not. On the other hand, don’t forget to give them their allowance on the agreed upon day. It’s also bad if a child learns that you don’t have to pay someone for doing their job.
Tip: Stress that helping out the family around the house is not just for money. I would start dinner for my mom when she was running late, or unload the dishwasher when I had time. My parents would never include these things in my chores or in my allowance because they stressed “it is just nice to be nice.”
When you are on vacation or an outing where your children are picking out things to buy, give them a few limits. For example, if it’s a week-long trip to the beach, tell them they can only buy one souvenir to take home. Stress that they should look around to make sure it’s the one they want. They will learn to choose wisely and not spend all their money at once. You can also give them a spending limit and allow them to buy as many things as they want within that limit. It will stress the importance of saving. If they have a $20 limit and they spend $13 at the arcade, they will see the value of saving when they can’t get the $12 t-shirt they want.
Along with saving, show your children what paying a little more for something can do. If you give your son two dollars to get something when he goes to the grocery store with you, he could get something small like a pack of gum. Offer keeping the money to use next time he comes, and tell him you will give him two dollars next time as well. Explain to him, if he saves it, he can buy three packs of gum in a value pack instead of the two he would have had over two weeks. It teaches kids to weigh the pros and cons of paying more money for the same item, showing them the value of waiting and saving.
Tip from Money Saving Mom: Don’t offer to buy your child something every time you shop at a store. It will send the wrong message about how money is earned and make errands harder to complete. Keep this lesson strictly to the grocery store.
Give your kids a reason to save. Here are some fun projects and containers for saving those pennies.
has a great tutorial on how to create jars for giving, spending and saving. The jars stack, so you have all your kids money jars stacked together. This will show kids where their money is going and how much is going where— a great way to guide your kids to financial success.
If your child is trying to save for something specific, show them what they are working for. Create a shadowbox of their goal so they can constantly put money toward it. This tutorial from Come Together Kids shows you just how to create a bank that looks great on his or her desk!
Sometimes, kids just want a fun place to hold their money. You can still teach the values of saving in a fun container. Check out Goods Home Design for three great tutorials on how to make a fun way to save, like the cow and pig banks above!
DIY Chore Board
Keep track of the chores. Easy and cute ways to keep track of the chores kids are doing are combined with earning money in these DIY projects.
For something nice to hang in the kitchen, check out The Windthrop Chronicles’ tutorial. The board is beautiful, and combines allowances with chores. If you don’t like the pebble system, you can use actual money so that kids can see how tasks correlate to cash.
This slightly less difficult DIY from The Chic Family gives more leeway to your kids. They can choose their jobs and how many jobs they want to do. Is your daughter trying to go to the movies but is a few dollars short? Instead of just handing over the money, consider the board!