“Moooooooooom…can I have that?”
“I WAAAAANT IT! PLEEEEEEEASE??!!”
“All my friends have one; why can’t you buy me one?”
Sounds familiar and annoying, doesn’t it? Your kids want something, and you want to say no. It’s not so much an issue regarding your money. It’s about teaching your kids about money: how to earn, save and spend it.
You want to teach your kids about money. Here’s how to do it right:
Here are 11 tricks to make money fun for kids:
- Don’t buy them everything. Even if you have unlimited finances, it’s not a good idea. The requests would never stop because the more you give, the more they ask for. Your job as a parent is to set healthy limits and boundaries.
- Start early. When relatives give them cash for their birthdays, let them know they can spend some, save some and donate some.
- Automate savings. Help your kids set up direct deposit if they have a paycheck coming regularly. If not, you can still encourage and help them to start a bank account and teach them how to deposit money into it.
- Set a tangible savings goal. It’s easier for kids to understand the concept of what money can buy if a desired item is waiting for them until they have the money to buy it.
- Debt. Explain to them that they cannot spend what they don’t have. Talk about the pros and cons of debt and the differences between good debt and bad debt. Crunch the numbers with them and make it as realistic as possible. What would happen if they owed $1,000 on a credit card with a 23% interest rate and only paid the minimum each month?
- Give your kids a set allowance. If you are on vacation for example, provide them with spending money, let them know it’s theirs to use as they see fit, but when it’s gone, that’s all there is. Stick to your guns or the lesson backfires.
- Allowance = expectations. Does a weekly allowance teach kids about money? Some say no, it’s just a handout. But it can be used as an instructional tool. It can be withheld for chores not getting done or unacceptable behavior or grades. It teaches kids that money comes at a price of parental expectations.
- Teaching the greater good. Teaching kids about money also means showing them how to pay it forward. Take your kids to a local charity and ask someone there to explain how donated funds are used to help others. It gives kids a broader view of the world, and helps them understand that money is not just about buying stuff they like. Encourage your kids to donate some of their allowances and talk about the donations you make and why. Let them know they can also donate their time.
- Put savings on view. Whether it’s an old-fashioned piggy bank or online account, make sure kids can see their savings adding up. Check the balance with them and celebrate the growth (with a high five).
- Make a game out of saving. Not spending money can be fun. Offer small rewards when monetary milestones are reached. Or offer to match the amount the kids save. Praise resourcefulness and up-cycling.
- Budget as a family. If teaching kids about money has any hope of success, they have to see their parents walk and talk the same line. Use a budgeting tool like Mint to give kids a visual into where household funds go. When your kids are ready, explain the household budgeting system, whether it is online, using a checkbook, or envelopes.
- Target the big spending times: Kids love to get new stuff, especially around back-to-school time. That’s a great time for teaching kids about money by showing them that frugal is fantastic and thrift is the new cool. Vintage and thrift shops, coupons, clothes swaps, bulk buying and sharing supplies shows them that their money goes farther when used carefully.
- Coupons. If you coupon, get your kids involving clipping and organizing. Whatever they help you save at the grocery store and drugstore, deposit into their savings account.
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