You’re never too young to learn some basic money-management steps that will help you become a financially responsible adult. Most schools teach our children absolutely nothing about financial matters, so it is your responsibility to teach your children everything you can. If you’d like to help your kids become frugal adults, start with these 7 lessons your kids should learn about money.
1. Money Is Earned
In today’s dreadful economy, raising your children to expect things to be handed to them with no effort would put them at a serious disadvantage in the workforce. I’m not saying you should pay them to do household chores that they should already be doing for no financial reward (because who doesn’t want to live in a clean home free from clutter?), but do encourage them to open a lemonade stand, help you prepare for a yard-sale, and mow neighbor’s yards when they are old enough.
2. Want Vs. Need
Children need to understand that what we need always comes before what we want. If they want a new toy or video game and cash is tight, explain that money is a limited resource and things like clothing and food come first.
3. The Power of Patience
Set some ground rules: for every $10 your child earns, at least $1 must be saved. Get three separate piggy banks and label them like so: savings, spending, and giving. Do not force them to put away money for giving, but do explain that other children in the world aren’t as fortunate as they are, so giving would be a very nice thing to do. Take a look at the money in the savings pile once per month and let them marvel at the power of patience. Explain that you have to save money just like they do to afford super fun things like vacations to a theme park and ask, “Aren’t you glad I’m smart enough to save money?”
4. Shop for Value
When your child is old enough to grasp basic math, take them with you to the grocery store and involve them in the process of bargain shopping. Show them two identical items at different prices and ask them which one looks like the better option.
5. You Can’t Have It All
Everyone deserves an occasional splurge, but there is no denying the fact that buying everything we want would result in financial disaster. Take your child to a toy store, give them a $20 bill, and allow them to pick whatever they desire as long as it fits the budget.
6. Old Stuff = New Money
When your child grows out of clothes and loses interest in toys, plan a yard sale or trip to the thrift shop. Go ahead and use this opportunity to get rid of any unneeded stuff of your own. Sell anything you can and give away the rest.
7. Giving Feels Good
At Christmas time, participate in a charity like the Angel Tree or Operation Christmas Child. Ask your children how much they love receiving presents. After they express how wonderful it feels, explain that other families don’t have enough money to buy nice things for their children. Choose a less fortunate child to buy presents for and involve your children in the process. Take them to the store, tell them what a child that age might enjoy, and give them a set budget to spend on presents. Your child will be more thankful for the blessings in their life and more likely to become a charitable adult.
What are you teaching your kids about money?
If you’re a parent, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Are there any lessons your kids should learn about money that aren’t included here? If so, please feel free to leave a comment!