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7 Lessons Your Kids Should Learn About Money

7 Lessons Your Kids Should Learn About Money

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.

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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?” 

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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