6 creative and simple ways to teach kids about money
Teaching kids about money, budgets, saving money, to buy only the things they need (or really really really really want) are life skills that kids need to develop. This is an area I definitely need to learn more about - thankfully, Sarah from ASimpleandContentedLife is here to share some tips, tricks and insight with us. Here's her post:
Internet banking, Apple Pay, contactless cards and the apps on our phones. Today’s modern way of paying for things might make life easier, but it also means that cash is becoming less and less visible to our kids. The days of queuing in the bank to withdraw our money and paying for things with cash only are long gone. Instead, a simple swipe of our phone or a tap of our card gets us whatever we want.
To our kids this can make it seem like there’s an endless supply of money just waiting to be spent. Whilst that would be nice, the reality is money doesn’t grow on trees. We have to earn it before we can spend it. But if our kids don’t get to see or hold it anymore, how are we supposed to teach them the value of it?
It all starts with us…
If we want our kids to have a healthy attitude towards money, we have to lead by example. And that means we need to have a healthy attitude towards it too. If we’re careless with our money and don’t appreciate its value, we can’t expect our kids to either. If we’re spending it before we get it, if we’re buying all the latest gadgets and gizmos without worrying about the cost, or we’re constantly arguing with our spouse about money, we’re not sending out a very healthy message.
Understanding where money comes from…
Teaching our kids the value of money isn’t just about setting an example. They also need to understand what it is and where it comes from. If they’re little it might be a while before they fully understand, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start as you mean to go on. Teach them that mummy and/or daddy go to work each day to earn money to pay for things and they’re more likely to appreciate its value. By explaining that your boss gives you money each month for the hours you work, they’re learning that money isn’t just handed out, it has to be earned.
My youngest is only 7 but he understands that once we’ve worked for it, it gets paid into our account and the bank looks after it until we need it. He also understands that when we pay for something, the tap of the card tells the machine to take the money from the bank for us. We’ve explained to him that once that money is gone it’s gone. There’s no endless pool and if we want more, Mummy and Daddy need to work to earn it.
We can’t always have what we want…
Thanks to the internet, it’s never been easier to get our hands on what we want whenever we want it most. We order something online and it’s on our doorstep within 24 hours. Whilst that’s great it does nothing to help us teach our kids the value of money. All it does is give the impression we never have to wait for anything.
But sometimes we do. The reality is we can’t always have what we want when we want it. Sometimes we have to wait. Sometimes we have to save until we have the money for it. And it’s important our kids understand that too. If they don’t they’ll just grow up thinking they can buy whatever they want whether they have the money or not and they’re more likely to end up in debt.
Sometimes we have to save…
We’ve taught our youngest that sometimes, if something is really big (e.g. a car) or really special (e.g. a holiday), we have to save for it. And that means putting away the pennies until we have enough. We’ve also taught him that putting things on the credit card isn’t the answer. We’ve explained to him that a credit card isn’t free money waiting to be spent. It’s money that we borrow from someone else and we have to pay it back. I know he understands because his response was “then really, that makes it a debt card, not a credit card Mummy”…exactly! And if they were called debt cards instead of credit cards, would we all be so quick to use one?!
Needs vs wants…
Understanding where money comes from and that sometimes we have to save if we want something are great places to start when it comes to teaching our kids the value of money. But if we want them to fully appreciate it’s value, we also need to teach them the difference between needing something and wanting something.
Just because we want something doesn’t mean we have to buy it. Yes, it’s nice to treat ourselves sometimes – especially when it feels like all our money goes on bills and groceries! But, always spending out, buying things we don’t need means we’re potentially wasting money that could be better spent elsewhere or put into a savings account.
Introducing healthy habits…
So how do we put all of this into practice? What can we do with our kids to show them these principles in action so they truly understand and appreciate the value of money? Here are a few things to try:
1. Use cash more frequently. Allow them to pay for things for you. Have them count the change before giving it back to you.
2. Add as you go. Take a calculator to the grocery store and have them add up the cost of everything as you go around.
3. Play ‘shop’ at home. Grab a few items from your larder and some play money and take it in turns to play shopkeeper.
4. Try the 7-Day Rule. If my son wants something, we ask him to wait for at least a week to see if he still wants it at the end of it. It’s a great way to test whether he really wants it, or whether the money is just burning a hole in his pocket!
5. Give them the chance to earn some money. Are there any extra chores they can do for you or ways to help around the house to earn a few extra pennies?
6. Have them save for something. Create a savings chart. Write or add a picture of whatever it is they want to buy and add the amount they need to save.
Teaching our kids the value of money…
Teaching our kids about the value of money doesn’t mean we have to be strict or boring. Or that we have to stop buying the things we want. It just means being responsible about our own attitude towards money and the kind of message we’re teaching our kids. I’m certainly no financial expert and I definitely don’t have my own finances nailed. But I’m trying. Just like everyone else, I’m learning as I go and I know that the earlier I teach my kids the value of money, the better their relationship with it will be. By adopting a few healthy money habits my son is learning to appreciate it’s value and by doing the same, yours can too.
Incredibly passionate about helping others slow things down, find more balance and create a life they love, Sarah is the founder of the blog A Simple and Contented Life. Her mission is to help busy, overwhelmed
mums to take back control, find more time for themselves and live a family life that’s less stressful and more enjoyable. Proud mum of two and besotted wife, Sarah is also the owner of a Frenchie pup called Arthur. When she isn’t blogging she can be found in her favourite Starbucks, hazelnut latte in one hand, book in the other!
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Hi. I'm Bri - the wife, mom, RN and Health Coach who's here to help you eliminate toxins so that your family can experience true health and wellness. Read more about me here.