Kids don’t just grow up and magically acquire money-management skills. Financial responsibility is a life-long skill that should be taught from an early age. Not only can you help your kids by talking with them and being open with them about money concerns, but also there are fun ways to instill financial responsibility in kids. Here are a few of my favorite ideas for teaching kids about money.
Clip coupons together. Work together by going through the newspaper and clipping coupons for things you need to buy. Have a discussion about why you shouldn’t buy unneeded items just because there is a good coupon or sale. Go shopping together, and allow your child to keep the money you save with the coupons. This helps distinguish the difference between “wants” and “needs,” and promotes saving.
Go to a yard sale. Let your child spend a portion of their allowance money or savings at a yard sale. They’ll be amazed at how much further their pennies can stretch at yard sale than at the mall. A thrift shop would also be a great place to visit with the kids.
Volunteer and donate together. Take your child shopping for groceries to donate to a local food pantry, or choose things from your personal belongings to give to Goodwill. This helps teach children that some families have more than others, and gives them an appreciation for the blessings they experience every day.
Encourage your child to earn money. Earning their own money can be both educational and empowering for children. It leaves them with a huge sense of a pride, and an appreciation for the value of their hard-earned pennies. Ways for children to earn money include setting up a lemonade stand, helping with the family garage sale, and doing extra chores around the house for additional allowance money. This is a great way for children to learn the value of a dollar.
Take a financial class together. Many credit unions and banks offer seminars for children. Offer your child the option to take one of these classes. You’ll be surprised at how excited your child gets when learning about finances.
Set goals as a family. Maybe your child is dying to take a family vacation, or purchase a new backyard swing set. Have them contribute to family expenses by contributing a portion of their allowance into a savings jar. Your child will have a real sense of pride when that goal is finally reached.
Play online games. There are tons of free online games out there that are fun and educational. Sheppard Software, for example, has several free games that help kids learn about finances.
Have a savings contest. If you have multiple children, encourage them to save by having a contest. Give them all equally-sized jars. Encourage them to fill the jar with money as quickly as possible. The first one with a full jar wins an award. When the jars are full, take your children to the bank to open savings accounts, and deposit the money.