Let’s face it, many of us adults these days are terrible with our money. Our bad habits get passed on to our kids and then they’re doomed to repeat the same choices we did with our money. As parents, we usually want something better than we had for our children. When it comes to handling money, if it’s done poorly, it can truly make life hard. So, if you’re good with money or you aren’t, here are a few tips to help further your money teaching game.
Make them Budget Their Allowance – This might sound like torture to your child but it truly will make them think twice as they get older, about what they spend their money on. Don’t let them just blow their allowance on the first thing they see. Make them plan it out—some into savings, some for spending, etc. They will really be glad you did even if it takes a while for them to see its importance.
Think About No Allowance at All – This might sound horrible as well but growing up, I started out getting an allowance. However, I truly learned a deeper level of respect when my parents sat us down and explained to us how taking care of the house and doing the chores was a family thing. These were things we should be doing no matter what. They said they didn’t get paid to do the daily chores and from then on, we weren’t either. It was hard to grasp at first but it was a lesson that stuck with me and truly made me cherish the hard work it takes for an adult to thrive on a daily basis. Taking care of my house wasn’t optional, it was necessary. It sure did make me cherish that little bit of money I did earn because outside of allowance, I had no income so it was much harder work to earn spending money. It was worth the money lesson I learned from it.
Get Them a Savings Account – When I got to the point where I was counting every penny I earned multiple times a day, my mother took me to get a kid’s savings account. It allowed me to understand that it truly pays to put the money out of sight and out of mind. They never added a penny to that account, it was all ours that we chose to put in there. My parents never forced us to save but always told us we would be sorry if we didn’t. They sure as heck were right. I’m a total saver now.
Make Them Take Care of the Paperwork for the Account – My mother sat down and taught us how to use a checkbook. This included keeping track of how much we had deposited and how much had been withdrawn so we knew our total at all times. She left it up to us after she taught us, on keeping track of the amounts. If we withdrew money for a purchase, we were the one responsible for knowing if we had enough. Luckily none of us overdrew our accounts but it sure felt like pins and needles some days.
Make a Game Out of It – I remember some mornings when my mother would sit us all down with a pile of coins. She would ask us various questions about how we could make certain amounts using the coins we had. She got tricky on us sometimes but it was a twofold game of learning math and money skills. There are plenty of ways to learn about money through games and it makes it feel a little less burdensome on children to do it that way.
Make Them Have a Reason for Buying – More times than not, when my mother was teaching me about money, she would make me give a legitimate reason for why I was spending my money. “Why do you feel that you need to spend half of your savings on those chips and that candy?” If I didn’t have a solid reason for spending such an amount, I had to put it back. I was often thankful later on that she had stopped me because I would find something cooler and more useful.
Get Them Involved in Bills – Kids often don’t realize all the bills that have to be paid on a monthly basis. My mom didn’t usually involve us in those matters but a time or two she would take us with her to go pay all the bills and it took all day, it felt like. She would have us try and guess how much the bills were and then once we figured it out, she would tell us all the other things we could buy with that money. It truly boggled our minds that they had that much money in the first place. We used to think we were rich but in all actuality, we were very poor.
Don’t Just Hand Them Money All the Time – The worst thing you can do for a child is just hand them money whenever they want it. I had a few friends growing up who could just walk up to their dad and ask for a twenty and get it without hesitation. When their parents booted them out at 18, reality hit them hard. I never walked up to my parents and asked for money. When they offered, I would never say no, that’s for sure, but I would never ask. I, more times than not, had to earn my money by doing one of their chores or something similar in return. We both had to get something out of the deal because they said, that’s how life works. Boy, were they right.