From the time your toddler can understand the value of a coin or coupon, they should be earning, saving and maybe even using coupons. But once they reach the 4th grade, they're ready for more learning!
Math Skills Put math skills to the test by asking your child to determine if buying a product with a coupon is a better deal than purchasing another brand. Older children can calculate price per unit and percentage saved.
Allowance, good or bad? An allowance can be an effective teaching tool, but giving your kids money for no reason is like teaching them to live off the system. Teach the same basic budgeting techniques without an allowance. Here are a few ideas:
- Explain in June that your child will be responsible for purchasing their own back-to-school outfit. Let them know that you'll be giving them $5 per week all summer, and it will be their responsibility to save enough of that money to afford their first-day-of-school look. This lesson is better for girls.
- Before you purchase that game, new pair of shoes or even a gift for a friend's party, STOP. Instead of just buying the item, why not give your child the money you would have spent? Explain that they can take that money to purchase the desired item, and they can choose to buy a generic or used version, or save up the money for something else.
- The annual fair can be a great teaching tool. Give your child a twenty dollar bill in the morning and explain that it can be used for games, rides, meals or even saved if they choose. This also serves as a great lesson in the detriments of gambling.
Menu Planning Show your child a weekly sale circular. Show them how to read it, and allow them to help plan one dinner based on the foods they see on sale that week.
Continue to build savings goals Now that children are older, they are more capable of understanding the concept of sacrifice and saving in order to get something they want. Even still, it can be a difficult task! Create a visual representation, like a simple drawing of a thermometer that they can color in as their savings grows. They’ll be excited as they track their progress visually.
Prioritize spending Help children learn the differences between wants, needs and even wishes. As adults, my husband and I can still disagree between what is a want and a need, so why not start teaching the principle at a young age?
Teach them to work Summer jobs like dog-walking, yard work, window washing and weed pulling build character! Don't wait until your kids reach the legal age of employment! Children can start earning money as soon as they show an interest. If your child is too young for the above ideas, offer extra chores around the house. Get kids excited about the rewards of work!
Let your children make money mistakes! As difficult as it may be, it will teach valuable lessons. Wait until the time is right, and use the opportunity to teach your child what went wrong and how to avoid the same mistake in the future.
Match Savings For every dollar your child saves, offer a matching contribution. Teach them to save, but help them too. This is a great system to begin early and carry on to college tuition time and beyond! Your children will have more respect for the things they own when they earn part of the cost themselves!