Parents often wonder when and how to start teaching their children about money. As soon as your child is old enough to beg for a toy or treat at the grocery store (and throw a tantrum when you don't buy it) you know it's time to start teaching about money.
Start with coins. Begin teaching with coins. Teach children to distinguish and learn value of each coin. Provide a jar or piggy bank for storing coins.
Play with scissors. Scissors are tricky for little hands to master, but as soon as children can cut along a simple pattern, it’s time to let them help cut coupons; draw a dark outline for them to follow on their first few attempts. Teach your children how to look for the coupons and explain that coupons hold value just like coins.
Make coupons a game. Turn couponing at the grocery store into a scavenger hunt: ask your child to match each coupon to the products on the shelf.
Let them pay. At checkout, let your child hand over the coupons with the money to reinforce the fact that these are both valid forms of payment.
Personalize savings. Show your child the receipt and point to the number with how much you saved. Then put that number in terms of something your child will understand: We saved $14 dollars, which is enough to ride on 5 rides at Chuck E Cheese or buy a new ball.
Set savings goals. The concept of buying something tomorrow instead of today is difficult for kids to understand. In order to get little ones interested in the concept, you may need to exaggerate the benefits for them at first. When your child uses a couple of coupons at the grocery store or does a chore for a neighbor, you could let them set money aside to save for a new bike. Obviously, your 4-year-old won't have the capacity to save for a bike without your help, but with visions of shiny red and chrome, you'll internalize the concept quickly.
First taste of entrepreneurship: Give your kids their first experience with earning money by helping them create a lemonade stand or even better, by selling cookies, which they helped make, at your neighborhood garage sale. Make sure the price points are all single coins, such as $0.25/per.