If you're wondering how to teach your kids good money habits, the first thing to remember is that kids learn by example. Show your kids how you pay for things at the store and talk about the choices you make. Let them make a few small decisions, too.
Then as your kids grow older, you can give them all the tools to manage their own money. This handy guide on money management for kids is full of practical lessons and easy ways to teach your kids about money and savings!
1. USE CASH & CARDS
At first, all kids want to do is put coins in their mouths. But as soon as they can ask you to buy them a toy, they're ready to start learning how you pay for things.
- When you bring your kids to the store, show them your wallet as you pull out cash or a card to pay for the items.
- Give your kids the receipt and talk about how different things cost different amounts. Even if they're very young, they'll pick up on the list of words vs. numbers.
- Get them a toy cash register with fake currency to practice buying stuff with you or their friends.
2. LEARN THE VALUE OF EARNING MONEY
After your kids are done with the toy currency, it might be time to give them some real pocket money. They might be able to do odd jobs for people around the neighborhood, too. You'll start to get a feel for your kids' money management skills when you see what they do with the cash!
Giving your child chores will help them build a sense of responsibility and feel like they're a necessary part of your household, but what tasks should you pay them to do? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Assign your kids simple unpaid tasks like making the bed and putting toys away, then pay them for extra chores like sweeping or washing dishes.
- Pay your kids a flat rate for everyday tasks then give more money for additional chores.
- If they refuse a task, you could charge them a small fee for you to do it instead.
- As your kids get older, they can take on harder chores and negotiate a raise.
Ways to Earn Extra
Your kids may be ready to take on more work before they're old enough to get an official job. Luckily, there are many ways for tweens and young teens to make an extra buck:
- Gather up stuff your household isn't using anymore and organize a garage sale.
- Help out an elderly or unwell neighbor by running errands or doing housework.
- Do outdoor chores for your family or neighbors, including yard work in summer and snow shoveling in winter.
- Tutor students who are younger or struggling in a subject your kid is good at.
- Collect items that can be resold, for example, your kid could take recyclables to the recycling plant or list your old stuff on websites like eBay.
- Try babysitting, pet sitting, or dog walking.
3. AGREE ON A SPENDING, SAVING, SHARING RATIO
It's a good idea to show your kids that money isn't just for spending, but exactly how you allocate your money is up to you. For example, your ratio could be 70% spending, 20% saving, 10% sharing.
All kids want things from a young age, whether it's books, toys, or experiences. Teach them that they can use a portion of their income to buy stuff. They can't buy everything at once so they'll also need to learn to prioritize.
Start with a piggy bank, then open a bank account for your kids so they can watch their balance grow and learn about interest. At first, they may focus on saving up for stuff they want to buy. Eventually, they'll see the merit in saving for the future or an unexpected event.
Sharing, Giving & Donating
To motivate kids to share their money, you might start local with a situation they can see, or have them choose a cause they care about. For example, you might give a dollar to an unhoused person in your town or donate to an animal shelter because your kids love dogs.
4. USES TECHNOLOGY
Your kids are digital natives because they never knew life before computers and smartphones. So when you're thinking about teaching money management for kids, you should take advantage of their tech obsession. They will no doubt find an app for everything!
- Show your kids when you log in to Online Banking or use the Mobile Banking app on your phone (and their own phone when they're old enough).
- Look at the before and after balance when you go shopping.
- Show them when your paycheck comes in – and what payments need to go right back out.
5. PRACTICE COMPARISON SHOPPING
Learning how to comparison shop is an essential lesson in money management for kids because it means they'll be able to get the best value for their dollar.
- Start in the grocery store when your kids are clamoring for a different cereal brand or box of cookies.
- Have them compare the price vs. amount and quality and explain their eventual choice.
6. EXPLORE THE CONCEPT OF CREDIT
We need to walk before we can run so it will be a while before your kids are armed with a credit card, but you can still teach the basics of how credit works.
- Start by loaning your kids a little money to buy something they want and have them pay you back in installments, with a small amount of interest.
- Explain how they'll pay less interest if they pay you back faster.
- Have them pay a small fee if they miss a payment!
- Each successful loan means they can borrow more next time.
7. BE A HELPFUL ROLE MODEL
Kids notice everything so be aware of how you and your partner discuss money, and your attitude towards prices and bills.
For example, think about the mixed messages your kids may get if they ask for something and you say we can't afford it – but then you turn around and buy it anyway.
- Be consistent and thoughtful in your approach to money.
- Explain what you're doing and why.
NEXT LESSON IN MONEY MANAGEMENT FOR KIDS? OPEN A YOUTH ACCOUNT!
It's never too early to open a joint account in your child's name. Just choose the right account for their age group and you can start putting our money management lessons for kids into practice!
Read about our Youth Accounts below!