By: Sammi Coppedge, Marketing Assistant
You know the drill. You’re at the store and you’ve got a screaming kid on your hands. They’ve found a new toy that they want, even though their birthday was just last week, or they’ve found a piece of candy they’ve just got to have, even though dinner is only an hour away. Or maybe you have an older child, and they just keep begging you for more money, even though they refuse to get a part-time job. So how do you teach your kids about money? If you follow our four simple lessons, your kids will get a better understanding about how money works, which could mean less screaming kids at the check-out the next time you’re shopping.
Lesson #1: Going to the store doesn’t mean you’re always going to buy something
One fundamental lesson to teach your kids about money is teaching them that just because you’re going to the store doesn’t mean you will buy something. One good way to teach this to children is to stay focused on the reason you’re at the store. If you’re out shopping for a birthday present for someone and your child asks to buy something, remind them, “we’re here to buy a gift for X, so we’re not going to buy anything for you because that’s not the reason we are here”. Help them to learn that they won’t always get something every time you go to the store. Overtime, they will begin to understand they can’t always ask for something.
Lesson #2: Be honest about finances
Many experts say that one of the easiest ways to teach your children about money is through honesty about your finances. People seem to agree that financial education should begin at home. Although many parents are fearful that talking to their children about money problems and other difficulties will cause stress and anxiety for their children, while hiding the truth about finances can actually cause more anxiety for children. Instead of being embarrassed to talk to your children about sensitive financial topics, use these moments to teach them lessons. Maybe you’ve made a few financial mistakes with credit cards or other debt. Talk to your children about it so that it can help prevent them from making the same mistakes in their future. Whatever you do, don’t hide the truth from your children.
Lesson #3: Let kids make their own purchasing decisions
Even if you don’t agree with the purchase decision your child is about to make, let them do it anyway. It could end up being an important life lesson for them. When you allow children to make their own money spending decisions, it allows them to take ownership of the money they spend, even if they decide later that they shouldn’t have made a particular purchase.
Lesson #4: Show children how to save money
For many children, when they receive money, they immediately spend it. Help your child to understand the importance and value of saving money. You can do this through a few different ways. First, open a savings account for your child. Whenever they get money, encourage them to set a portion of it away in their savings account. Let them know that over time and as they add more to it, the amount will increase and they will be able to buy something nicer than if they immediately spent their money. Alternatively, help your children to set goals when saving their money. If they have their eyes set on an expensive toy or a new phone, help them to create a savings plan to achieve those goals. It’s important to teach your children how saving money can be more valuable over time than spending it.