Did you know it’s super easy to teach your kids about different money lessons?
Most people grow up not learning money lessons from their parents. They have to go through life and learn it the hard way, like I did. I learned from my parents to just – work, work, work, save and not spend. That can be a money lesson but I’m here to encourage you to teach your kids to manage their money more effectively.
There are so many easy opportunities in everyday life where we can teach our kids about money. These teachable moments are scattered all throughout your days and I want to share a few of them with you so the next time you do it, you’ll recognize it and say to yourself, “Oh, this is a teachable moment!”
Finance is a huge part of our lives. If kids don’t learn about it early on, it will create huge issues for them in adult life.
Why even talk to our kids about money when they are young?
You might be thinking – why bother, they’re so little? They’re just kids. Starting at 5 or 6, it’s okay to start. And you’re likely already doing it in small ways. As they get older, we want them to develop better habits and have a healthy relationship with money.
If we don’t share with them about money, they will grow up thinking money grows on trees. Or, they’ll go away to college and keep calling asking for money. We don’t want that. We want them to be self-sufficient. We want them to go to college and be able to manage their money on their own – plus understand and value money and have a healthy relationship with it.
When they learn these lessons early on, they will grow up and appreciate money but also – money won’t control their lives. They will control their money – instead of the other way around.
I want to teach my kids skills so they can value and understand money. Now, you might be thinking, “I’m not good with money, how can I teach my kids about money”. Well, you can use these tips to start implementing positive money habits in your own life, too.
Here are 3 easy ways to talk to your kids about money lessons in your day-to-day life:
Have Your Kids Track Your Eating Out Budget
You might not have any idea how much you spend to eat out each month. That’s okay, you can start now with the help of your kids!
We set a dedicated amount each month for this. For us, it’s usually around $400. If we had some left over from the previous month we roll it over into the next month. I have my kids track this budget using a calendar board in our living room. Each time we eat out, I have them write down where we ate and how much it cost. Then they subtract it from the budget.
My kids are a bit older, 10 and 12, so they can do the math themselves. If you have younger kids, you can work through the math together with them and explain to them what you’re doing and keep yourself accountable as well as start to expose them to what you’re doing.
The goal is that by mid-month, you’re only about halfway through your budget. So, when my kids come to me and ask if we can go out and get some Boba drink, I ask them to look at the board and see how much we have left in our budget.
Here’s the teachable moment – I tell them, if we spend it all now, that means we have 2 weeks with no money to spend on treats and eating out. So I try to teach them to spread it out evenly. Go at a balanced pace, don’t spend it all up front. If we are out of money and they ask to go out for food – we say there’s no more money for that. My kids are okay with that now because they understand. It helps to keep all of use accountable for not overspending on eating out.
Talk to Your Kids and Get Them Involved in Tracking Common Bills
We use the same board in our living room to track our common household bills like water, electric, and cable/internet – stuff that the kids use regularly.
Every month, I write down how much we spent that month on those bills. If the water bill happens to be a little higher one month, I’ll point it out to the kids and get them thinking about why that is. I’ll recommend to them to be more mindful of how we’re using our water and electricity in our day-to-day life. I also point out if the bills are going down and I say, “Wow you’re doing really good, guys!”
You’re already paying bills each month, so I recommend just pointing out what you’re doing to the kids so they’re aware, too.
Teach Your kids the Difference Between Needs and Wants
When you’re at the store or talking with your spouse about getting something new, you’re already running through it in your head. Just talk it out with your kids. Talk about if it’s something you truly need or something you just want. Ask, “Do we really need it?” Let your kids hear you talking about it and expose them to the conversation. Get them used to the habit of taking a step back before making an impulse buy.
Our kids have gotten used to this. When we go to the store, they know that we won’t make impulse buys.
There are teachable moments all day, every day with our kids. When you are already doing something, talk to your kids and involve them in it. The worst thing you can do for your kids is to keep them out of the loop when it comes to money lessons. Not teaching your kids about money management could lead to kids accumulating tons of debt and I know I don’t want that for my kids. If there is something I can do to help prevent my kids from getting sucked into the trap of money issues, I want to do that.