Helping your child become financially savvy!
Teaching children about money is an important lesson! Children need to learn the value of money, how to save for something in the future, and the importance of giving to others. Teaching children how to save incorporates several important life lessons such as delayed gratification, preparing for the future, and self control. All important lessons I think! Remember, children model the behavior they see in the home so…how is your financial health? Teaching children to be responsible with money starts with what they see their parents do with their finances. Here are a few suggestions to help your child learn about financial responsibility.
Needs and wants
Teach your child early on the difference between needs and wants. Watch how you speak! As a Mom I need milk at the store, but I want that great pair of shoes I saw! Teach your child that he wants the toy he saw on TV he does not need it. Redirect your child’s words when he is saying “want”. Watch your use of the words need and want too!
Saving for wants
A child as young as preschool can start to save for wants. They will have to be very short-term goals, but a preschooler can certainly save for a special trip to the dollar store or Target to spend his or her own money! Make sure that your child has some type of bank and encourage saving. It is a great way to teach money denominations too, count the money together and keep a chart showing how quickly the money is growing! Cut out a picture of the item your child is saving for, this gives a concrete image to remind him of the goal!
Saving for the future
As your child becomes older, you must teach how to save for less concrete things like the future or college. You may have a short-term savings at home and a long-term savings account at the bank.
Set a good example
Shop sales, use coupons, and talk about delaying buying certain items until you have saved enough money. Remember, your child will mimic your financial decisions and examples! I can remember my daughter holding a box of cereal that she wanted one day and asking me if we had a coupon for it! Let your child clip coupons and help you find the items in the grocery store. That box of expensive popular cereal may be a great incentive for your child to find coupons for it!
Spend, Save, Give
You might consider having 3 jars or banks for your child. Allow your child to put some money into the “spend” bank. This money can be spent on anything your child would like. As a parent you must allow them to spend that money on any item they choose as long as it isn’t harmful of course. I can remember cringing as one of our kids bought the world’s largest sucker…not a great choice in my opinion! Actually she tired of the sucker soon and realized that her $2.00 purchase wasn’t the best decision either, which was a great lesson!
The “save” bank would be a percentage that you decide should be saved. For younger children, they can be saving for something they would like to buy and older children may be saving for college. Sometimes it is easier for older children to have a short-term savings and a long-term savings. This allows them to save for that special pair of jeans and their college education.
The “give” bank would teach your child to save some money for charity. This is an important value to instill in your child very early. There is something very special that a child feels when he or she is able to place their own money that they have saved into the Salvation Army bucket, church collection basket, or another charity they choose.
Match their savings
A great way to encourage saving is to match money your child saves. If your child saves $5.00, then you match it or at least a percentage of it. This will reward your child for saving and show them that you value them saving money.
Many experts encourage parents to pay their children allowances for chores in the home. This will teach children responsibility and the value of work and money. We did not pay our children for routine chores, as we felt that was part of the responsibility of living as a family. I did pay for chores that were above and beyond their normal chores if they chose to do them. This helped me out in the home and gave the kids an opportunity to earn money for “special” things they wanted.
Open a Savings Account
Children will love going to the bank and putting money in their own account. Have your child save their money in their “save” bank and then when they hit a certain amount, take their money to the bank to deposit. Keeping track of their money with a saving’s book and watching it grow is a great incentive. An outing to the bank can be a special treat! Determine early on that money put in the bank is “untouchable” and is for long-term savings.
Everyday lessons regarding money and the value of saving will have a greater impact on your child’s future financial stability than their income level as an adult. Learning to be disciplined and how to delay gratification will be essential to their financial health and their personal health. So, start your child young and make it a habit.
Hmm this talk of needs, wants, and savings may have just delayed a trip to DSW today for that cute pair of shoes that I need or I mean want….what are YOU saving for???
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.