Teaching your kids about money is an important part of parenting. For better or worse, they will learn how to manage their money by watching how you manage yours. It’s great to talk to them about money but that can be too abstract. The things they remember will be what they see. They will be more successful managing their own money if they’ve grown up around these 10 things your kids need to see you do with money.
Yes, I understand you want to accumulate points on your credit card for your next trip but if your kids only see you use plastic it will be hard for them to understand how money works. Too many kids think credit cards are just this magical thing you buy things with and have no idea you actually have to pay for the items later.
Pay your credit card bill.
They don’t need to see the amount of money you owe but next time you’re paying a credit card, talk to them about it. Help them understand how credit works by saying, “Remember when we bought _______ and I used a credit card to pay for it? Well now I have to pay the credit card company for it.”
It’s awesome if you’re saving money by automatic deposits, but your kids need to see the saving process in action sometimes. This could be as simple as saving money in a jar or even taking them with you to the bank to make a cash deposit into your account.
Save for a specific goal.
Decide on a savings goal the whole family would enjoy such as a vacation or trampoline. Make a poster with the goal at the top to track your progress saving for it. The kids can color it in as you progress, such as the thermometers non profits use to track progress toward their fund raising goal. This will help build the connection between saving money and getting something you want.
Earn it in more ways than a regular job.
Kids need to see and understand where money comes from. Most paychecks are automatically deposited and your child may not understand the connection between you going to work and the amount of money you have to spend.
Ask for a better deal or discount.
Do this and you’ll be teaching your kids the skill of negotiating and that it never hurts to ask for what you want. This won’t just serve them well when it comes to saving money but also in future careers.
Use a coupon.
There is no shame in using coupons. Let them enter adulthood free from coupon shame! 🙂 Otherwise they may feel awkward and embarrassed when they use their first coupon or worse, they’ll never use one.
Give to someone in need.
Your kids may not know you send money to charities. Even if you tell them, they may not understand where the money is going or who it is helping. Instead, make it real for them. Let them see you give money to someone in need or take them with you to pick out food or other things and then go donate them in person at your favorite charitable organization.
Show your kids how different prices are charged for the same product depending on the brand or label on them. Discuss these differences and how you choose which product to buy.
Refuse to buy them everything they want.
In the words of the Stones, “You can’t always get what you want.” To indulge your child with every request they ever make is doing them a disservice. They need to learn that’s not how the world works and as an adult things will not just be handed to them. Tell them “no” sometimes.
Even if you haven’t always made the best money decisions in life you can impact your kids’ future positively by making sure they see you do these things. If no one taught you this stuff, it’s not too late. 11 Secrets of the Money Smart will teach you some things you missed.
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How do you teach your kids about money? Let me know in the comments!