My second grader is currently working on a math unit on counting money. This got me thinking about how we teach kids the value of money. The future will likely hold a time where physical coins and bills are obsolete. The value of money and spending it will still need to be taught and understood.
As a kid, I was a huge saver. I would often come home from school, dump out the change in my bank and count it. My biggest fear was that my little sister had taken some. I also wanted to see how close I was to be able to make my next “big” purchase with these coins.
Today, many kids, including mine, don’t witness the exchange of cash and coins for purchases often. To be honest, both of my kids thought you just needed a “card” to pay for things when they were super young. Now, I try my best to help them learn that you still need to have money to use those cards! The following are three techniques that I’m using to try to accomplish this.
Divide the money into categories
When I was young, I had three banks. One was for saving, one was for spending and one was for charity. I’d like to personally improve on this with my kids, as I haven’t been as diligent in this area. Currently, my daughter has a locked “safe” for her money. My son has a treasure box with money and probably a few Pokemon coins. Adding an investment bank would also be a good idea, especially as kids get older.
Offer a means to earn money
I’m not saying that kids need to be paid to do every little thing, but I do think that having a way to earn money is important. I know some people chose to give their kids an allowance without additional responsibilities associated with it, but I prefer a different approach. Creating a chore chart that’s associated with a small allowance has worked well for our family. Explaining that money comes from working hard at something is also important.
Speak about prices
I’ll admit that when I’m shopping with my kids and they ask for something I’ll often just tell them “I’m not buying that today” and move on. 99% of the time it’s a toy. I’ve been consciously trying to do more explaining. I will talk to them about the specific price. How many weeks of allowance will that toy cost? Now that they are learning specifics, how many $1s, $5s, $10s, etc. will it take to buy this item?
It is my belief that there is always room for learning and growth on this subject, even thru adulthood. What techniques have you used to teach your kids the value of money? What was most helpful? Leave me a comment and let me know!