Thanks to Nicole for today’s guest post
One thing my parents were really good at was teaching me about money. I grew up knowing that money was not to be wasted and that I couldn’t have everything I wanted. I am so grateful for this lesson.
In college when my roommates were calling their parents to bail them out, I had plenty. I had already figured out how to budget. I took one crisp $20.00 bill out of my checking account each week. This covered my food, entertainment and any extras I would need. As you can imagine, there were not a lot of extras in a $20.00 a week budget.
Teaching my kids about money is something that is really important to me. I have friends who didn’t learn about how to handle money when they were growing up and it has been really hard for them to transition into adulthood.
I am not perfect at this yet, but I feel like I have gotten a pretty good start. Here are my best tips. My oldest child is seven, so this is definitely a work in progress.
Give them an allowance. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money. My seven year old gets $2.00 a week and my five year old gets $1.00 a week. In my house, getting an allowance is dependent on doing chores, so that they learn that money is earned. Giving kids an allowance teaches them respect for money. It ends the “can we buy. . .?” question and changes it to, “how much more money do I need until I can buy. . .?”
Give them freedom with their allowance. My five year old never has any money, she spends her $1.00 each week. That is her choice and she is often disappointed when she sees something she really wants and she doesn’t have the money. But she will get it eventually.
Encourage them to start a savings account. My seven year old has already started her savings account. She had about $10.00 that she had saved, the minimum at our bank is $25.00. I told her that if she raised another $10.00 I would give her the last $5.00. She went back and forth for a while. She wanted the extra $5.00, but she also wanted the junk that she buys regularly at the $1.00 store. Finally she had the whole $20.00 saved and we went to the bank. She thought it was a really awesome experience with the banker offering her something to drink and asking her questions.
Our bank, Wells Fargo, offers a special kid’s savings account. There are no fees and each time you make a deposit, you are given special Wells Bucks that you can save up and redeem for prizes. It gives kids an extra incentive to save up their money.
Teach your children to work. When I was about fourteen, my parents told me that they would pay for my college tuition, but that if I wanted to go away to school I would be in charge of my own room and board. I definitely wanted to go to college anywhere buy my home town. I started working when I was sixteen and I put away enough money to pay for three semesters of living expenses.
I was only able to save up this much money because I knew how to work. Chores were a daily part of my life growing up, and I am grateful for that. I have tried to instill these values of hard work in my children as well. Each of my kids are responsible for keeping their own room clean and my older two daughters have additional chores like unloading the dishwasher, giving the dog food and water, cleaning the bathroom counter, and emptying the garbage. It takes my five year old about an hour to unload the dishwasher, and she is usually complaining the entire time, but she is learning and important lesson about responsibility.
Be a good example. My seven year old asked the other day if I had any coupons for cottage cheese because we hadn’t had any in a while. My three year old got really excited the other day because she saw a coupon for Life Savers, she couldn’t wait until we bought them. She doesn’t totally get it yet, but she is understanding the correlation between buying things and coupons.
Nothing you teach them will teach them more than what you do. Kids absorb more than we ever know. I don’t know how I knew that my parents didn’t believe in car loans. I don’t remember having any important discussions about it, but I just knew.
I am so grateful that my parents passed these values onto me and I hope that my husband and I can be just as successful in teaching our children.
What are your tips for teaching your children about money? Have you done this successfully? Let us all know in the comments section, I would love to hear from you!