As frugal parents, naturally, we want our kids to be smart about money too. Here are seven easy ways to raise a money-smart kid!
1. Expose your pre-schooler to cash
By showing money to kids, they get a better understanding of what you are trying to teach them. Try playing “bank” or “store” for further understanding in a fun way.
2. Ditch the “replace it” attitude
When a toy breaks, have you ever heard your child say, “it’s ok, we can get another one”? When that moment comes, think of it as a learning time. Let them know that it costs money to replace a broken item. Replace that attitude with a “waste not” attitude. Let your child help donate items they no longer use, or have them “earn” a new toy by helping with chores.
3. Encourage delayed gratification
I cannot say enough how many times my mother taught me this. If I saw a toy in the store that I wanted, she would tell me that I would have to earn it. And I did! By doing chores, she would pay me a little here and there so I could buy the toy myself. I also took better care of things I bought myself because I understood I would have to save up again if it broke or got lost.
4. Talk about it
Some parents never talk about money in front of their kids. My mom did, but only to say that we couldn’t afford this or that new thing that I wanted. This helped me to understand that I couldn’t have everything that I wanted. By not talking about money, kids may grow up thinking a debit card never runs out of money and that if something breaks then you can just go buy a new something. Explain where money comes from and that it can (and will) run out if you aren’t careful about what you spend it on.
5. Be a role model
If you want your kids to be money-smart, they need to see you be money-smart. When you go to the bank to make a deposit, take them with you and explain what you are doing. If you are donating or volunteering, get your kids involved too.
6. Practice, Practice, Practice
Make some pretend money and play “store” or “bank”. Let your kids pick out a piggy bank to keep up with the money they are saving. Even if they don’t have an allowance, coins they find on the street or in the couch cushions could go right into the piggy bank when they understand the value of saving money.
7. Tell stories, not lectures
If you start lecturing about the importance of saving money, your kids will probably zone out pretty quickly. Instead go to your local library about pick out some books about saving money. For a start, try out “The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money” or “The Berenstain Bears’ Dollars and Sense,” both by Stan and Jan Berenstain.