Money doesn’t grow on trees. That’s one fact which even most adults find hard to grasp. Left and right, you’ll find people haphazardly spending their money as if they’ve just won the lottery. They buy gadgets like there’s no tomorrow, and drown themselves in tall lattes from the nearest posh coffee shop. If we were more cautious about our expenses the way we pay careful attention to the flyaways on our hair, then maybe we wouldn’t be so swamped in financial problems.
Before our kids grow up and get sucked in by all the consumerism, it’s good to start them early with good spending habits. Here are some ways to teach them the value of money:
Grocery Game. Before you head out for the supermarket with the kids, give them each a list of things to buy, and a calculator. Ask them to find the lowest possible price for the items on the list, and the one who ends up with the cheapest total, wins.
It’s expensive. When your kid asks you to buy him that cute Furby toy, tell him you won’t buy it because it’s expensive. Give him a reasonable figure range for a particular toy, say $10-$20, and explain than anything beyond that is considered expensive. Don’t say, “We can’t afford it“, because that tells your kid that if you could afford it, you would buy it. You should make it clear to him that the reason you won’t buy it is because of its unreasonably high price, and not because you don’t have the money for it. Just because you have money, doesn’t mean you should spend it. It’s teaching him to make smart choices when it comes to buying stuff.
Piggy Power. It’s time to bring out that dusty piggy bank and teach your kids to save. Show them how dropping a dime into the coin bank each day goes a long way. You can ask them what they want for Christmas, for instance, and encourage them to drop some money in the bank to save up for it.
It’s never too early to make your kids realize the significance of money. More than learning about fractions and subject-verb agreement, it’s essential that they also learn how money has to be earned and saved. The money lessons they learn now will serve them well into their adult years- and hopefully keep them from being buried in debt!