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Parenting

How to Teach Your Kids About Money

The cost of living is skyrocketing and it’s so important that our kids understand the value of dollar.

How to Teach Your Kids About Money

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Is it just me, or do our kids get everything these days? I hate to sound old, but when I was a kid, having McDonald’s for dinner was a once-in-awhile special occasion, or paying money to go into a kid activity, like a zoo, happened once a year. My kid has something from a restaurant at least once a week. We’re busy and on the go a lot, so I confess: sometimes, a fast-food cheeseburger makes my life a lot easier.

But in the meantime, I’m dropping $20 here and $40 there on pizza, Timbits, ice cream, trampoline parks, slushies, and more (so much more). Life is more expensive than ever – my kid can also polish off an 8 dollar pack of berries in one sitting. Money is flying around everywhere, and I don’t want it to go over my kid’s head.

I feel so very grateful that my husband and I have the means to spoil our son with treats and outings, but it gets to a point where the kids have zero concept of money. Even though we overspend, my husband and I always try and include our son in what we’re spending and what things cost. We talk about finances quite openly. We want to ensure our kiddo goes out in the world one day with an understanding of how to manage his money properly, something I think very few young people know how to do (and older people, too).

Include them in shopping and budgeting

When we go to the grocery store and purchase a large haul, we try to use it as an opportunity to teach our son how much food costs, how to price compare, and how to get more bang for his buck. He can shop for produce. He knows how to read the prices of packaged meats and figure out the per kilogram cost, along with how to check the “per 100 grams” price on shelf labels. We show our son the grocery receipts with the totals.

We have also shown him certain household bills. How many of us were appalled when we learned that our parents spent money on something as simple as electricity?! It’s an important life lesson to know the price of utilities, what insurance is, and what the price of house and car protection is. As he ages, I’m sure we’ll divulge a little more and talk about salaries and household budgeting. Ultimately, it’s all about teaching your kids just how far (or short) a dollar can go so that they can better understand spending.

family saving money using a piggybank iStock

Have them save for something big

Nothing will teach a child the true value of money, unlike working toward buying something independently. Every kid has something substantial on their wish list. What if you suggested that they get that item if they do certain chores around the house to earn money? You could make a list of household duties and what they pay. Track their progress and earnings; when they reach their goal, they’ll gain a true sense of accomplishment. It will also give them a new perspective on how much work it takes to earn money and that it takes time and effort, which is another valuable lesson.

Have them play games

Board games are a great way to learn about money because they’re designed for the whole family to enjoy and make learning about it fun. Depending on the child’s age, these games can be used to introduce the basic concepts of money and help them learn how to count money and make change. They can also help older kids strategize and make bigger monetary transactions and decisions. A few classics include Monopoly, PayDay, and the Game of Life, but you might also want to check out Money Bags, The Allowance Game, and Exact Change.

saving money using a jar iStock

Help them start a little company of their own

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Last year my 9-year-old son started a small company to raise money for the Montreal Children’s Hospital. He made a bunch of bookmarks, created a company name, posted them on social media, and sold them. He even delivered and collected the money for them. Along the way, we discussed the cost of materials versus how much he’d sell them for (he wanted to cover his costs, including shipping to long-distance customers, but also have some leftover funds to donate). He had to add up order costs if they bought several bookmarks and buy new materials to restock. He only did it for a few weeks, but it was a great way to see how a real little business worked.

Now, more than ever, we need to stretch our money as much as possible. In a world where materialism and consumption are higher than ever, we need to ensure our children remain grounded in a financial sense. The cost of living is skyrocketing and it’s so important that our kids understand the value of dollar. By educating our children on all matters money-related today, we can hopefully set them up for a future of financial responsibility and success down the road.

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