5 Tips to Help you Teach Kids About Money
Teaching your kids about money can be hard if you never learnt about money yourself. Since it wasn’t part of the curriculum unless amazing teachers took it on themselves to include it (mine did), too many Aussies are clueless when it comes to money.
Growing up with a stay at home mum and a father who worked for the government, my parents lived to a strict budget. That budget was shared with us kids, we were taught about money and I had uncles who owned businesses available to teach me about business.
My teachers were incredible both in primary school and high school. Most of them worked tirelessly to incorporate real life examples into our lessons. We were taught to budget, given newspapers to pretend to move out of home and have to budget, played the share market and more. Business, finance and life skills were a core part of every subject.
But what if you didn’t have that home education and weren’t taught at school? How can you teach your kids while you are trying to learn too? Here are some tips to teach your kids about money, whether you know about money or not.
1. Use Cash
Cash is real, tapping a card to pay is not real to kids. With cash being handed over they can physically see the transaction and as they learn math, they can see how much things cost.
When we lived in Melbourne, I paid for everything with a tap of my card. In Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands it was mostly cash. My kid had never seen me use cash so much but using cash only helped them understand properly how much things cost and what our budget was.
While I thought they had a good grasp on money, it was interesting to see how using cash helped solidify financial lessons I had been teaching them.
Other Benefits of Cash
For most people, using cash makes them think twice about what they are spending money on. As a result, people save more, develop better money habits and clear debt faster.
Allocating a set amount of cash for specific purposes such as groceries, petrol and anything else you can pay for with cash helps prevent overspending. Once the cash is gone, it’s gone. You can’t transfer from another account or borrow from next week as easily.
2. Share The Family Budget
When Dad shared his income and I was a kid, I thought we were rich! Once the budget was outlined, the mortgage, food, sports, car and everything else, I learnt we weren’t broke but we were far from rich.
Knowing what was coming in and out didn’t completely stop me from asking for stuff or being a demanding teenager. It did help me understand money better and budget myself when I started working. Seeing how much my parents worked both to earn the money and make it stretch meant more when I understood the family budget.
Speaking about money needs to be the norm in your home. How else will your kids learn if not from you? Let them see and understand the family income, expenses, work hours and goals.
3. Get Them to Make Their Own Money
Trust me, when kids start earning their own money and have to pay for their own things, they ask for a whole lot less. They also respect what they buy more, take better care of it and are more conscious of their money.
In our home, my kids make their own money a few ways and are responsible for any extras they want. Family night once a week is treat night, anything else they want during the week they can get themselves.
This teaches kids responsibility, how to make and how to save.
4. Teach Them To Budget
It’s one thing for them to have their own cash, it’s another for them to know how to manage it. My daughters are encouraged to do a split system where a percentage is invested, another amount donated to a cause they love/charity, another to savings and then only 50% or less is to be used to spend on whatever.
My youngest is currently interested in shares so she is learning more about that. Once she discovered compound interest and investing, she got more interested in that than spending. Read how to be a millionaire even as a single mum for more details on that and examples.
5. Educational Resources
Listen to podcasts in the car or audio books, have on finance programs on the TV when relevant and teach your kids while you learn too.
The Barefoot Investor and The Barefoot Investor for Families are Australian and loved by many. Simple to follow advice, straightforward information and lots of Facebook groups to join and do it with others.
Lemonade in Winter is a great picture book about business and money for young kids. How to turn $100 into $1,000,000 is great for kids who are a little older. They learn about compound interest, investing and being in control of their money from a young age.
To teach them about big goals and working as a team, How the Second Grade got $8,205.50 to Visit the Statue of Liberty is American but a great example.
The Lemonade War is great for teaching tweens about business concepts such as undervaluing, profits, expenses etc. It’s based on two siblings battling it out to make $100. Another aimed at tweens and written by a 15 year old is Better Than a Lemonade Stand! With 55 ideas, money tips through and examples of kids who have used these ideas, it’s a great way to get kids thinking.
This will vary depending on their ages but my kids have enjoyed the Money Manifestation Babe podcast (there is some swearing at times though). When it comes to podcasts, anything I was listening to about business, money and life was often played in the car or around the home.
Be open with your kids. Share things you come across on Facebook or when doing research. Discuss news matter relating to money or that are of importance. My kids love hearing stories and being told about history, money, my life, everything over the dinner table or when we go for walks.
You don’t have to be an expert in everything. Learn together, connect with others who can teach or give examples and your kids will be better for it.