5 Steps to Teach Your Kids Better Spending Habits
It’s baffling, but our reality is that kids still learn the Pythagorean theorem but not how to balance a checkbook or what an annual percentage rate is. “A lot of times kids are money shamed—we teach them not to talk about money, we don’t teach them where it came from or why we use it,” says Lauren Pearson, cofounder of The Wealth Edit, and a mom of three. “The more we normalize this for our kids, the better chance of financial health.” Pearson suggests talking about money with your kids “as early as possible.” And since April is Financial Literacy Month, what better time to start the conversation? Here, five steps to teach kids better spending habits for the long run.
1. Teach them to “bucket” their allowanceAllowance is an oft-debated subject among parents, but it’s hard to deny that it can be a great tool to teach money management to your kids. If you do give your kids an allowance, Pearson recommends teaching them to divide their allowance into three different buckets: One to spend (33 percent), one to save (33 percent) and one to give to a cause that matters to them (33 percent), like your church, local animal shelter or school fundraiser.
2. Put exchanging goods for money into practice
Pearson recommends creating a “Money Reward Routine.”For example, setting $2 aside every Saturday to go buy sweets at your local candy shop. “That helps kids look forward to a treat (but in moderation) and it also teaches them how to exchange goods for money,” she says.
3. Let them become the CEO of their own businessAnd by business, we mean the time-honored neighborhood lemonade stand (or homegrown Etsy shop for older kids). In addition to learning countless entrepreneurial skills—supply and demand, customer service, budgeting—your kids will leave the experience empowered. “Nothing feels better than making your own money,” Pearson says.
4. Teach them to bargain huntInstead of immediately saying no to your kid—especially your teenager that wants to spend oodles on the latest trends—use this opportunity to find a bargain. “Show them Poshmark or other sites that may help them buy a perfectly good item, just not at retail price,” Pearson shares.
5. Reconcile your own issues with money
“We all carry money baggage with us. There is a reason we make money or spend money, or hate money or love it,” Pearson says. She suggests figuring out your own “why” around money and begin to help your kids craft their “why” as well. “Having a self-awareness around the ‘whys’ of how you interact with money at a young age can do wonders,” she says.