Money is such an important aspect of life. It’s presence or lack thereof can have a profound impact on your quality of life. That’s why it’s never too early to start training your children about money. But if there’s an ideal time, grade school is as good as it gets. It’s at this point where the kids are being taken through the subtraction, addition and other core concepts of math.
Parents can leverage this school learning to impart some basic fiscal skills such as budgeting, saving, prioritizing expenses and long-term planning. As the children grow older, this foundation will ensure good money habits become an integral part of their character.
Here are some useful tips on making sure your children are smart in their handling of money.
1. Go Shopping with Them
Many parents dread the thought of going shopping with their kids. Having to say no to every little thing your children want at the store can be exhausting. However, once you navigate past the tantrums that characterize your kids’ terrible twos, you should find ways of getting your children more involved in your shopping without losing your mind.
Before you leave the house, let the child know what the shopping budget is and the list of items you intend to buy. If they are old enough, work together to find out if there are places where you can find most or all of the items cheaper. Take advantage of coupons to get discounts on some of the items.
Make your child understand that having a budget doesn’t mean you have to spend the full amount of the said budget. The goal should be to find ways of cutting costs so you eventually remain with some savings. You can progressively start to involve them in more complex household expenses such as where to go on vacation and how much you should spend.
2. Encourage Them to Save
Saving is the single most important lesson of financial management. Without savings, it’s impossible for one to realize their financial goals. Ergo, encourage your children to save. You could make it fun by providing a pretty piggy bank or a catchy Hello Kitty wallet. The idea is to make sure they have a specific place where they can stash their savings.
You can make things even more exciting by having different receptacles for saving, spending and charity. It gives your kids a more sophisticated view of the uses of money. It’s a nice way to make kids see that their money goals aren’t just about satisfying their selfish needs. They can get deep fulfilment by using their money to make a stranger smile.
3. Explain Credit Cards
Credit card debt is the most problematic type of debt. The overwhelming majority of Americans struggling with debt are in that predicament because they were unable to keep up with their credit card repayments.
Help your kids understand what credit cards are, how they differ from debit cards, the dangers of abusing credit cards and why they should use credit cards sparingly. It may take the younger ones a while to understand the concept of credit card interest but they’ll eventually come around.
Later, you can introduce them to the idea of exploring cheaper forms of credit such as personal loans from simplepersonalloans.
4. Lead by Example
Kids are excellent imitators. They are more likely to practice what they see you do as opposed to just what you tell them to do. So if you want your children to be prudent in managing their money, they need to see you do it. Stick to your shopping budget. Avoid impulse purchases. Be transparent with your spouse or partner about the things you buy.
Also, make your children understand that it’s not the things they buy that will make them happy and give them fulfillment in life. It’s spending time with family, sharing with the less fortunate or taking a leisurely evening walk.
Don’t leave it until too late to start training your kids on handling money. This is the one lesson that could determine their financial security when they become adults.