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How (And Why) You Should Teach Your Kids To Be Money Smart

Jul 18, 2008
Teaching kids is just plain easier than teaching adults and this principle definitely applies to financial matters. Getting children in the habit of saving as opposed to over spending can and should start early in their lives. Consider the follow suggestions on how it can be accomplished most effectively:

Play games that involve the use of money. Games like Monopoly that force players to make financial decisions are a great way for kids to learn to use real money. Decisions made by kids like negotiating prices and determining when it is best to buy or sell a property make children think about both the future and the present effects this will have on their cash reserves.

When Mom and Dad buy everything, children often don't even consider the expense involved in buying the things they want. But if the child has to use their own money to make a purchase, they are sure to think more seriously about how much they really want to part with their money.

Instead of allowing children to become obsessed with wearing expensive clothing of some popular brand name, take kids clothes shopping at consignment shops and inexpensive department stores like Target or Wal-Mart. Talk to them about how to evaluate and compare the prices of clothes as meander through the shopping racks. It would be wise to explain that there really is no problem with owning some name brand clothing, but filling your entire wardrobe with it is extremely and expensive and not necessary.

Bring kids grocery shopping. Have children assist in cutting out coupons and making a grocery list. Giving children excessive details on how to shop is not what will help them learn. Instead, while shopping, explain the process of comparing prices in order to find a bargain.

Practice what you preach. Resist the temptation to impulse shop when you have extra money. This can set a bad example for the kids, not to mention that it could derail your budget. Save for the things you want and don't let your emotional state control the purse strings.

Get a piggy bank. Coins are money too and children can learn to save up all their loose change in a piggy bank. Kids can pick out a coin bank that they like and start saving their money.

Coins can be found all over the place and they add up fast. After a few months have passed and you've collected change from the sofa cushions and other interesting locations, take your piggy bank to a change counting machine to see how much you have been able to save. Kids can spend some of the money and keep the rest as savings.

We learn how to handle money through a series of trials and errors, and kids have to learn too. You can help them to do so successfully by helping them to know how to make good financial decisions and allowing them to suffer the occasional bad consequences of bad choices.
About the Author
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