Teaching Kids About Money

Teaching kids about money Teaching kids about money is an important lesson!

I grew up in a home that if we needed or wanted (most of the time it was wanted) something we would go get it. We would not get it at the cheapest store, we would not wait until it was on sale, we would not decipher if it was really a need or a want. We would get the item at the most convenient location. Consequently I came into adulthood with poor money management skills, no budgeting experience, serious problems with wasting things, and not valuing/taking care of what I had.

My parents taught me many things. Money management was not one of them. Luckily for me I married a man whose parents knew the value of teaching kids about money. Probably not so lucky for him, but he’s patient, and I am learning.

I have learned that teaching kids about money can be a large subject encompassing at least 4 areas. First maximizing what you bring in, second taking care of what you have (so it will not need to be replaced), third limiting what you spend, and fourth tracking it all!

I am going to focus on taking care of what you have. This is a subject that can often be overlooked but is important.

I really didn’t value what I had growing up because I assumed there would be an endless supply of whatever I wanted/needed. I left shoes outside, clothes were crumpled in the corner, toys strewn about ready to be stepped on, dad’s tools left out in the mud, mom’s kitchen utensils somewhere in the yard, uneaten food thrown away instead of saved, etc.

This wasting lifestyle is a hard habit to break. It also carries over into wasting time and opportunities. But that’s another article. I really did make some changes the first few years of adulthood, but most of my changes have come recently. Now that my children are older I have to look at my habits and what I am passing onto them. As they demand and waste things I realize it comes from my bad ways. In teaching kids about money & not wasting things here are a few tips.

  • 1. Set the example. Everything has a place and everything in its place is not something that comes naturally for me. And I used to think that it was a good principle so you can find what you want and not waste time. But I have also found it to be a real money saving tip. If I know where something is (i.e. I am taking care of it) I do not have to replace it because I can’t find it. If I put my stuff anywhere then it tends to get broken or outdated. Taking care of what you have is a good tool in teaching your kids about money.
  • 2. We need to take of what we have or it will be taken from us. We have a policy in our house that if you cannot take care of something either you don’t care about it, or you have too many things to take care of. Consequently whatever you can’t take care of is taken away. This may seem a little harsh but it is an important life lesson. And I prefer my kids to learn about it in reference to a toy that has no lasting impact. Instead of not teaching kids about money and they discover the consequences of not taking care of a cell phone plan or auto loan that will affect their credit and possible job opportunities. Also we don’t actually throw toys or shoes that are not taken care of away, that would be wasteful. We store them in a “secret” location and when the child has proved she has learned her lesson the item is returned. Most often though the item is completely forgotten about, and donated or sold. Therefore I declutter my house from truly unwanted items.

Teaching kids about money is important and can take a lifetime, but your kids will thank you later.

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"A man in debt is so far a slave,"
Ralph Waldo Emerson.


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