As a mom working at a credit union, I feel an increased need to educate my kids on finances, saving, and responsible spending. That being said, I don't want to go so overboard that my kids completely tune me out. So, like many parents, I'm constantly trying to find a balance. I look for little opportunities in everyday life to teach my kids good spending habits. Here are some things I do that you might be able to incorporate into your daily conversations with your kids:
• When I use my debit or credit card at the store, I explain to my kids where the money comes from. I make sure they know that we have to pay the credit card bill at the end of the month, and I can’t use my debit card unless there is money in my account.
• My kids have chores they have to do every week in order to earn their allowance. As an extra incentive, they are not allowed to have friends over to the house unless their chores have been completed for the week.
• I encourage my kids to save their birthday money and allowance, but also let them spend some too. If they have a large item they’ve been asking for, I tell them to save up and buy it themselves. Often they decide they don’t need it as bad as they thought if it’s their money instead of mine.
• I talk to my kids about loans and paying interest. I found that explaining this in terms of a home loan makes the most sense to younger kids. We don’t have the total amount our house costs in our credit union account, so we borrow the money from the credit union and then pay them back, plus a little extra for the service. My kids caught onto this concept pretty quickly. There have been a few times I needed to borrow some quick cash from a piggy bank and ended up paying interest. Luckily I have at least one nice child, so the rates weren’t too bad.
If you have your own strategies for fun ways to teach your kids about finances, let me know in the comments below. I am always looking for new ideas, and I’m sure it will help the other parents reading as well.