Our kids learn how to manage money by watching us. However, we’re not always the best role models. I know as soon as I get a big paycheck I like to splurge a little. Which, let’s be honest, isn’t the best example to set when it comes to managing money!
So instead of just letting them watch from the shadows, why not get them involved? Learning all about money is part of life and there’s no reason to wait until they’re older to teach them how to manage and spend wisely. Here are a few ways you can get your little Scouts on the path to a sound financial future…and you may just learn something yourself!
Save Your Allowance
If you think saving your paycheck is hard, you’ve probably forgotten how tough it is to save your allowance as a kid. Part of the problem is keeping proper perspective on the money. For the most part, kids have no reason to save, since they don’t understand that good things can come LATER.
It’s a tough lesson to learn for anyone. So to help them along, find out what they really want to do with the money. Not the candy they see when they go shopping with Mom or some silly toy they find at a garage sale. There’s bound to be some big thing they want, like a new video game or movie.
To them, it’s absolutely unreachable. How in the world will they ever raise $60 to buy that new Xbox game? Well, it’s all about saving. Show them how long it would take to get to $60 if they save their allowance. Help them make a little card to keep in their pocket as a reminder when they want to splurge on sugary treats at the store.
Eventually, they’ll have that fresh new game in their hot little hands, and they’ll get an understanding of how saving can lead to great things later.
Donating to Charity
Another simple way you can show kids the value of money management is to donate to charity. Find something they really care about – saving the Earth or perhaps helping starving kids. The latter may be a good choice as relating to a charity subject helps make it more real sometimes.
Now, involve them in the whole process. Charities work by saving money until they’ve reached a goal. Until then, they need to focus, buckle down, and save money donated to them. Track the charity’s progress as more time goes by and watch how they’re doing. Mark off times when they’ve reach certain smaller goals, like every $10,000.
The little Scout will hopefully come to an understanding about how important saving money really is. Not only does it lead to good things for them, it can also help others out around the world. This is especially a good point if they see some real results for their charitable donation. If they know they helped a little person just like them stay alive, it has a real impact.
Tie Results to Work
Going back to allowance, do you reward your kids with an allowance no matter if they performed their chores or not? If so, this might be setting a bad example for them. Giving them money even if they slacked on their duties means they think they can always get away with this, even later in the corporate world.
Instead, buckle down a little on chores. Have you seen them cutting corners when cleaning their room, perhaps stuffing things under the bed? Yeah, we all did it, but call them out on it. Keep them honest by docking their allowance a little when they slip. As a result, they’ll grow to really appreciate the money they get, and may be apt to spend it more wisely.
Though, they are still kids, so cut them a little slack. But not TOO much. While they’re investing in their immediate future, you’re investing in their long-term future!
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