Spending, Saving, & Sharing Money

Teaching Kids to Budget

Wouldn’t it be great if money grew on trees?  As adults, we would love this, however unrealistic it may be; but for children, money just seems to appear for school clothes, birthday parties, Christmas presents, or their next meal.  To them, money is at their parents’ fingertips and they don’t realize that is so because of responsible budgeting and financial planning.  Knowing how to save money or plan for future expenditures isn’t knowledge kids are born with, so it’s up to the significant adults in their lives to teach them how to be wise and sensible with their money-and the perfect time to start those lessons are when they are young with the dollars and cents that fall into their little hands.

There are many ways to go about teaching the value of money, but keep in mind that young people are visual and hands on.  Just a verbal explanation isn’t going to mean much or necessarily sink in.  Children need to hold and manipulate bills and coins as well as visually see how money can be divided.  One tried and true way to do this is using the three-jar system.  Most people have heard of this and many use it, albeit through non-tangible ways like budgeting and different bank accounts, because it really works.  It’s easy to use, easy to see, and an incredibly simple and straightforward way to teach adolescents how to be responsible with their money.  Grab three glass jars and assign a category to each-i.e “Save,” “Spend,” & “Share.”  Then when your child receives money or earns it, they can divide it between the three jars.  They will have money to use immediately, money to use in the future, and money to help a person or organization in need.  Instilling this financial accountability when they are young sets them up for stability and success in the future.

Ways Kids Can Earn Money

1. A Little Elbow Grease: Chores aren’t always fun, but there are a lot of lessons kids can acquire from not so glamorous tasks that need to be done, including earning money for a job well done (or doing a job you just don’t want to do, haha!).  Depending on their age, children can clean bathrooms, wash cars, mow lawns, pull weeds, paint fences…the list of money-making tasks is endless!

2. Pet Sitting/Babysitting: There are always families heading out of town for vacations or parents who need a night out that are looking for help.  Older kids should be able to handle these jobs on their own while younger children may need some modeling and supervision as they learn how to appropriately and responsibly care for pets and children.   

3. Be an Entrepreneur: Have kids exercise their business skills by setting up a lemonade stand, helping to run a garage sale, or making and selling baked goods, jewelry, keychains, and other crafty items.

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