For many people, they don’t realise the importance of saving until big purchases are needed or unexpected costs occur. I often see this at work, suddenly people are begging every shift for overtime as they realise they don’t have enough money to purchase X, Y or Z. I think it’s important to start teaching this importance earlier, so here are 5 things to teach children about money.
The Frugal Frenchie
Tip 1: Don’t make it a taboo subject
Not sure if you’ve seen this advert, but I actually found it so true. Why is money a taboo subject? Why can’t we talk about it? We want to keep it a hidden secret- can’t talk about it or else you’re boasting? Can’t mention it if you’re struggling because of the “shame.” Where does that leave us?
Like the couple in the first part, rather than not mentioning that word, why not expose the young girl to the idea? Of course, they don’t understand adult concepts, but introducing the idea through play money or a play till and teaching them to “not buy too much, look, you haven’t got much money left” is a way to make it fun and teach them important lessons early on.
Tip 2: Make grocery shopping engaging
Grocery shopping can be dreary for us adults as well as our poor children that we drag along with us, but it is possible to make it fun! What you can do is of course age-dependent, but here are a few ideas:
- Give them a shopping list: by giving them some responsibility it makes them feel more engaged and important in the task. It’s also a brilliant way to discuss their decisions with them and use adjectives “this one is bigger,” “this one looks tastier”
- Compare prices: if they’re old enough to know the value of numbers (ie. 3 is less than 4, 6 is more than 5 etc.) then you can give them options and say which one is the best one to buy? You can also talk about the difference between them
- At the checkout: you could make a separate transaction for them, which they could pay just in pennies or let them pay for what they chose. By doing so, they gather confidence around money and know it’s not something to be feared and that it’s rewarding when you make the best decision
Tip 3: Teach them to save
You can get early, child-friendly piggy banks to teach them how to save. Whether that’s from pocket money you give them personally or saving their birthday or Christmas money. A good example of this was a customer I had earlier this week: a mum and her son came and bought £32 worth of shopping … and paid all in £1 coins that he’d saved. Don’t get me wrong, it was a nightmare counting all that and at the end of the day BUT I loved to see how proud that little boy was of what he’d achieved and that he could see the accumulative reward at the end.
Tip 4: Encourage them to work for their money
Now this can sometimes be a controversial issue, however, it’s a great way to teach children how precious money is. It’s easy to just receive money for birthdays etc. but it doesn’t teach children where the money comes from – trees? By rewarding them with a few pennies whenever they do a difficult chore or perform well at school teaches them that money doesn’t come easily and helps them build a new appreciation for it. Here are some things that you could reward them with:
- A time-consuming chore (that you may want to avoid yourself, shhh)
- A better grade than usual on a subject they find tricky
- A particular sign of kindness
- An action that showed particular maturity or initiative
Tip 5: Discourage debt
This tip is particularly for children once they understand the potential consequences of actions. You don’t have to use the word “debt” as such, just introduce the concept of it and why it’s a bad idea. With all these tips, it’s not to give them the shock factor about money, it’s more to educate them and not let it be an unknown subject until they have to learn themselves. After all, how many people now
Let me know what you think! What do/did you want to teach your children about early on about money?