Teachable Moments: Money

by Nicole Hempeck on April 9, 2021

Teaching your kids about money today can be a challenge when many of us simply swipe our credit cards and rarely balance a bank register. There is little handling of cash and breaking out the calculator to balance the “books” is becoming less frequent.

So, with that in mind, how do we teach our kids about the value of a dollar on a daily basis? How do we infuse money talk, and more importantly, fiscal responsibility into their lives?

Teaching Your Kids About Money

According to an article on CNN’s Money 101 “if you want to teach your kids about money, you need to pay them.”

Some important points this article made included:

  • Consider Allowance Carefully. Payment for household chores should be considered carefully. If they are chores that are considered regular contributions to the family - then they may not be the chore you pay for. But, if it’s something you might hire out for anyway - like washing and detailing the car, painting the fence, deep cleaning the floors and baseboards - then perhaps that is an opportunity for your child to earn money.
  • Set Spending Boundaries. Once your child is being paid for chores, there should be set boundaries for how that money is spent. There should be an expectation that money is saved and even invested. Additionally, this is an opportunity to teach your child how to balance a checkbook. While we may not use this method regularly in modern day, it is a valuable skill to have for those times when books need to be scoured and tracked for important financial details.
  • Allow Negotiating for Raises in Pay. Don’t scoff at your kids asking for a raise in payment - this is a valuable skill in life to negotiate for a raise. Encourage them to come to you with a presentation as to why they have earned a raise. If they’re simply whining about how they don’t have enough money, that’s not an effective method of negotiating in life. But, if they use effective methods of communication and maturity when presenting their points, then a reevaluation of their rate may be in order - if your budget allows. And if it doesn’t allow for a raise, be mindful in how you reject their proposal so they leave with confidence in their skills of negotiation but with an understanding that it’s just “not in the company’s budget at this time.”
  • Set a Good Example. Be a sound role model. If you are not showing fiscal responsibility in your everyday life, then you cannot expect that your children will learn proper spending habits. You are your child’s first example in spending, so be mindful.
  • Talking About Money. Open communication about money is important. When your child asks to buy something each time you walk into a store, it’s an opportunity to share with them that sometimes, we pick up only what we need and occasionally we pick up something we want.

These are just some tips that can be useful in teaching your kids about money throughout the course of your everyday life - be sure to keep your eyes open for those moments that come up where you can utilize the opportunity for modeling, communicating and teaching responsible money practices.

Image: Pink Sherbert Photography


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  • Julie C.

    I am just starting to venture into this territory now. My oldest wants his own computer, and we have been setting terms and prices for chores outside the normal expectations so he can earn at least half the cost of the laptop he wants. It’s been an eye-opener to him, I think, to see what kind of hard manual work is involved in earning a few dollars a day.

    I am also embracing the opportunity not just to teach money skills, but to teach my almost-teen the important bachelor life skills he’ll need to do his own laundry and clean his own bathroom when he is away from home at college or moves into his own apartment!

  • http://www.citybabyliving.com Emily (CityBabyLiving.com)

    Due to her age, 4.5, my daughter seems to get new things all the time (even if they’re hand-me-downs, or second hand, they’re still new to her) because she’s growing so fast. We’ve been trying to talk more about how these things don’t “magically appear” because she needs or wants them. Mom & dad work to make money, to have the life we have.

    I like the idea about making an allowance be outside of normal household duties - I’ve always struggled with the concept of getting money for putting away dishes or making a bed. Great food for thought for the years to come. - Emily

  • http://busykidshappymom.org busy kids=happy mom

    I am all in favor of giving your kids an allowance! Teaching my kids early on about spending - saving and giving has been very worthwhile! A lot of people think that talking about money is taboo - if your kids don’t learn good spending habits from you - where are they going to learn it from? This summer my eldest will be attempting to maintain a budget for 30 days - it’s going to be a doozie, but a good experience for us all!

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