Money is an important part of today’s world, so it is just as important that children learn the value of money, the earlier the better. Everyone learns from experiences in their own way and having money knowledge earlier in life could give someone a head start with their future.
Some people in life are given everything they want or need without question; others have to work very hard to get what they want. I believe that you are more appreciative of something if you have had to earn it yourself. The following ideas are to help teach children the value of money and are things I have personally used with my own children but not in any particular order.
1. Chores – Working is something we all have to do in life at some point or another. Giving children chores is teaching them the ropes sooner than later. If they are used to having to help out or earn their money from a younger age, it won’t be such a fight or shock later down the track.
2. Pocket Money – Work out a set amount for each job or set time such as week. This will teach them they need to save to reach their goal.
3. Chores Chart – This not only works for getting chores done, learning the value of money and saving, but also helps with behaviour. They try hard to get rewards such as an adult does a promotion or pay rise. Try using a star chart, with each child’s job written down for each day. It doesn’t have to be lots of chores, even just one is fine. It is not the amount of chores but the point they are working for their money. Each star is worth 50 cents. They will watch their stars grow over time and even compete with themselves and each other to earn more stars for more money.
4. Dolomite or Children’s Bank Book Savings Accounts - Let the kids be involved with the banking. They enjoy the trips to the bank, having their little bank books and counting up the slips. They watch the money grow over time, and if you are saving for something you can also let them take it back out. Watching the money go up and down is a good point to make.
5. Make them pay for some things – If the Children want to go to the movies, or a fun centre for example, make them pay for the entry fee out of their pocket money. This helps show them how expensive things can be but also if you work hard you can reward yourself.
6. Let them count their money boxes – This will teach them coin value which is one of the first steps in learning the value of money. It also encourages them to save as they like watching their money box fill up and being able to count it.
7. Plan something big – A fun family day or even a shopping day. Get them to help in the decision of where to go, or choose a toy they want to buy at shopping. Every time they add to their money boxes they are trying to achieve their goal of a certain amount so they can go there or buy that certain thing. When the time comes, they will feel great knowing they can finally buy what they want and will be keen to start over. It feels good reaching your goal knowing you deserve it.
8. Deny them of something – Not as a punishment but to show them that you need money for certain things, to go certain places and you can’t always have what you want. Spoilt children rarely have knowledge of money value as they are given everything they want when they want it. If they want something they will need to earn it.
9. Deduct money – When they are naughty or have broken the rules deduct money from their money boxes. Make it a set rule so they are aware breaking the rules will cost them 50cents or a dollar, and so you are not just springing it on them. They will be disappointed to lose the money especially if they then can’t afford what they have been saving for. This teaches them not only to behave but every cent counts.
10. Show them the Electricity Bill – Show them the electricity bill and take them with you when you go to pay it. Show them how much money it costs to pay the bill. Children often think Mum and Dad’s wallet has never ending money. So show them it gets empty to and explain that’s why as parents you have to work. Make it a house rule that if you leave the lights on when not needed it will cost you 50cents towards the bill, have a set jar for it. Remember they have seen how much money the bill cost. This will encourage them to turn off the lights, but also they are imagining at the moment, all their 50 cent pieces going into this jar, so they are thinking about ways to save it.
These are not the traditional ways to teach children the value of money, but these are some of the ideas I have used with my own children and it works. These ideas have helped my children get a better understanding of money, saving, goals and have even helped with their behaviour.