This post was underwritten by BMO Harris Bank, which offers a matching $25 on a new savings account opened for your child through their Helpful Steps for Parents program. Learn more at bmoharris.com/parents.
Growing up I really never learned to handle money. I pretty much got what I wanted – except the pony/piano type of stuff – but I didn’t really ask for much either. Those were the days when there was ONE row of cereal in the grocery store and markers came in 12 colors with glitter not even on the radar. There wasn’t much to ask for to begin with.
How did we survive? *blinks*
These days there is so much stuff just slapping kids in the face and the “I wants” are out of control. Keeping up with the Jones’ may have been the way of the world 10 years ago, but times are tough financially for everyone. The “Jones” aren’t doing that well either…
Well “72 day Kim” is doing fine but that’s a different galaxy. *eyeroll*
Teach your kids responsible budgeting and hold them accountable. That’s key to raising kids with healthy expectations. Mine had to learn that Starbucks is a privilege, not right. That took a little tough love.
My tips for teaching good spending and saving habits:
1. Give kids an allowance as early as possible. There’s no right or wrong amount. As long as you are setting reasonable expectations that fit your family values, you can’t really compare one family’s amount to the next. It’s all relative and depends what you expect the child to cover with that money.
2. Set up a savings account and help them learn what savings is for. Be specific about goals – help them to set them and monitor their progress.
3. Don’t hover too much- OH I KNOW THAT’S HARD! – allow your kids to make mistakes and learn from the experience. Hold them accountable, but realize that they are just kids. It’s your job to help them work through this and you may gain a few grey hairs in the process but the results will be worth it.
4. Make sure they understand that taxes exist and that prices can increase. They can also learn about seasonal sales and how waiting to purchase something could benefit them financially. These little nuances are part of the world and a great learning opp to help them navigate them successfully.
This doesn’t have to be a scary time. There are ways to make it fun for them, and I’d encourage you to look at different sites online and apps that can help. Helping kids to relate to it, say by using stickers, glitter or mobile technology – whatever motivates them – can make all the difference.
I’d love to know your thoughts. What’s worked for you?