Providing a good foundation is critical for the development of healthy habits and better spending decisions in later life. With the world becoming increasingly cashless, it’s even more important to teach children at an early age about ‘invisible’ money versus cash. As soon as children start learning to add and subtract, you can start teaching them the money basics, starting with notes and coins.
Tip: Regularly talk to your kids about money so they understand that ‘invisible’ money is still hard-earned money.
Getting your kids to understand that you don’t have an endless supply of money isn’t always simple. Start with teaching the importance of earning money and having a job.
Children can start earning money of their own by doing chores and helping around the house. Introducing pocket money (no matter how big or small) will help kids understand that money is given in exchange for a service, and it will also start to build a good work ethic. Remember, payment isn’t paid until the service is finished in full.
Tip: Encourage your kids to use a portion of their earned cash in shops to buy something they want. It will start helping them understand what they can and can’t afford.
The relationship between needs and wants is a vital concept for kids to comprehend. Until children understand the difference, they will always want instant gratification. The concept can be tricky as needs vary from family to family. But it’ll help getting your children involved with real life situations and decisions, for example, the household budgeting and bills.
Tip: Write a household shopping list together and discuss what items your family needs and what items are treats. Whilst going around the shop together, compare prices of similar products.
Whether you learn self-control and delayed gratification in your early years has been proven to effect your life trajectory.
To avoid impulsive in-store spending, build a constant dialogue about the things your children might like to buy with their money and whether they think they’ll have enough. If they don’t have enough, help them set achievable savings goals.
Also be conscious of your own actions – adult spending habits are passed onto kids, so it’s important you don’t let them see you making unnecessary spontaneous purchases.
Tip: Set achievable goals with your kids so that they can track their saving and spending.
Delve a bit deeper into the purpose of banks, ATMs and the different types of bank accounts. Savings accounts generally offer higher interest rates than everyday accounts, so to maximise your children’s understanding of ‘invisible’ money, open a junior account, and they can watch their savings grow faster.
As kids get older, teach them about credit and the things to watch out for. Explain there is such thing as good debt and bad debt, but what’s important is knowing we can pay back the money we borrow.
Financial institutions keep money safe until we need it, but children need to know that they also need to do their part. For example, dangers include:
To learn more about cyber safety, take a look at Government resources such as the Office of the eSafety Commissioner.
Tip: Get involved with your child’s online activities and behaviour, it will help you establish household internet rules.
When teaching children about budgeting and spending, it’s vital not to get stressed yourself, as these reactions could be transferred – make learning fun by playing games and activities. Games will encourage your children to ask questions and get a better understanding of money.
Our Dollaroo Account can help bring fun to saving by with our quarterly newsletters specifically for our Dollaroo account holders, filled with activities and competitions that could help boost their bank balance! Dollaroo and his friends share helpful learning along the way, educating your child in saving and environmental topics – click here to meet Dollaroo and friends.
Tip: Turn learning about money into a fun family night-in by playing an educational board game. Monopoly is a great family game where kids can feel and experience ‘real’ cash.