Kids learn about money from their parents. They know whether you tend to save up for fun purchases, or pull out the credit card when temptation strikes.
Since they’re learning from you, talk to your kids about using their money wisely. Here are five tips to get you started:
Let your kids make mistakes when the stakes are low.
It’s hard to watch your son buy an expensive video game with money he’s been saving for a puppy. If he regrets his choice later, reassure him that his goal is still in reach, even if it’s delayed.
Admit your own mistakes.
Talking openly with your children about your spending regrets gives you a chance to discuss the importance of comparison shopping, doing research, and waiting a day or two to see whether a potential purchase still makes sense. Your kids will learn from your blunders. And they’ll like hearing that they’re not the only ones who make regrettable decisions.
Put them on a budget.
For at least a month, put your teens on a budget, without giving in to requests for more money. Make sure they set aside some for short-, medium- and long-term goals, and some for sharing. Explain that the rest is for entertainment, outings with friends, and other non-essentials.
Now, ask your teen to track where every dollar goes. They may learn that small changes in their behavior can make their money go much further.
Talk about your family budget.
Discuss how much goes toward food and other necessities; how much you set aside for long-term goals, including college and retirement; how much you allocate for family fun; and how much for giving. They may not realize the diligence that goes into making it balance.
Discuss the importance of sharing.
Encourage your kids to donate a share of their money – and maybe some of their time – to a cause they believe in.
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