Did you ever wish you were taught more about money in your childhood? Many people graduate from college with no idea how to manage their finances or even balance their checking account. It’s never too early to begin those conversations with our kids or even our grandkids!
One of the first, and most important things to do is to just start having conversations. Money does not have to be scary or overwhelming. Use these money discussions as teachable moments. There are ways to empower the next generation and that starts by teaching children at a very young age.
Here are a few tips:
Teaching Preschool Kids about Money
- It’s easy to teach your child about money. Trips to the grocery store, visits to the ATM, even buying insurance can be used in a discussion about the value of money.
- When children are very young, you can work money concepts into everyday interactions. Set up a grocery store with a play register and pretend money. Create a store in your living room with items they can buy with pretend money.
- When you child reaches age 4 to 5, have your preschooler learn the value of “coupons”. Have them help you clip out coupons at home, or save them on your shopping app. When you are headed to the grocery store, hand them the coupons and put them in charge of looking for the items. This will make them feel like they are helping and it will be a fun and easy way to talk about saving money.
Teaching Elementary Kids about Money
- Piggy banks are a great idea, but it does not give them a visual idea of the money adding up. Try a clear jar instead so they can see the money growing! Each time it grows, make a big deal out of it and talk it up!
- Show them that the things they want cost money. It seems obvious enough, but if they’re accustomed to seeing you pay with a Credit or even Debit card, they don’t see actual money leaving your hands.
- When your child wants that favorite new toy or video game, let them know they have to save for it. Give them a jar for each of their desired purchases. If your daughter wants that new princess game, help them grab a few dollars out of the jar to take to the store. When they get their item, physically hand the item and money to the cashier. If it is not enough to purchase their item, educate them that they must go home and save some more.
Teaching Teenagers about Money
- Help them find a job. It could be a seasonal summer or winter break job, or a job in the evenings after school. If they aren’t 16 yet, mowing yards and babysitting is a great way to start earning (and saving!) money.
- Give them the responsibility of a checking account. This takes money management to a new level. It will help prepare them for a healthy account balance perhaps even before they graduate from high school.
- Talk honestly about money. Involve your teen in spending decisions or debt-reduction discussions. This is a great way to show them the depth and complexity of money decisions, and that they should be considered carefully.
iSave and Mad City Money
Eastex Credit Union proudly offers iSave, a program designed to teach financial literacy through the local schools. Eastex CU periodically holds Mad City money events at various times throughout the year.
Mad City Money events are a 2-hour financial education simulation game that puts students in a real-life adult scenario that they have to work to sort out on their own. Students are given an occupation with a set income. Some are given a family with a spouse and children, some are divorced and some are single parents. Some have credit card debt. For those two hours, the students have to follow that scenario by setting a budget and visiting different merchant booths, Here they can purchase housing, transportation, food, household necessities, clothing, day care and other essential items. At each booth, students are faced with choices that range from basic to luxury, and the students have to decide what they can and can’t afford.
The goal behind Mad City Money is for the senior high school students to be allowed to make mistakes in a safe, simulated environment, and see the consequence of their decisions in order to figure out how to right the mistakes.
Eastex Credit Union has been offering MCM events for many years. President/CEO Loretta Chatagnier says, “The program has been overwhelming and we are proud to partner with the local schools for this event.”
Ask one of our member service representatives for more details about Eastex CU’s iSave program and how you can help your child began a healthy financial journey. You can also visit isavecu.com for more information!