23 Ways to Teach Your Kids Good Money Habits

23 Ways to Teach Your Kids Good Money Habits

I have great money habits, but I'm not sure how I learned them! So I consulted an expert...these tips for teaching good money habits are from Karyn Hodgens, author of Raised for Richness: Teaching Kids Money Skills for Life and creator of KidsSave.

"How are learning to a ride bike and learning about money similar?” she asks. “Both involve kids being ACTIVE participants.”

Here, Hodgens reveals how parents can teach kids about money. By the way, these money tips are great for adults, too – especially those who want to want to establish good financial habits in their own lives. It's never too late! 

23 Ways to Teach Your Kids Good Money Habits

  • Help your kids make a list of money makers (bonds, mutual funds, etc.) and money losers (those really nifty sunglasses you never wear).
  • Teach your child to make a pros/cons list before spending money on an expensive item.
  • Ask your kid to think about something he recently bought that he really wanted. What were his feelings about the item before he bought it, and what his your feelings two weeks later? Was it worth the money?
  • Ask your kids what interests them about money? What bores them about handling, saving, or spending money?
  • Discuss an emergency fund of money and the reasons it's important. How could kids benefit from starting an emergency fund of money ?
  • Would you take out a loan for a pair of jeans? If you buy jeans with a credit card and don't pay off the balance each month, that's what you're doing.
  • Have your kids collect letters of recommendation from their babysitting, lawn mowing, pet sitting or other jobs. They'll come in handy when putting together college portfolios.
  • Have regular conversations about money skills and financial literacy – what is it, why do we need it, how do we get it, where do we keep it, how does it relate to the things that are important to us?
  • Ask your kids...does a free kitten come with hidden expenses? If so, what are they?
  • Make financial literacy fun by teaching money trivia along with money skills! For instance, the dollar bill lasts 21 months before it wears out. The five dollar bill has the shortest life, at 16 months.
  • As an incentive to save money, match your child's savings dollar for dollar...or fifty cents for each dollar saved.
  • What is your best money habit? Share it with your kids.
  • Discuss with your kids some things money can't buy.
  • Discuss with your kids which is more important...buying a video game or paying back lunch money borrowed from a friend.
  • Discuss with your kids the advantages and disadvantages of saving money.
  • Create a list of Above-and-Beyond Jobs your kids can do to earn extra money.
  • Kids LOVE to have their own savings account; it makes them feel "grown-up." If you child doesn't have one yet, take time to open one...and consider seeding it with a few dollars. This is a great way to get them in the healthy habit of saving and thinking about achieving financial goals.
  • Do your kids want fancy designer labels? Have them pay the difference between what you're willing to pay and the cost of the designer label.
  • Teach your tween/teen how to fill out a check by having them write the next one.
  • Give your 6-8 yr old $2 and your 9-13 yr old $5. If your 6-8 yr old still has it after a week and your 9-13 has it after two weeks, double their money. Great delayed gratification practice!
  • Discuss being rich in compassion, understanding, empathy, friends, knowledge... How can we use money to help us show these things we value?
  • Talk about a financial goal you set and the steps you took to achieve it. Then have your kids create their own money goals.
  • Discuss needs versus wants with your kids.

If you have any questions or thoughts on teaching your kids about money, I'd love to hear from you below…and if you have a question specifically for Karyn, I'll make sure she gets it!

Karyn Hodgens is a Kids Personal Finance Educator, author, and creator of KidsSave, a kids' money management software program. Her passion is to educate parents on the importance of teaching kids financial literacy.

Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen is a full-time writer and blogger; she created five "Quips and Tips" blogs:

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