Yes, it doesn’t grow on trees…but there’s a lot more to tell kids about money. Get your children on the right foot early in life and establish thrifty habits that will always serve them well. Here are ten tips:
1. It’s never too early to start learning about money. Even a preschooler can be told there is such a thing as a job. I remember explaining to my young son about how Mommy and Daddy needed to go to their jobs, because we earned money to pay for food, clothes and toys for him.
2. Ben Franklin once said, "a penny saved is a penny earned." Start a savings habit early. A good old-fashioned piggy bank is a fun teaching tool. Give your child a goal – a special toy or treat to save up for, and help him or her track the savings.
3. Teach them how to curb spending. Take your kids grocery shopping and show them how you compare prices and use coupons. Bring a calculator so they can keep a running total and see if their numbers are accurate when you reach the cashier.
4. Tie allowances to chores, so your kids earn their money and get an understanding of the rewards of work.
5. Have family meetings to talk about family finances (e.g., paying for the house, food, gas, vacations, etc.).
6. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Kids may not realize that pizza delivery and restaurant meals cost your hard earned cash. Point to the prices on the menu, show them the bill at the end of the meal, and explain how tips and taxes are added to it. They may be amazed at how much it costs to eat meals out.
7. Turn a bank trip into a learning experience. Teach the kids that money doesn’t just magically spit out of ATM’s for free, it comes from your paycheck and goes into the bank before it comes out of the machine. Inside a bank, explain what they do; show your safe deposit box too, if you have one.
8. By the time a kid is in high school, he or she should have, and know how to use, a savings account and be taught how to use checking accounts and ATM’s.
9. Ben Franklin also said there is nothing certain in life except death and taxes. When they’re teens, show your kids how to fill out a simple tax return such as the IRS EZ form.
10. Knowledge isn’t cheap, if you want college credit for it. Kids need to prepare for the cost of college; go on www.collegeboard.com or other sites with your kids to research and plan for the costs of the colleges they may want to attend.
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