This month, CommunityAmerica is sponsoring a new season of “Biz Kids” on KCPT. The show focuses on financial literacy, and presents the perfect opportunity to revisit a few tips for teaching smart money habits to youth.
Save, spend, give jars
This is an oldie, but goody. One of the most challenging concepts to teach kids is the value of giving back. Saving and spending are much easier to grasp, because they’re usually associated with something they would like to have.
Start by giving your child three jars- one for saving, spending and giving back. When your child earns or receives money, allot a certain percentage of the total amount to each jar.
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Once their give jars reach a sizeable amount, let your child choose how they would like to help others. Perhaps they could donate it to a favorite charity or help adopt a family during the holidays.
There are some great tools online that explain how to budget with limited resources. One of the best is the Making Choices Candy Game. Use candy like M&Ms or Smarties to play.
The instructions walk players through how to “spend” each candy by budgeting it into different spending grids on the paper. The categories cover expenses like groceries, rent and transportation.
Once they place all their candy, read out scenarios that force them to lose candy, and reassess their allotment (rent raised, car breaks, etc.). They will quickly see how hard it is to make their money stretch farther!
Accountability with a bank account
Kids love activities that mimic the everyday habits of adults. Ask if your financial institution offers a junior savings account of some kind. Some banks or credit unions offer small amounts of interest or a reward at opening. This will not only get them excited to save, but it requires responsibility to manage a real bank account.
Teaching children how to manage money is perhaps one of the most valuable, yet overlooked, life lessons. It can be a sensitive topic to breach, but one with benefits that may last a lifetime if you start today!
Kat’s Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit http://communityamerica.com.