Must-have skill for children #12 managing money

There are many benefits to teaching your child the must-have skill of managing money at an elementary-school-age. They can be more successful, responsible, and hard-working in the future, to name a few. However, many parents wait too long or never start to teach their child how to become financially responsible adults. This can be one of the most common parenting mistakes.  

In a University of Michigan study, Professor Scott Rick stated, “If parents wait until their children are teenagers to have serious discussions about money, they’ve already let a pretty formative decade pass.” As a matter of fact, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau cites research that children are able to start saving by the time they are five!  

It’s not too early for your child to learn the value of a budget. If you want them to be prepared for a better tomorrow, here’s how they can start today. Otherwise, they may be the one in six students who never reaches the baseline level of financial literacy.

Start Earning Money
Teach your child to earn money so they internalize the concept “Money does not grow on trees.” It’s the result of a lot of time and effort. Recognizing this can raise their understanding of how the economy works as well as appreciation for the things they already have. This also increases their self-esteem as they see they are capable of taking care of themselves.

They can earn money through a variety of ways. They could sell lemonade, receive bonuses on top of allowance for extra chores or special accomplishments, babysit, wash cars, or mow their neighbor’s lawn. However, a bonus tip is to also have them donate things and volunteer their time, so they understand that there are benefits to work beyond reward. Sometimes, it’s better to not monetize but connect with the community, and it’s important they learn the difference. This overall experience will teach them their worth so they won’t sell themselves short in future negotiations and job offers.  

Know How to Spend
There’s no point in earning money if your child isn’t going to spend any, and there’s a know-how to spending, too. Because they are using their own money, your child will likely be more cautious of where their cash goes. This teaches them needs versus wants. What do they absolutely need, such as school lunches or supplies? After that, what do they want enough to spend their money on? This tests their ability to spend responsibly.

For extra habits that would help them in the future, you can teach them comparative shopping, meaning what is the best deal and where can they get it? Some items can be cheaper at certain retailers, but your child can’t just look at the price. They have to check the quality to see whether or not the product is worth that price. For example, is it better to purchase a cheap T-shirt that can only be worn a few months or a pricier one they can wear for years?  

They also should check the quantity, as in how much they are buying for the cost. They could practice their problem-solving math skills here. Is it better to purchase 10 rolls of toilet paper for $9 or 20 rolls for $18.99? They can calculate tips, tax, and whether a $5 coupon or a 20% discount would be better for a $20 item. These are all practical skills for real-life applications.

Practice Planning Budgets
Goals exist in the monetary space, as well. Have your child practice planning and tracking their budget. You can use a budget sheet like this one so your child can get used to tracking their earnings and spending. It’s good to keep a record of all of this, take note of their spending habits, and promote organizational skills.

They can also create short and long-term goals so they can practice or start saving up. This will be incredibly useful as an adult when the sheet is likely to get more complicated with bills, food, rent, bonuses, side hustles, investments, and more. This is also great for tracking things like donations and gifts as well as practicing delayed gratification since the money for expensive purchases would take more time to accumulate.

Extra Tips
A piggy bank is a great place to start so your kid can save extra cash and change, but as cute as they are, they may not be all that practical. Opt for a mason jar or an old bottle instead, anything clear that shows the money piling up inside. It helps your child see the results as they go. Once they collect enough change, you can head over to a machine to convert it into cash. Waste not want not. Every penny counts!

Also practice teaching your child about credit. If your child is too young for their own credit or bank card, you could create a substitute one for the Bank of Parents. They can go to you when they want to buy something on credit, and you can set the interest and payback process however you’d like. This way, they have an idea of how credit works for when they get a real card in the future.  

If you want your child to grow into a fiscally responsible adult who can afford a proper lifestyle and save up for retirement, you have to start teaching them now. Let them become responsible for their earnings and spendings bit by bit, as young as five years old. Nothing beats experience when it comes to handling finances; plus, it’s never too early to start saving up for the future. With these tips, your child will have a great handle on the must-have skills of managing money and budgeting. Read more about other must-have skills for children with more to come every month.

For further help in the area of problem-solving math, we have the perfect programs for you. Both JEI Math and JEI Problem-Solving Math can help your child learn the concepts so that they can calculate those taxes, figure out the best prices, and fill out their budget sheet independently. Find a center near you or call us at (877) JEI-MATH to enroll them today!