Does teaching your child about money seem like a daunting task? Experts at Desert Schools Federal Credit Union provide these tips for implementing financial lessons that will stick:
1. Teach the value of spending, saving and sharing. Each and every time your child receives money, whether it's earned or gifted, have him or her divide the money up equally between three jars, labeled SPENDING, SAVING and SHARING. The spending jar will be for small purchases like candy or a small toy, while the savings jar should be for more expensive purchases or long-term goals. The sharing jar teaches the value of community and charity. Use it for someone you know who needs it or to be donated to a cause close to your family's heart.
2. Implement real life lessons. The next time you go shopping, allow your child to bring some of his or her "spend" jar with them, then pick out a couple of items they're interested in purchasing.
Count the money with your child at the store to see if they have enough money to purchase the item. If they don't, talk with your child about which item they want most and use that item for the goal for the "save" jar.
If they have enough money for the "spend" item, allow them to purchase it.
3. Take advantage of teachable moments. Turn a trip to the grocery store into a bit of a scavenger hunt. Give your child a basic list of 3-4 items that you know will add up to less than a certain amount, say $5 of $10, depending on the items. Teach your child to find the lowest priced item and allow him or her to keep a bit of the remaining money as a reward. This lesson teaches your child to think about the price of an item and its value, in addition to learning the basics of budgeting.
4. Be the best example you can be. When you shop with your child, try to use cash as much as possible, as it's a much easier concept to understand than a debit card, and credit is not the goal you're working toward. Allowing your child to see a tangible exchange of cash for goods is the best example you can provide.
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