In the last few weeks we’ve had some pretty interesting conversations in our house about money. A.J. now has chores (which you can see him explain in the YouTube video below) and he has established a savings goal. From what I’ve seen, four is the perfect age to start chores, as well as an allowance because this is the age where they’re so helpful and excited! What does your child know about money? Are they still asking for toys the day after Christmas? Let’s get things under control with your family’s cash flow. Here are Five Easy Money Lessons for Children.
Chores and Allowances for 4-year-olds
Money Lessons for Children
1. Keep cash handy. This is one of the hardest things for me to do because I use my debit card so much. But you need to let your children see you use and exchange cash when you’re out shopping. Otherwise, they won’t really grasp the value of. Last week, I had cash handy at our favorite Atlanta indoor playground, HippoHopp. Since A.J. wanted snacks I gave him cash to walk up to the counter by himself, order and bring me the change. Of course, I was sitting maybe 10 feet away and watched the whole transaction. But you should have seen the look of pride on his face when he bought something with cash!
2. Count and track their money. Every Saturday after A.J. gets his allowance we count his money together. This reiterates the growth he sees each week and he stacks up more $1 bills. For now, we keep his money in a wallet my Mom gave him. Other parents choose to store money in a piggy bank or clear jar for the visual reminder of earnings and savings.
For older kids, a money tracking journal would be a great option. Include a lesson on interest and long-term savings if you think they’re up to it.
3. Have a savings goal. Already our rambunctious four-year-old has his heart set on buying a car when he’s 16! Thanks to a visit to a bumper car park he’s thoroughly engrossed in the idea of getting his own set of wheels. His goal is already written out!
Some parents choose to split their child’s allowance of gift money into: spend, save and give (donate).
Others choose the 80/10/10 rule: spend 80%, save 10%, give 10%.
Help them come up with a long-term savings goal if it’s a splurge or investment they’d like to make.
4. Explore coupons and sale circulars. A.J. watches each week as I clip coupons at our table. He knows I’m doing it to save money on the food and household items we buy each week.
Buying or subscribing to the Sunday paper is also a lesson in spending. If you purchase a newspaper for $2.50 per week – will you be able to enough from the coupons inside to justify the cost?
It’s hard to get children to delay gratification on the things they’d like to buy now! A.J. can think of at least 20 things he’d like when we shop at Family Dollar. Use a sale circular to explain how some items have a lower price at certain times of the year. If you wait until the price drops – you can save even more money! We check the weekly Family Dollar circular each visit. You can also find it an FamilyDollar.com and money-savings ideas on the Family Dollar Blog where I’m a contributing writer.
5. College and career. Growing up gets expensive when you take tuition, student loans and housing into account. Start talking to your children about where they’d like to attend college. Get them interested in pursuing scholarships as soon as possible. Volunteer organizations and extracurricular activities are a great place to start.
Look even further down the line and discuss earning potential for the career they choose. Granted, a six-year-old may not really grasp what earning $200,000 a year means. But you can also explain how earnings and savings influence how long they’ll have to work before they retire!
Noted money expert Dave Ramsey even has a children’s version of his well known series, Financial Peace Junior, filled with workbooks, parent guides and chore charts!