I grew up watching my family, my aunts and uncles and even my cousin’s struggle with money. Living paycheck to paycheck was the norm for my extended family. My father did ok and we never had to struggle but there were times when things got lean if you know what I mean. One point my dad got a second job just so we did not have to live like the rest of my family.
I grew up watching all this and vowed to never be like that. I had a minimalized lifestyle and only bought what I needed. I would splurge here and there but it was rare. I told myself I would never struggle like that and live a good life. However, I moved out, covid hit, and everything I had saved, all $33k of it, went down in flames. It was hard watching everything I worked hard for, all the years I avoided having fun or splurging had been for nothing. The defeat I felt was like no other.
This started a path of begging for money from various family members just so I could survive. Times were tough to the point that I did not know how I would afford food for that week, or month. On many occasions, I would only eat noodles with butter and that was my meal for a week or two because it was cheap. Covid made rice go up in price so that was not an option and work was hard to find.
I saw all this because teaching kids to understand and respect money now will help them down the road. Why did I tell you all that and then write an article on saving money? It is simple, I wish I had started saving when I was in high school because doing it in my late 20s did nothing for me. The first catastrophe that happened I sank like the titanic. I wish I could of learned about this sooner and started doing it sooner.
Table of Contents
Why Teach Kids About Budgeting?
Life was a great teacher for me but the vast majority of kids do not get that kind of experience or education. It is important to teach your children the importance of budgeting. If you start when they are young, it will shape them later in life. In addition, it can help empower them to make better choices and avoid financial pitfalls later.
Start with the Basics
I am a visual learner. You telling me how to do something will not have much of an impact on me, however, if you show me how to do something I retain the information with greater ease. When teaching your kids how to budget and manage their money, show them what your money buys and what expenses you have to take care of. Kids think parents have an unlimited supply of money; show them that this is not the case.
Make It Practical
As state above, show them what your money buys and pays for, as it will be relatable to their daily lives. Start by giving them a weekly or monthly allowance and encourage them to save and be responsible. If they are 16 years of age, consider a custodial investment account for your child. Teach yourself and them how to invest their money for their future.
Teach them how to save, and budget their money. When they want something, they need to earn it through chores and their allowance. This will teach them that they need to save up their money instead of spending it all. This will help instill discipline as well.
Lead by Example
There is an old saying that I think holds true, “Do as I do”. If you tell your kids something, you should follow through with it. If you tell them it is important to save their money and they see you spending all your money and leaving nothing for the family, what example does that teach them? What if you have an emergency and because you did not save, your family suffers for it. Kids will see this and learn from it.
Involve them in household budget discussions and explain why certain financial decisions are made. Show them the importance of saving, budgeting, and avoiding unnecessary debt. By demonstrating responsible money management, you are setting a positive example that they can emulate.
Teach Delayed Gratification
It has been proven that what kids go through and learn will shape their brains. If a child always gets what they want, it will shape their personality. You ever see a child throwing a fit at the store and the parent gives in and gets them a toy or candy that sends the wrong message. The child learns they only have to throw a fit to get what they want.
In today’s culture, instant gratification is a common thing. Teach your kids the value of being patient. If they want a video game, teach them that they need to save their allowance so they can afford to it. If they do something good or get good grades, reward them with extra money but tell them it has to go in their savings. Encourage them to set long-term goals and make sure you celebrate their achievements when they reach them. All these things will reinforce the idea that patience and discipline are key components of successful budgeting.
Introduce Basic Money Management Tools
As your child grows older, introduce them to money management tools. Teach them about budget spreadsheets, apps on their phone and even investment accounts. Show them how to track their income and expenses, set financial goals, and review their progress regularly. By equipping them with these practical skills, you are setting them up for financial success in the digital age.
Teaching your kids about budgeting is a valuable investment in their future financial well-being. By starting with the basics, making it practical and leading by example, you can empower them to make sound financial decisions. Encourage savings, teach delayed gratification, and introduce them to basic money management tools, as they grow older. By instilling these principles early on, you are providing them with the tools they need to become financially responsible adults.