Teaching your child the value of money


"Money 101": Start early and make it fun!
Sarah Twomey | Desjardins Group

If you're like most Canadians, you're raising a family and working hard to make ends meet. And like many of us, you probably wish that someone had taught a "Money 101" class when you were a kid. The same remains true today: money ends up being a life-lesson that's taught at home. Luckily it doesn't have to be a difficult exercise. Here's how to get your kids motivated about managing their money. 

Start early and make it fun: Consider introducing the topic of money management with your child around the mid-elementary age -- 8-10 years old -- when he's old enough to understand and manage some responsibility. Have some fun with this important subject to keep him engaged and motivated. For example, include some incentives and rewards to reinforce the lessons -- like choosing the family outing, organizing a movie night with pizza or cooking his favourite meal.  

Goals and budgeting: One of the most important lessons in money management is the realization that there are limits to what your child can afford. To help him determine what he might like to buy and to set up a savings goal, show him how to create a simple budget. As he works towards this savings goal, you could create a chart -- like a barometer -- to follow his progress. A piggy bank is also a good way for youngsters to start a savings habit. As it gets heavier, they'll realize their efforts are working and their goal is within reach.

Learning to avoid impulse buying: One of the other important lessons of this exercise is to teach your child to control his spending. Coop-me provides a list of tips on how to avoid impulsive purchases, like: 
  • Plan your purchases and make informed decisions
  • Are you buying something on a whim or to impress your friends?
  • Do you really need the product or service?
  • Can you really afford the item or can you wait until it goes on sale?

Patience and perseverance: The important thing is to stay on track. Since the main point of the exercise is to teach your child to save, greater emphasis should be placed on the fact that he is developing good money-saving habits instead of the amount he has actually saved. If he decided at the outset to save $2 a week, encourage him to stick to this arrangement even if he receives a gift of money, for instance.


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