3 Money-Savvy Tips to Teach Kids the Value of a Dollar

3 Money-Savvy Tips to Teach Kids the Value of a Dollar

Kids of all ages can benefit from learning about money with these fun lessons.

By Lorraine Allen

Money isn’t everything, but cold, hard cash is what makes the world go around, in many ways. We need money to keep our kids healthy, to save for retirement, to have security in case of an accident, and so much more. Given all this, teaching our kids about money early on is necessary to set them up for a less stressful, more balanced and comfortable life, as they grow up.

Here are a few fun ways to do this:

Create a loose change jar and have family members “pay” each other for favors and services. If it’s bath time, you can play spa with your kids and say that a shampooing will cost them 72 cents. A bar of soap might cost a nickel, and so on. Then they’ll need to dig through the jar, add up the correct amount or get correct change from you for the transaction. This is a fun game to play with younger children who are just learning math, and works well at mealtime, when people are passing food around. On vacation, kids can learn about the costs of things outside the home, and even in different currencies, and countries, if you’re traveling far away.

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Give your kids a regular allowance, but have them divide it into three categories, keeping their own accounts in a notebook. One third of the money they can spend as they wish. One third they should save for later, so they can watch it add up and use toward a larger, long-term goal of their choosing. The final third they should donate to a charity of their choice, to help them understand how others around them are in need, how fortunate they are, and how they can help make a difference through their generosity and kindness.

Set up a system for them to “earn” money (allowance aside). Hang up a list of “extra chores” kids can do around the house, with a value next to each item. For example, vacuuming the living room or washing their own sheets might earn them 50 cents or a dollar. Include jobs that are age appropriate. Make sure the chores are not so physically demanding that a little kid will be turned off but challenging enough that a teen will be actually putting in extra effort to do the job. If kids can earn money when they have the time and desire to, this sets up a lifetime of good habits and understanding about how to support themselves, and how to be able to afford what they want in life.


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Let kids save or spend the money they earn as they choose though, just like an adult does. This makes the lessons all the more effective in promoting their understanding of the importance of hard work and personal finances.

How do you teach your kids about money?

Lorraine is a freelance parenting and food writer, and she shares her cooking adventures and family recipes at FeedingLina.com. She lives in New York with her family and one squirrel-obsessed dog. Follow her @feedingLina.

Image ©iStock.com/Grady Reese

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