Spending: Helping Kids Spend Responsibly
Children learn responsibility from their parents. A great way to teach children responsible money habits is to show them how you spend money. Keep in mind that your child may seldom see you actually use cold hard cash. You might consider changing a few of your purchasing pattens to allow for the use of bills. Otherwise a child may only see you use your Visa and Debit card as forms of payment. It is more difficult to explain these as a source of money to a small child. The use of “plastic” also may give the user the sense they have unlimited dollars to spend – so it should not be introduced as a form a money until a child’s money sense is well developed.
Before you take your child out on her first shopping spree, it is important that you and your child have set up a budget together so she knows what her spending limits are.
It is likely that your child will want items that are out of their financial reach. This is when it is important to start educating your child about living simply. How many times have we seen children rip through Christmas presents paying little attention to each one and just wanting more, more, more. It seems as if quantity is more important than anything else. You can teach your child the difference between quantity and quality so she will begin to cherish special items.
This could be a difficult challenge considering the thousands of advertising messages that bombard your child every month. Buy this toy, game, doll, etc. We live in a consumerism society and our children are often the targets of unscrupulous advertisers. It is no wonder children are always crying “I want, I want”.
If you teach your child to save for the purchases he really wants, then that item will be more valued to him if he earns the money to buy it himself. He is more likely to treat it with respect and cherish it more than his other toys. The ultimate goal is to teach your child that he doesn’t need so many things just to be happy. Isn’t that a lesson we all need to learn? More isn’t necessarily better.