Here our Top Tips on how you can help your little ones become money savvy
A mantra many of us parents have heard growing up is the "Money doesn’t grow on trees” line… I wonder how many of us have actually said this to our own children? A fair few of us I’m sure!
However, hard as it may seem to teach children how to value money, one thing that’s for sure is teaching them when they are young will be a useful tool for their future.
Shopping trips are a great visual way for even small children to learn how much items vary in price and work out what they can afford with the toy coins they have.
Supermarket shopping trips are a perfect exercise for older children to give them the understanding of worth behind everyday items. We all know that Supermarket shopping can often be seen as a boring task for kids, so by giving them a to do list, can be entertaining alongside teaching them value of items. A Fab way for the older kids to think about costs, is to get them to add up all the items you have bought, get them to include any deals that you have qualified for, but too for them to see if they can spot better deals to save your family money. You could turn this into a competition if you are shopping with more than one child to see who can get the closest to the end total.
Another fun game to play with older kids at the supermarket is to give them a certain amount of money and a shopping list of certain items. They will then need to find all the items and not spend more than they have, they could also see if they could find a way to get money back and not spend it all. This is a good way to get them to think about buying non-branded items, and also not to be pulled into deals that the shop has on offering you to buy more at a discount if it’s not what you can afford or a brand you don’t need. This is perfect for making them think about how much individual items cost, it also teaches them to work to a budget and building on their mathematical skills.
Shops and Supermarkets are a fantastic way for your children improve their understanding of money in a fun and practical way in an everyday situation. If you want to take this a little further with older children you could do pre-shopping exercises like using a website to compare prices and work out which shop would be cheaper to buy in, making your budget go further, My Supermarket is a fab website to use for this. Also you could use online websites to gather coupons and money off vouchers to help bring your total spend down SuperSavvyMe is a good website for coupons off P&G products. Doing this will help your child identify better deals and promote how to spend their money wisely demonstrating how they don’t always have to spend their full budget and encouraging even saving what’s left over.
Following on from learning about budget on shopping trips by introducing pocket money, your giving your child the opportunity to learn to budget with their own money. Pocket money is an old tried and tested way for children to become more independent with their own money. If you give them a set amount of pocket money each week, that they can spend on anything they like, it will create a great learning curve for them. Probably the first lesson they will learnt is how quickly money can be spent! However, it can also make them think about saving their money each week to pool it together and buy one more expensive item. This gives them useful insight into how long it can sometimes take to save for something, which in turn teaches them to value that item more once they have finally bought it.
Of course, you can also make your children earn their pocket money, by asking them to do chores around the house or do errands for you. This helps them to gain a greater appreciation of how much work really needs to go into earning money. This approach will then generate some respect for both earning and spending the money they earn.
Your children are growing up when the use of contactless payments is also growing, by using either bank cards or even mobile phones, this all means some children, and even adults, may rarely come across actual physical money.
Our children are growing up surrounding by technology, and you can use this to their benefit. There are many apps you can use with your children, such as Rooster Money which gives children a pocket money account that parents top up and track. Children can see how much they have and parents can monitor how much is being spent.
As a parent, we hear our child tell us how they need a certain toy, but by us teaching them the difference between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ from an early age this can help limit impulse purchases in later life and again help teach about budgeting and setting targets.
Historically, children have always learnt through play and kids usually always love to play shop. By playing shop with them it is a really fun way to help teach children the value of money. Using toy money and taking it in turns to be the customer and shop owner. This will help children to decide whether an item is worth its price or not and maybe even how build confidence to ask for discounts if their favourite Teddy is more than they can afford!
These are just a few very simple ways we can help our children grow to be money smart and make spend money responsibly and learn its value. By starting early this will hugely benefit your children as they grow into their adult years.