Teaching my children about money at early age has always been one of my personal goals. I want them to know the value of money and why money can be a double-edge sword if it is not being used carefully. Money is very useful and yet it can get you into so much trouble as well.
Learning the concept of money at a very young age can start by simply showing how money is EARNED, not given. You may ask, what if someone actually give money for my son’s birthday? Well, I always tell my son that if someone is willing to give him money for his birthday, it is because of his behaviors towards that particular person. He must have been polite and respectful. Therefore, he EARNED it by having good characters.
Kids are simple, so start with simple concepts.
I reward completed chores with money
If you think “ughhh it’s taking a small chunk out of my budget”, Think again!
I treat this as an investment. I invest into his future. Imagine this, if your son or daughter learns about money management from you, two things will happen: 1. They will be forever grateful for not having financial issues in their lives. And 2. You will be proud of the financial accomplishment your children will achieve.
Another way to look at it is to think how you had started your financial freedom from a -1 ( minus 1) starting point, while your children will start at 0 (zero). At the end of the day, with correct guidance and shared experience from you, they will achieve much further than you. Hope this makes sense!
Me and my wife started with a list of chores that my 5 year old can do. Obviously, the chores have to something that kids can do. Anything that is safe, reachable with his small body, not too heavy, and not overwhelming for his age.
We set the reward to be a Quarter for every chores done. We don’t reward his effort everyday. He has to wait until the weekend for his “paycheck”.
I still remember how he was so proud of himself after receiving his first reward. He got so excited to do chores. (Hint: the excitement only lasted for a few weeks, we had to keep reminding him about the reward afterwards 😅).
He was so happy that as soon as we went to Target, he wanted to buy a toy with his own money! What’s funny is that he does not realize he does not have enough yet. From this point on, we started teaching him about savings.
We got him a Save and Give Box.
Well, we did not really buy a special box for him. It just so happened that Home Depot Kids Workshop has a Fire House Bank project. We thought it was cool since the “bank” is split into “SAVE” and “GIVE” compartments.
We told him about saving money. We showed him the math in writing. We showed how the money adds up if he does not spend right away. We also showed him several more expensive toys. I remember asking him, “Don’t you want a nicer toy?” He said “Of course!”. Then I told him to keep saving the money.
The time come when he finally gave up on waiting. He wanted a plush toy from Build a Bear so bad. Every time we go to a mall, he always want to go to Build A Bear store. I told him that it is too expensive and it will take him at least a few more weeks of chores to be able to afford it. He was so sad yet I could see in his face that he understand about savings.
A few weeks later, he was so convinced that he still wanted that lion plush toy from Build A Bear. He counted his money and he had enough. He was so ready to go out and buy one.
We said “Wait!”.
We made him realized that he should not deplete all his savings to $0
As both working parents, often time we have to find deals online to save some money. We felt that we should show him the same way and he understood.
We went online to purchase the exact same lion plush toy he wanted at Build A Bear website (it was like 30-40% cheaper than in -store, dont know why). We saved a few dollars. After we receive the toy in the mail, we went to Build A Bear and have it filled up. He got the whole Build A Bear experience just like buying in-store and he saved a few dollars too!
We told him to Give
It was not easy. But he has a compartment in his firehouse bank that says GIVE. It was empty.
We really wanted him to be smart and savvy with money, but at the same time, we would hate it if he become stingy. Being stingy is not a good character to have. It ruins relationships and will prevent his personality to grow In him.
Showing by example is one of the best ways to teach someone. We give to the church and that’s how he started learning about giving. Next, we would show how fortunate we are compare to others who have less than us. We showed pictures, videos, documentaries – just to kind of get him into the idea of how giving can lit up someone’s face with smiles.
The results of these were quite amazing. He can now put some money in the GIVE compartment. Although he has not take out the money and actually give to anyone yet, he does not touch that money at all because he knows it’s not for him.
Hope this short blog post can be inspirational. We are just sharing our story and we hope to hear from others as well. Please leave a comment below. Thanks