Now that school’s out, your kids have a lot of time on their hands. It’s important you spend some of it teaching your children how to budget and save. But that’s a tall order when all they want to do is play video games all summer long.
It won’t be easy, but it’s possible. Check out some of these tips to help you get them involved.
Make Money Real
Today’s world of mobile payments and online shopping can make spending money seem like magic. Mom or dad pulls out a plastic card or presses a button on the computer and — voila — you come home with groceries or have a new toy shipped to the house.
Physical money with individual bills and coins is easier to track. You have to hand over bills to buy things, and if you don’t have enough of it, you can’t buy what you want.
To instill this lesson, pick a regular expense and buy it with cash. Make sure your kids understand how much $20, $50, or $100 gets them. This brings shopping and budgeting back down to Earth.
Be Willing to Talk Openly
Depending on how old your children are, they may not understand or appreciate a sit-down talk about the budget.
However, if you have teenagers applying for college, they could benefit from a candid conversation about your finances.
They probably already have a part-time job and are learning how to save. But soon enough, they’ll be making their own choices about financial products, like student loans and lines of credit.
You might be surprised by how many questions they have about borrowing money. They face a record-breaking student loan debt if they’re planning on college, so they might be worried. And rightly so!
If possible, talk to them about how you used and managed your student loans.
If you never took out student loans, talk about loans you have out now — like an online personal line of credit.
Explain why you took out a line of credit in the first place, and how you keep on top of payments.
Discuss how paying a line of credit or student loan on time can help build your credit history. Some financial institutions will share your payment activity to the major credit bureaus.
To see how paying an online personal line of credit on time can impact your credit score, check out CreditFresh for more information.
Assign Them Chores
By default, most kids hate doing chores. You know better than anyone it can be a struggle to convince them to make their bed in the morning.
But it depends on the task. The chances they’ll pitch in go up if it’s something you do together. The odds are even higher if they like the idea of having control over what you do in the house.
So what are these magical chores that convince them to pitch in? Some ways they can participate in the family finances include:
Meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking are all great family activities. They’re also an opportunity to learn. At the start of every week (or whenever you have time) sit down with your kids to think up meals that fit their taste buds and the weekly budget. Talk about how couponing, price checking, and buying generic can help them get more for less.
Between outdoor concerts, wave pools, and family-friendly festivals, you’ll be going out as a family more often during the summer months. Ask your kids to plan a day at the theatres, the park, or another family-friendly location. Give them full rein over how you spend money that day, but make sure whatever they plan comes in under budget.
Start the Ball Rolling
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter so much how you include them in the household finances. What’s important is that you make the effort to talk about money with them. Getting them to think about spending and saving money now can help them manage their money responsibly once they grow up.