Budgeting With Your Kids: Getting Started

As a parent, one of your most important jobs is teaching your children how to manage money. After all, budgeting, saving, and spending are activities that they will do for the rest of their lives. But how can you get your kids on board with budgeting and saving? And how can you make sure that everyone in the family feels like they have a say in the process? By getting creative and working together as a team!
Here are some tips for getting started:
  1. Get everyone involved. When it comes to budgeting for your family, you’ll need everyone on board. Sit down with your kids and explain why having a budget is important. Talk about what you hope to accomplish by sticking to a budget (e.g., saving for a rainy day, taking a family vacation, etc.). Then, invite everyone to share their ideas about how much money should be saved each month and where it should come from.
  2. Be honest about what can and cannot be afforded. It’s important to be upfront with your kids about what your family can and cannot afford. Teach them about delayed gratification – that it’s ok to wait for something they really want if it means they can afford it in the long run. If there are certain things that are off-limits due to budgetary constraints, let them know. For example, if you can’t afford to buy a new toy every time they see one they want, explain why and offer alternatives (e.g., trading toys with friends, waiting until their birthday or Christmas).
  3. Get creative with your savings plan. When determining the family’s saving profile, don’t be afraid to start small and gradually increase the amount you save each month. You can also get creative with how you save money by setting up a “savings jar” for each person in the family. Every time someone has some extra cash (from allowance, birthday money, etc.), they can add it to their jar. Brainstorm to determine how the funds will be used.
  4. Involve your kids early and often. Teach kids the value of money by involving them in the budgeting process from an early age. This will help them understand why saving and spending are important. As they get older, you can give them more responsibility when it comes to managing money by assigning them chores that come with a monetary reward or letting them choose a bill to monitor. Creating a family budget together for their camp, sports, and school fees is a great way to teach responsibility. Budgeting will come naturally once children understand how much each person adds value to the family’s financial success.
To get a buy-in, the most important thing is to make budgeting fun for the whole family! Saving money should be a mood. Play music, and present saving as a great opportunity, and have fun while being frugal. Play board games that reinforce critical thinking about how money is used, visit thrift and dollar stores to encourage kids to stay within their budget, get creative with rewards, set reasonable goals, and celebrate each accomplishment along the way.
All of these methods will help teach kids about responsible money management. Whichever way you choose, make sure that you are clear about why you are doing it and what the goals are. Frequently review the budget and make adjustments as needed. And don’t be afraid to pivot if something isn’t working—a family budget should be flexible so that it can work for everyone involved.
What do you use to teach your kids about budgeting?
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