As a homeschool parent, you are trying to teach your kids all they need to know to be prepared for life. In today’s consumer-oriented culture, a big part of being prepared is knowing how to manage and steward money. Can you teach your kids how to manage money before they step out into the real world?
Of course you can! In fact, money management fits well into a homeschool curriculum. Ever try to figure out how much interest is going to add up on a loan? It’s an exercise in basic math skills. Want to teach your kids how to count by fives or tens? Do it with nickels or dimes. Don’t see finances as something that doesn’t fit into your homeschool day…it does!
Nobody wants to end up unnecessarily deep in debt, and no one wants it for their kids either. Why not help your kids avoid that by teaching them how to take care of their finances from a young age?
Need ideas of what that might look like? Here are a few to get you started.
1. Encourage them to work for their spending cash
Even if we would love to believe otherwise, money does not grow on trees. For most, it’s the result of a lot of hard work and effort. If your kids get a chance to grasp this now, it will help them succeed in the future.
How do you teach it? Put your kids to work! For elementary to middle school students, encourage them to do extra tasks around the house for some spending cash. For teenagers, help them get jobs. It can be something like babysitting, mowing the neighbor’s lawn, working at a grocery store or a restaurant. The important thing is that they are learning money that comes from hard work; it is earned, not given. That lesson will serve them well in the future.
2. Implement budgeting
Part of learning to spend your money wisely is understanding budgeting, for example, determining how much money you are going to spend — or need to spend — on things like food or clothes, rent, or loans. Your kids can grasp the basics of budgeting from a young age. Try the “three jars method,” where they take what they earn and separate it into three different jars, one for saving, one for spending, and one for giving away. Introduce them to the basics of budgeting and they’ll be able to take those practices into the real world.
3. Model good spending habits
As with most things, your children are learning from your example. They’re watching and making notes of how you spend money. Do you make good purchases? Avoid buying things you don’t need? Pay off your credit card bills and watch your spending? Be open with how you manage your money and it will help your kids to understand what good money management is. You need to model the spending habits you want your kids to practice.
4. Teach them to save
Open a bank account for your kids and let them start putting money in it. Not only will it help them save up money for when they graduate and have to go out into the world, but it also helps them master good financial practices. It never works to spend everything that you earn; you need to save up for the future! Impart that practice upon your kids in the very beginning and it will help them succeed for the future.
Remember those jars you can use to teach budgeting? You can use the same principle to help your kids learn how to save! Have them put away a part of everything they earn either in a bank account or a piggy bank to keep it on hand for those rainy days.
5. Teach them about credit cards
In our world today, credit card debt is becoming more and more “normal.” Make sure your kids understand what a credit card means and how to avoid going into debt when using them.
Teach them that credit cards don’t mean free money, even if it may seem like it, but that you go in and pay off your bill out of your bank account every month. You can even encourage them to keep track of credit card payments by marking them down, along with income and other expenses, in a checkbook/check register. Inform them about the truth of credit cards, and don’t let them fall for the illusion they may seem to be.
Money is an essential commodity in our world today. It’s something we handle day in and day out. Your kids are going to need a basic understanding of how it works. You as the parent can teach that to them. You might even learn new things yourself!
Do you teach your kids money management? We’d love to hear how you do it in the comments below!