It's never too late (or too early) to talk about finances. When my boys were very young, I focused on teaching them the physical value of money. In a world of debit and credit cards, I wanted them to understand that money is a tangible thing. We talked about money and sorted it into jars. I wanted them to see what a dollar looked like -- 100 pennies, 20 nickels, 10 dimes, 4 quarters, and a loonie. I also took them to stores to show them what a dollar could buy.
I have also always taken my boys with me to the bank whenever I have had a deposit to make. I wanted my kids to understand that I work for money, I put the money in the bank, and then I take that same money out of the bank with my debit or credit card. I stressed that money is a tangible item that we earn and spend. Debit and credit cards are not magical items that allow us to buy whatever we want.
As my boys got older, I focused on teaching them about wants vs. needs, and the importance of living frugally and saving for what they want. We have an open dialogue about what things cost and how our family spends money. My boys know that we sell items we no longer need and purchase second hand items often, we buy things on sale, and we save for what we want. They also know that eating out is a special treat and that we pack lunches and snacks when we can.
Recently, my boys wanted to purchase a TV for our basement, and I told them that they would need to save for it. We sold some of their old toys, and collected the money in a jar until they had enough. Visually seeing the money collecting in the jar was a fantastic way to teach them about saving for something they wanted.
A wonderful way to open a dialogue about money with your kids is to use books in addition to real life situations. TD Canada has a fun and educational activity book that my 9 year old loved. It is full of wonderful information and games that your kids will enjoy. You can get the digital activity book for free here. You can also learn more about getting financially fit from TD here.
As my kids grow into adulthood, my husband and I will continue to educate our children by giving them an allowance, showing them how to open a bank account, and teaching them the importance of budgeting and living within their means.
Your child's first financial teacher is you. When you teach them is just as important as what you teach them. Start young by fitting lessons into your everyday life. Your kids will learn valuable lessons without even knowing it.
How do you teach your kids financial literacy? I'd love to hear your tips and tricks. Please take a second to leave them in the comments below.
Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)
Disclosure: This post is part of the YummyMummyClub.ca and TD #FinanciallyFit sponsored program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.