Our children have been living in a world where they have easy access to whatever they want. They see us bring home a basket full of groceries with the swipe of a small, plastic card. It seems so easy; no effort required, just swipe that little plastic card through the machine and they let you take it all home.
With the current economic downturn, it is hard for children to understand why all of a sudden you can’t just swipe the magic card and get whatever you want. How do we help our children understand that groceries, toys, theme parks, fast food restaurants, etc all cost real money?
We do a few things in our home that have helped our children (at least the older ones) to understand the value of money.
Allowing children to earn money doing extra chores:
I feel that every day chores around the home are the responsibility of everyone in the home. I do not pay an allowance for doing their daily chores. These are their everyday responsibilities that come with being a member of our family. I do, however, occasionally offer payment for additional jobs that need to be done around the home. One of my favorites is matching socks. With seven family members, we have lots of socks to match and I get tired of it really fast! I offer $.05 a pair. They can match as many or as few as they want… they chose how much they want to earn. They then can have that money to spend, however they would like.
Let your children help you with the grocery shopping:
I have lately turned to using coupons to help extend the family grocery budget. I often times take my older children with me to the grocery store and allow them to help me with my couponing. They hold the coupons and see how much we save. We look at the prices of the food, and see how much they cost. Since they occasionally have their own money from odd jobs around the home, they are able to begin to understand the value of the items we are buying and how much we save by watching what we buy.
Save towards a common goal:
In the corner of our family room sits a large, red bank in the shape of a crayon. Inside sits the change I find while sorting the laundry; coins the children find around the house; quarters brought home from grandma’s house.
In a town nearby there is a large amusement park. All of the children in the neighborhood frequently talk of their adventures at this amusement park. My children listen to their tales with eager interest. They so want the chance to enjoy similar adventures. The crayon sitting in the corner of our family room is the answer to their desires. The money that we save in the crayon is slowly growing and soon we will have enough for a family day at Lagoon. Sure, we could probably figure out a way to afford a trip before the bank is full, but as with most things in life, one more fully enjoys something that is worked for; earned.
I would love to hear what your family does to teach your children the value of saving. Please leave a comment and share.
Posted by Christine of Random Thoughts With Chris