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5 Ways to Involve Kids in the Family Budget

Smart Money Mamas reminds us that teaching our children solid financial values, especially when we don’t feel like we always have them ourselves, is a major challenge for a lot of families. It can be difficult to know what information is age-appropriate, where to start, and how to answer the tough questions kids are so good at asking.

So, to make the process a little easier, here are 5 quick ways to involve your kids in the family budget. involve your kids in the family budget.

5 Ways to Involve Kids in the Family Budget
5 Ways to Involve Kids in the Family Budget. A father is sitting on a table that appears to be the kitchen table and he is typing information using his laptop, surrounded by his 3 children. His daughter has a calculator and is paying attention to it ,while his older son is hugging him from the back while his youngest son has his head laying on his arm and they are both looking at the screen of the laptop

5 Ways to Involve Kids in the Family Budget

 1– Use Cash

Credit cards, if you pay off your full balance every month, are an awesome, convenient tool. But to young kids, it seems like you have a magical card in your wallet that lets you buy whatever you want! Pick at least one regular expense (groceries, take out, toys) and determine to use cash for those expenses. Let your child see what $100 is, how much it buys, and how long it has to last. Make money real to them!

2 – Entertainment

At the beginning of the month, tell your kids how much money you have for entertainment expenses like the movies, mini golf, and new board games.  Brainstorm as a family which things you want to do, discussing price and value.If your daughter wants to go to the movies, tell her for the price of a night at the movies you could do two in-home movie nights with pizza and let her choose which she prefers. Fully understanding the idea of opportunity cost from a young age will help her make smarter financial decisions as an adult.

3 – Savings chart

Set a fun family goal, like that big trip to Disney, and keep a savings progress chart in your home. Each week or month, check in on your budget and let your kids color in more of the chart.  This comes back to making money tangible!  When you’re making discretionary spending decisions as a family, show young kids where abstaining from an expense & saving instead could put them.

Note: Considering the future is really hard for kids so do not make the savings chart about guilt or deprivation, but celebration and options. If you decide to give them the choice to go to the movies today or put $50 in the Disney savings, most kids are going to choose the movies (if they don’t dance that kid around the living room!).  But if you give them the choice between going to the movies OR renting a movie at home and putting $45 towards Disney, most kids will choose the option where they perceive they are getting two things.  Congratulate them when they make smart choices and always appreciate their effort and thoughtfulness.

4 – Clipping coupons

This is one my mom used to do with me and I still remember it so clearly. She would make her shopping list and flip through the paper and weekly grocery circular, checking off which coupons she needed. Then she would hand the papers off to me and I would cut them out for her. Any coupons we used at the grocery store, we split the savings! I always wanted to help mom find more coupons and remind her to use them.

Today, many families use apps like Ibotta to get cash back on groceries, but you can still put your child in charge of watching the ads and completing the little quizzes to redeem each offer. They can even be in charge of scanning the product barcodes and taking a photo of your receipt.

5 – Comparison shopping

Bring your young kids grocery shopping and give them a budget as you look for each item.  Let them search the shelf for the best options.  If you have $20 for fruit this week, show them how many apples that is versus how many blueberries and let them help you decide.  When shopping for bigger items, explain the difference in the prices and what that saved money could buy you in the future.

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