My son’s wallet stays in two places. On his nightstand or in my purse. Whenever he gets any money he puts it straight in his wallet. Very seldom does he take it when we go out. He has no reason to need any money. But when he does, it goes straight in my purse. Safe and sound.
We recently went to Dollar Tree and I let him bring his wallet. Before we went inside the store, I checked his wallet and let him count how much money he had to spend. He had $7. We were both shocked! I didn’t know he had stashed away that much. For a kid that doesn’t get a regular allowance, I was impressed. He had some good money habits to hold on to a few dollars. He said to me “Mommy, when you’re a kid and you have money you’re rich!”. I immediately told him just having money doesn’t make you rich and tried to explain the concept. But, he’s 6 years old. No matter what I said, he’s rich.
The more I thought about it he was right. He has no bills. All of his needs are met. He gets some of his wants. And, he still has money to spare. My kid is the definition of rich. And now, I’m jealous. Then it dawned on me that this is the time I need to start having money conversations with him and teaching him how to manage it. Here are seven good money habits for kids. Some of the lessons I realized he already had inside of him and some we will work on.
Share, be generous and charitable
I have to admit, as much as my boys fuss and argue, they are each other’s best friend. And it makes my heart smile. When Shaun realized how much money he had he immediately knew he wanted to share some with his brother. Because, let’s be honest, his little brother was dead broke! But his money was their money. Both he and his brother picked out 1 toy and 1 snack. Without one complaint. It was his pleasure to share.
Don’t be so quick to spend it
This lesson is a little forced. Most times Shaun asks to bring his wallet I don’t let him. Again, all of his needs and some wants are already met. There is no real need for him to buy anything. And, he needs to understand that just because you have money doesn’t mean you need to spend it. It’s ok to leave the house and go somewhere for the experience and come back with the memories. And nothing else.
Keep it in a safe place
As soon as he gets any money, it goes straight in his wallet. One time he got money from the tooth fairy and didn’t even say anything. Later that night I asked if the tooth fairy came. He said “Yes, I woke up and put it in my wallet!”.
This one we need to work on. Currently he saves to buy something bigger. (Mainly because I force him to leave his wallet at home) But, I want to start teaching him to save for the long term. I’ve got an idea on how we’ll do this. Stay tuned!
Don’t hoard it, enjoy it
Yes, saving is important. But enjoying life and living in the moment is just as important. There’s nothing wrong with balancing saving and spending. I want my boys to work hard and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Work hard, nothing comes easy
Like I said, I want them to understand that the reward comes after hard work is done. I recently attempted implementing a chore chart. If all items were checked off at the end of the week an allowance would be given. All chores weren’t done. No allowance was given. Lesson learned. Now, the mom fail was that I didn’t put up a new chart for the following week. And, since he didn’t know the benefit of getting the reward, he didn’t remind me either. But, it’s okay. We’ll just try it again.
Be frugal, find ways to save
I’m always looking for a way to save. I love a good deal. My boys witness me checking for deals on the target app, looking for restaurant coupons. They definitely see this practice played out in front of them. And I saw it play out that day at Dollar Tree. My son keeps all of his gift cards in his wallet. And always wants to go to a store he as a gift card for. He had an old Dollar Tree gift card and remembered that he had some change left on it. I told him he didn’t have to use it that day if he didn’t want to sense he had enough money to cover what he wanted to buy. We get to the register and my son politely hands the cashier his gift card to take .35 cents off his total. That difference allowed him to not have to break another dollar bill. And it made me one proud momma. He knew all he had was change on that card but it was still money. So he used it. And, went home with $1 more than what he would have without it.
I hope these good money habits for your kids are helpful. What strategies do you use to ensure your kids have good money habits?