How to Teach Your Kids to Save Money and Spend Wisely

Financial literacy is the cornerstone of a stable and prosperous life, and so parents have the duty to ensure that their children understand the value of money and know how to manage it responsibly. This not only equips them well for their future but also ensures a generation of individuals who are savvy with their finances.

Start Early

Introducing the concept of money to children at a young age forms the foundation for financial literacy. This is the stage to make financial concepts tangible, focusing on things like distinguishing different coins and notes and understanding their values. Using everyday examples, like shopping for groceries or using a coupon, can show them how people use money. Incorporating financial lessons during playtime, such as setting up a toy shop or bank, can make the learning process fun. Emphasize the concept of earning money, perhaps by assigning simple tasks that children can complete to earn money.

All About Allowances

Providing an allowance gives a child hands-on experience with managing money. Beyond the thrill of having their own (money), it instills a sense of responsibility. With an allowance, children encounter choices: to spend, to save, or to donate. It becomes a hands-on lesson on budgeting, spending judiciously, and saving for more significant purchases. Open discussions about the consequences of each decision, the importance of setting aside money for emergencies, and the benefits of using a coupon when they can to stretch their allowance further.

Credit 101

In today's digital age, understanding the intricacies of credit is more important than ever. Increasing numbers of purchases are made with credit, not cash, so it's crucial to understand how to use credit responsibly. Introduce children to the idea that credit isn't "free money," even though that might be how it looks when purchases are made: It's borrowed money that must be repaid, often with interest. The discipline required to maintain a good credit score, the impact of that score on future financial decisions like buying a car or home, and the nuances of interest rates should also be taught to children when they're old enough to understand these concepts. Stress the importance of starting a credit account early, not for reckless spending but to build a solid credit history.

Budgeting and Spending

The essence of budgeting is conscious spending. Teach your child to differentiate between needs and wants and prioritize the former. Introduce them to the practice of listing their monthly expenses and income and allocating funds appropriately. Over time, they should learn how to spot and cut out unnecessary spending and the value of doing research or using a coupon to get a better deal.

Financial Literacy Vocabulary

With the right vocabulary, children can become empowered. Equip your child with essential financial terms to help them learn about financial literacy and speak about financial concepts confidently.

Allowance: A predetermined amount of money to kids to teach financial responsibility

Budget: A detailed plan that outlines expected income and expenses over a specific period

Credit: The ability to obtain goods or services with the promise to pay for them at a later date

Credit Score: A number representing your perceived ability to repay a debt, based on your history with using credit and current financial situation

Debt: An amount of money owed to another party

Expense: The cost required for something or money spent on something

Income: Money received, especially on a regular basis, for work or from investments

Insurance: A contract providing compensation for a financial loss in return for payment of a premium

Interest: The charge for borrowing money, typically expressed as an annual percentage of the loan amount

Investment: An asset acquired or money committed with the purpose to earn income in the future

Loan: Money that is borrowed and expected to be paid back with interest

Mortgage: A specific type of loan used to purchase real estate

Needs vs. Wants: Needs are things that are necessary to spend money on if you want to live, like food and somewhere to live. Wants aren't necessary; they're just nice things to have, like video games or designer clothing.

Savings: Funds set aside for future use, often in a bank or other financial institution

Taxes: A mandatory payment or charge collected by the government to cover the costs of government services, goods, and activities

Games, Lesson Plans, and Additional Resources

Learning about finances doesn't have to be dull. Today's world offers myriad resources designed to teach children about money in an engaging, interactive manner. Board games and digital games simulate real-world financial scenarios, apps provide virtual environments to practice budgeting and saving, and lesson plans offer structured learning experiences. Using these resources, financial concepts become less intimidating and more approachable, setting the foundation for a future of informed financial decisions.

about the author

Andrew Chen
Sr. Manager, Content Operations
Andrew has been couponing and hunting for deals since the early 2000s when people on forums and bulletin boards shared hot tips. As the Sr. Manager of Content Operations at CouponFollow, Andrew aims to make saving money more effortless than ever for everyone by ensuring the best offers are always available for today’s most popular stores.