This post is sponsored by Discontrue. (Lots of great money management tips over there. Check 'em out!)
One of the key points of homeschooling is that you, the parent, can choose exactly what to teach your children. This is not just a privilege, but also a great responsibility. Ironically, it may be easier to incorporate everything that is valuable into the curriculum if you've chosen to become a teacher at home. Most parents make a grave mistake to delegate the whole concept of education to the school system and one thing that you can be sure you will never learn at school is how to properly handle money.
It’s a sad fact that so many kids are never taught how to manage their money wisely. They spend everything they have the minute they make it and the idea of savings is an alien concept. You may think that you have all the time in the world to teach your kids how to be money smart, but the fact is that the younger they are when they start – the more your kids will learn and the better it will be for them in the long run. It doesn't have to be a chore – you can make the learning experience as fun as possible by using these tricks.
It’s Not a Dirty Secret
Many parents think that discussing money with their kids is inappropriate, but the fact is that there are some things that they just need to know. They need to understand where money comes from, that everything has a price, and that sometimes you have to go without something because you have bills to pay. If you are busy planning your shopping and your kids ask what you are doing, don’t tell them "It’s grown up stuff...go play."
Show them what you are doing. Tell them that you have to buy everything on this list so you’re using the internet and the paper to find coupons. Explain that if you don't have enough money, you will have to leave something off the list. Show them how it works by asking them to choose one thing on the list, then helping them to find a coupon code for it on Discountrue or in the paper.
Delay the Gratification
Don’t give into those I want it right this instant tantrums. It is in a child’s nature to want instant gratification but you have to teach them to wait or they will never learn how to save or spend wisely. Even when it has nothing to do with money. If you’re busy doing something, like cleaning the house, and your daughter wants you to make her something to eat right now, don’t stop what you’re doing right away. Explain that you’re going to finish what you are busy with so she will need to wait a couple of minutes.
If your son is in the store and he sees a toy or gadget that he wants, tell him that he can either save for it themselves or they can save up and buy it themselves. Don’t just leave it there though, help him plan how he is going to save for that item. Explain that he gets an allowance of so much, and if he saves this much every week or month then he’ll be able to buy that item in so much time.
Monkey See, Monkey Do
If you want your kids to be money smart then you need to be money smart as well. Trying to get your kids to understand the importance of saving for something while you buy everything your heart desires and then suffer the consequences later is never going to work. Children develop a lot of their habits from their parents. If you want your child to learn how to save their money then you need to do it as well and you need to let them know that you are doing it. For example, plan a family vacation and then keep a chart that shows how much you have saved towards it so far and how far you still have to go.
If your children are young, keep things simple. Don’t lecture them about being responsible with their money – use a story instead. There are plenty of story books out there that will help you with raising your kids to be money smart and that explain the concepts discussed in this article in a way that they can understand. Your kids will thank you one day so don’t give in – no matter how guilty you feel!