Back in 2015 I wrote a post on Chore Charts for my kids. We’ve been sticking to this system (for the most part) for the past 2 years, but we have come to a new phase and feel the need to revamp the way we are teaching our kids about money.
Our moto for 2017 is “LESS is MORE”. Less stuff, less obligations, less running around, less arguing, less indulgence in unhealthy habits…..less. It’s time to slow down, think more, and spend our time and money wisely (after all, we started Homesteading to simplify life and get back to the basics). So how do we teach this concept to our kids in a world of consumerism and go go go go!?
Our first step is to tackle the way our children think about their money. In years past, if the kids received some money (birthday, Christmas, chores, etc.) they needed to record the money in their binders. They could use the money on whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. What we noticed was that every time we were out, the kids would see something they wanted and would say “I have $5 at home, can you buy this and I will pay you back when we get home?” Or, they would begin asking to browse Amazon just to find something to spend their money on. Our oldest began carrying his money around everywhere we went just in case he saw something he wanted to buy. The kids were constantly looking for ways to spend, indulge and consume. The thrill of buying something was greater than the thrill of using the new item.
This had gotten out of hand. My kids (now 7, 8 & 10) were throwing toddler sized tantrums in the store when we told them “no”. They felt so wronged by not allowing them to spend THEIR money the way they wanted to. This had to stop. We developed 3 new guidelines to help our kids (and ourselves) spend more wisely.
Rule #1: The saved amount will go into their long term bank account. This amount will be recorded in the Money Tracking Binder so the kids can see how saving can really add up. The saved money will not be used until they are older…think car, college, computers, etc.
Rule #2: When the kids see something they want, they write it on a Post-It note, put the date on it and stick it on the Refrigerator. After 2 weeks, if they still want to buy that item, they can. Our hope is that some items (like another deck of Pokemon cards) will lose their intrigue and the Post-It will be tossed in the trash (along with the urge to spend).
Rule #3: We hope that when the kids start to really think about why they want to buy something. They just might realize it’s not the best way to spend their money. Maybe, just maybe they will start to see the savings add up and want to add more to their savings than just 25% (a mom can hope, right?)
The point is, these are 3 tangible ways to get kids to think about money and spending. If you are interested, here are the forms we use in the Money Tracker Binders:
blank-money-tracker-form (Excel File)
blank-money-tracker-form (PDF File)
Have any suggestions on how to teach kids healthy spending habits? Comment below.
Thanks and Happy 2017,