You can teach your children the benefits of sound money management. A few simple Love and Logic techniques can create kids who are more likely to use their money wisely and to save for the future. This is a special gift for your children that they may not totally appreciate now, but will be most thankful for as they grow into adulthood.
Start with your own beliefs
Some parental beliefs can create stumbling blocks for many parents even when they have strong desire to raise responsible kids. Don't let these get in the way of teaching responsible behavior.
The first of these beliefs is, "If my kid is unhappy, I must be doing something wrong." Parents who believe this are willing to set up their kids for a lifetime of unhappiness. They do this by giving in to their children's complaining, arguing or unhappiness. The truth is that people who learn responsibility and character trace it back to facing and surviving disappointment, inconvenience, and discomfort. The blunt truth is that responsible people lead much happier and less frustrating lives than irresponsible people.
The second of these beliefs is, "I don't want my kid to struggle like I did. I want him to have a better life." These parents have some kind of early warning system that identifies any potential struggle for their children. These struggles are considered the enemy of childhood self-esteem and are blasted away much like a Patriot missile intercepting any enemy missile. Kids who grow up with these parents fail to develop the emotional resources necessary to face the rigors of adult life.
Allowance is practice money
Develop an invoice based upon your family's resources and your family values. Determine a reasonable amount of allowance based upon family resources and agreements about how the money will be used. Caution! It is not good for kids to have all they want. It is best that they have to want for things they can't afford. For those items, some kind of "matching funds" program can be used to help children learn to work for and appreciate what they get. This teaches the value of struggle.
Allowance comes each week on the same day with a pay slip or invoice. This example can be modified to fit the values of the home. Some parents include church contributions, taxes, etc.
Kids can earn extra money for doing their parent's chores. Keep a list of options on the refrigerator: "JOBS THAT ARE OPEN FOR BID." Caution your kids that the neighbor kids could possibly outbid them for the jobs. We live in a free market economy.
Develop a matching funds program for times when kids ask for big-ticket items or those things that are not high on their parents' preference list.
When your child say's, "I really need those $200 sneakers," it is then possible to say, "That would be great. I can donate $35. When you get the rest, you'll be the proud owner."
Kids who have to save, budget, and struggle take better care of their money and their possessions. It's the Love and Logic way.