Two of the most important life skills we can teach our kids as parents is how to manage money and how to work. My husband and I enjoy listening to Dave Ramsey and I am amazed at how many of the people who call in that were never taught basic budget and finance skills. Today’s post is all about giving you ideas to help teach your children about money and work.
One book I highly recommend reading is Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money by Rachel Cruz and Dave Ramsey. They have some great tips in the book. My favorite takeaway was not giving your kids an allowance but rather a commission. This way your kids learn that the more work they do the more money they earn. I also found the high school budget helpful and what types of savings goals a teen should have. The book also discusses college and wedding budgets.
Teaching Kids to Work
I have experimented with different chores charts over the years. When my kids were young, a magnetic chore chart like this worked well with pictures showing which chores they should do. I no longer have the magnets, but I still have my digital copy which you can download below. I laminated the entire sheet and then cut each chore picture out and hot glued onto magnets. The sheet has a chore for bath, picking up toys/cleaning room, reading/homework, mom’s choice, dishwasher, and setting table.
I may start that method again with my three year old. I think having some kind of motivational motto on the chart is good as well, such as if your last name is Smith, “Smiths are hard workers.”
For my elementary aged kids, I used a chart like this, which you can download below the picture.
I pay them 25 cents per item. I don’t put cleaning room on there, as that is something that is just expected and I don’t pay for (but that is my preference, you definitely could!). I also pay them for other items like doing their reading, practicing the piano, reading their scriptures, etc. because I have them pay for everything they want with their own money. I only buy them things for their birthday, Christmas, and they get small things for holidays like Valentine’s Day and Easter and school items. I only have one chore listed on the chart per day (they have a daily chore they must do) but if they want to earn money they can ask to do more and I gladly accept and pay for their help. They know they more work they do around the house, the more they earn!
Check out this video clip talking about turning a chore into a contribution.
Teaching Kids to Budget
I make my kids save 20 percent of everything they earn. I have a checkbook ledger for each of my two older kids and each Sunday when I tally up how much they earned, I automatically put 20 percent into their savings account. They don’t like having to save, but I remind them they will be glad when they get to high school and college and have money in their bank account! You could also use this free printable chart I made to track their savings, tithing, and spending.
You could also just use a check book register that comes free with your box of checks. This is messy, but it works for me.
Also, check out the books below to talk to kids about budgeting.
Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday – It is important to have a goal of what you are saving for and not just spend money spontaneously.
Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money by Rachel Cruz and Dave Ramsey – great ideas for how to create a budget with your kids.
Dave Ramsey also has a Financial Peace Jr. Kit to help teach kids how to be responsible with money. I haven’t used the kit, but it has good reviews and it follows the principles from their book.
For younger kids who don’t understand the concept of a savings account, letting them see how the money visually goes into three different areas is helpful. There are lots of savings jars you can buy online or you could simply get some glass jars and label them for savings, spending, and giving. I’ve posted some good options to purchase below.
Check out this video clip with Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruz for some more advice on this topic (skip to minute 13).
Teaching Kids to Give
It is important to save but it is also important to be generous with what we have been blessed with. We have our kids give 10 percent of their earnings. I also automatically put that 10 percent down in the ledger when I add up their earnings for the week. We pay a full-tithe to our church and they are learning at a young age the importance of doing that.
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10).
Even if you don’t pay tithing, setting aside 10 percent to give to a charity is an important way to teach kids about giving. I am sure they would love picking a charity of their choice to give to. I am partial to St. Jude’s and Water for South Sudan. Also check out the great book below about giving.
Those Shoes by Marieth Boelts
Great video clip on raising unentitled kids
Basic Money Skills
Teaching your kids the basics of what money is, how it works, and how much it is worth is also an essential skill for kids. One book I really like for this is Follow the Money by Loreen Leedy.
I hope these ideas gave you some ideas and inspiration on what may work with your family.