Cent Sense – It’s a Family Affair

| February 21, 2013 | 3 Comments

Cent Sense – It’s a Family Affair

My husband and I agreed from the get go that we would do our best to teach our children about money, the value of a dollar, and the age old adage: money doesn’t grow on trees.  Alarms went off for us as parents when an antique bowl that had belonged to my mother broke our eldest daughter, who was three at the time declared “Don’t worry we can just buy another one.”.  I remember thinking, “whoa where did that come from?!”  It was a wake up call for us.  It is never too early to start teaching our kids about respecting and taking care of possessions and the nature and necessity of  money.

And so here is a list of few thoughts/strategies we have employed to help them learn some cent sense.

1.)  Money does not grow on trees

When asked, “Why do you have to work?” this is our answer: Food, clothes, water, our house does not pay for itself.  We work hard to pay for all those essentials.  We save to pay for the extras.

Cent Sense - It's a Family Affair
Pink piggy bank

2.)  Piggybanks

Our children all have their own piggybank. There are in fact no piggies, but there is an elephant, a teddy and a pirate ship bank.  It is a great way to help them learn to count and save at home.  When the save enough coins we roll them and take them to the bank.  Cue teller conversation here…

 3.)  Bank accounts

We opened accounts for our children in the first year of their life. When they receive cash for birthdays, holidays, or have saved enough in their piggybanks we take the kids to the bank to make their own deposits.  We encourage our children to think about what they might like to do with their savings and encourage dialogue with the bank teller.  “This is my birthday money and I am saving to go on a trip to Disney.”  Our experience has been great with tellers encouraging our kids to continue saving.  It is a great way to reinforce the importance of saving.

4.)  Change purse/wallet

In addition to a piggy bank we provided the kids with their own means of carrying their pocket money. When we go on an adventure if they would like to buy an unplanned treat like a sweet snack or a small toy they are allowed as long as they use their pocket money.  It is note worthy how often they will pass on a purchase when they realize that they have to use their own funds.  When they do opt to make a purchase it is even more special to them because they had to part with their own hard cold cash.

Cent Sense - It's a Family Affair
Blue purse/pouch

5.)  Money is not discussed in polite company – Simple. 

No real explanation required.  We are a family that subscribes to the notion that religion and politics should never be discussed at a dinner party AND no you should not ask “How much did that cost!? How much do you make? How much have you got?” Money is a private matter to be discussed with a handful of people.  As far as our children go for now that list is short: Mom and Dad.

6.)  Generosity/Sharing/Charity

We have tried hard to instil a sense of charity in our children. We fundraise for a variety of charities giving our time and money.  We do not want our children to take things for granted or to grow up without a lens that not all things are distributed equally.

So there you have it, our two cents (or I guess now our two nickels)…  a few strategies we are using to help teach our kids about money.  We don’t think our list is exhausted or perfect, but hope it helps steer them in the right direction.

Ever enthused,

Shauna Rae

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Category: Finance, Living

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Comments (3)

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  1. Life of K says:

    The change purse/wallet is a great idea. How old were your kids when you started that with them?

  2. Shauna Rae says:

    Like of K – Thanks! While my daughter has had purses since before she could walk. The wallet concept was introduced for both my son and daughter when they were three. The wallets have a designated spot where they are kept so when we are heading out the door they always know where to find them with out a big fuss. Just like ‘Mom’s’ purse and car keys.

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