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Want to raise smart spenders and financially literate kids? Here’s how.

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Parenting is debatably one of the most difficult tasks an individual can undertake. Amongst the many life lessons a parent hopes to teach their child, money management is perhaps one of the most important. 

While starting your children off with a piggy bank at a young age is a great place to begin, there are a few other tips to keep in mind that go beyond a simple savings jar. Consider these steps below as you begin teaching your children how to be smart with their money.

1. Keep it simple.

Though it might be tempting to immediately begin with a savings and earnings lecture, when it comes to explaining money to kids, it’s always best to keep things simple. Going overboard with your financial teachings might turn them off from making the right choices altogether, so be sure you aren’t overwhelming them with numbers and figures. Use everyday experiences as lessons. Whether you make them in charge of the coupons the next time you grocery shop, or you spend some time tallying up extra change around the house with your younger kids, make the little things count, no pun intended. 

If you find that keeping a piggy bank with your children isn’t working well, try purchasing a completely transparent savings bin instead. Having a clear jar for extra change is a simple and exciting way for your kids to see just how quickly their coins can add up!

2. Let them fail.

As hard as it is for a parent to watch their child struggle, when it comes to money, it’s important to let your kids fail once or twice. If your little one wants to impulsively spend their savings on something you know they won’t play with for long, let them. If your teenager frequently finds themselves without gas money, hold off for a month before immediately handing them over a twenty.

While it’s important to let your children know you’ll always be there for them, it’s equally important to let them learn from their mistakes. Kids will continue to make poor financial choices if they know they can rely on their parents to bail them out. Find a happy medium between grabbing your wallet and letting them learn; this will teach both financial literacy and independence. 

3. Shop wisely.

As a parent, you might already consider yourself to be as seasoned shopper, but shopping wisely in front of your kids is not something to take lightly. From avoiding impulse purchases to explaining why you purchase one brand over another, your actions will have an impact in the long run. 

Teach your kids to check the sale racks, and even to shop secondhand. Buy gently used items at a local thrift store, or even from online used retailers like thredUP. Share in your high schooler’s excitement when they find great summer looks by Lularoe for less by simply knowing the right place to look. 

When going on your annual summertime shopping spree, allow your kids to pick out their own looks by setting a budget for them to keep. Go over each choice with them carefully, and point out areas where they can save and get more items should they sacrifice something they don’t truly need. 

Teaching good shopping skills will help your children stay smart with their money in the years to come.

4. Encourage them to work.

Whether your children are in elementary school, high school, or even home from college for the summer, encouraging a good work ethic is the perfect way to teach kids about saving and spending. Allowing your kids to earn their spending money will help them to better understand how hard you work for your money as a parent, and hopefully make them more likely to save their cash as well. 

If your children are of a younger age, let them earn their allowance through household chores, or help them come up with a small side hustle, such as a lemonade stand. As your kids age, encourage them to get their first real job, and be there to set up their first savings account for the cash they accrue. Placing a strong emphasis on work ethic will make your children more fond of saving, and more appreciative of the things they have. 

This is article is a guest post for mater mea.

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