Tuesday, September 11, 2012

BQOTD: Kids & Money

So in the comments of yesterday's post, Katie brought up a great point about kids and money--that teaching younger kids about money and budgeting can be tricky, and I think that sometimes, if not done the right way, it can really stress kids out more than make them understand the basics of budgeting and living within our means, which is hopefully the goal. And I thought her comment was right on--it's a fine line to walk!

And then, there was that anonymous comment, which was just really so absurd I don't even have words to address it or the energy to be upset about it. But once again, it got me thinking about kids and money...and I think there are probably a lot of different approaches that families take when it comes to talking and teaching their kids about money, and I'd like to talk some more about it.

I had one friend who, even in high school, was required to save a certain percentage of her paycheck, to give a certain percentage of her paycheck to charity, and then could only spend what was left. I had some friends who received allowances, and some friends who didn't. Some who were expected to pay for their car insurance and some who weren't. Some who basically paid for everything once they started working, and some whose jobs were really just for "fun money."

Anyway, my point is that there are LOTS of different approaches to teaching kids about money and budgeting...and I'm sure those approaches also vary based on the ages of the kiddos. I'm curious if you all have thought about what approach you'll take with your kids (real kids or hypothetical!). So, today's burning question of the day is:

How do you plan to teach your kids about money and budgeting from birth to 5th grade?


  1. Mine are still young. Currently, all coins left over from any of our cash spending goes into piggy banks to "save". Ansley loves putting her coins in. We have introduced any spending yet, but when we do, we will start doing the three jars for their money... Save, church, spend. At first, we will likely do equal amounts until the understand percentages. That's my thought for the future anyways :-)

  2. I think you both are doing pretty close to what we'll do with our kids, whether we have the funds to provide their full income or not. Both Tony and I were raised in lower-middle class homes and really take pride in knowing and understanding the value of a dollar and the hard work that goes along with getting that dollar. Not that there won't be "spoil" moments or "resist the temptation moments" beyond what our general guidelines are.

  3. Hm toughy.. I definitely want my kids to grow up understanding that things cost money and that we need to live within our means. I grew up with assigned chores and getting a weekly allowance that was mine for whatever. But especially by the time I was in middle school I was expected to buy any non-essential clothes, pay for movies, extra meals out or ice cream with friends.

    I think I would like to do the same for my kids.. once they are able, start them with small chores, some that they are expected to do to contribute to the family and then others they can choose to do to earn money for extras.

    I do want to be very up front about saving and budgeting, just the way you have described it, but not to make them worried. Enough so that they know about it, but are still comfortable that we will be providing for them all NEEDS and that NEEDS are different than WANTS. Hopefully that will encourage them and reinforce savings to build up for when they have a "want." :)

  4. We definitely plan to teach our kids about money early on. Both Jim and I have come from families who were savers and it has rubbed off on us. We plan on having our kids save a %, give a % and keep the rest whenever they get money for gifts. It's a good habit to get in to so why not start young? :)

    On the other hand, (and don't take this the wrong way), I will not burden our kids with the family budget. It just seems too much of an adult issue to press on kids all the time. Instead of saying something isn't in the budget, I think we will approach it differently. My mom was single mom who made pennies. I'm sure we lived below the poverty level but she never let on to it. Yeah, we didn't have everything but I never felt the burden of our financial distress. Instead of saying we couldn't afford things, my mom showed me how to make it happen. We saved and made sacrifices but I was never let on to the fact that things were dire. And now that I'm an adult who, I believe, makes smart financial decisions, I think she approached things right.

  5. Oh and P.S. Just read anon's comment. I mean....I just don't have words. "What exactly are you accomplishing by staying at home?" Clearly this person values money and status over everything else. This person does not need to be a parent and I pray she isn't.

  6. My parents had us save half of all extra money we received - birthday, holiday, allowance. We could use that money for big things - like I used some of mine for a trip, part of my first car and college things.
    A lot of times my parents would match 1/2 on something I wanted or an activity.

    There was a time that my mom and dad were laid off, the furnace and car broke. My parents stressed and fought over money so much that I started worrying and trying to help. I did things like skipping lunch and saving the lunch money for them. When they found out they quickly tried to fix it - but I hope to keep stress like that away from my kids.

  7. I agree, we will most likely do the "give %, save %, spend %" mentality with allowances too. Good food for thought, as I haven't really thought much about it, but now I will be!

    As I said in my last comment, my parents were strapped growing up but I never knew it until I was an adult. I mean, I knew I didn't have a new car and the nicest name-brand clothes, but it never bothered me. They taught me what was important, and that earthly monetary things did not matter. I hope I can teach my kids the same lesson.

  8. My honest answer is that I have absolutely no idea. Chad and I are very budget conscious and we are intentional about being frugal. But how that will translate to teaching our children...I'm just not sure.

    My mom grew up in poverty, literally without enough food to eat, and as a result, swung to the other extreme with my brother and I. We were very spoiled: I don't really ever remember wanting a toy that I didn't get, we both got cars when we turned 16, and my mom paid for our gas and insurance. We wore name brand clothes and the money we made from jobs was 100% fun money.

    Oddly enough, and I know this is definitely NOT the norm, both my brother and I are really money conscious now. We both went through a crazy spending phase in college, racking up some credit card debt, but it was short lived for both of us and I think once we realized we actually had to pay that stuff off, we changed our spending habits.

    Chad's parents are VERY well off and his older brothers were also very spoiled (and still are, frankly). Chad had the potential to be spoiled as well, but he just has this innate sense of wrong/right and is especially sensitive to others' needs, so he just flat out never asked for anything. To the extent that his parents offered to pay his way through college, and instead, he found a job that would pay his tuition.

    All that to say...I don't think either of us had a good example of how to approach money with kids and it's really not something we've talked about with Isaac yet. It IS a fine line to walk and I'm just not sure how I feel about any of it yet.

  9. I don't really know yet how we're gonna handle it, honestly. Em knows a few things about money. Basically this: 1) Some ipad apps cost "monies" and 2) we give "monies" to Jesus at church. HAHA.

    So yea. I'd say we've got it down pat over here. *eyeroll*

    I guess we'll figure it out ;)

  10. Also? I just read the anon comment. I'm appalled. :-/ I'm sorry you have to read that crap Meredith.

  11. I couldn't believe that comment when I saw it yesterday. Simply absurd.

    I honestly have no idea how we will approach money. Right now Ryann (and quite frankly Christopher and I) can pretty much have whatever she wants simply because if we don't buy it, Grammy or Papa asks to. I grew up pretty spoiled, although I never took it for granted. And I can't wait for the day that we can provide for our family the way we want to without the help of my parents. But so far my dad has always said to me, he wishes his future self could have lent his past self some money, and since he can't he'd rather help his children live a carefree life, so to speak. My parents paid for my car, paid for my college, and helped us buy our first house.

    Now my husband? He bought his first car, he paid all his insurance, he paid his way through college, and is paying off what he has left to of medical school. So we have definitely seen both ends of the spectrum in our family. How we will approach it with Ryann I have no idea. I want her to know about money and budgeting and such, but the truth is that for the most part, money won't be a big worry in our lives once Chris has a real job, so I don't know how to go about it.

    That was a rambling novel. Oy. I'll just move on now.

  12. We honestly don't seem to have any idea at this point. So far Isaac has an understanding that things cost money, adults have money, but that it's unlimited. :/

  13. I am do glad you asked this question and I love trading everyone else's takes. My mom always said she wishes she did things differently with us because we really weren't taught to save. I had a wonderful childhood but I wish I had learned savings. Ryan, on the other hand, learned to save early on and it still is natural to him. I really want to pass that on to Henry. When we've talked about it, I don't think we'll do the strict percentages of savings/spending/donating.

  14. I haven't put any real plan together for this, but I plan to be pretty open about our budget and how we live within our means. My parents were a great example to me of saving and not using credit cards unless you could pay off the balance every month. And mostly we'll focus on the importance of people and relationships and not things. We do have a savings and college account for Thomas (and soon Nell...just haven't gotten to it yet), and each kid has a piggy bank to save the occasional $5 they get as gifts from relatives, etc. But I figure it will evolve and probably just be open family discussion about how important it is to live within your means.

    Also, I think that we have the same anonymous commenter - just based on the tone and message. Hasn't been around my blog lately, but I know who it is..would be interesting to compare geographic blog traffic to see if it is the same, but that would require actually caring about someone who's just out to cause hurt where it's unnecessary.

  15. My parents were always very open and honest with us about money. I remember my mom telling me at K-Mart one day that I could get something under $10.00. I picked out something (who knows what) that was $9.99 and she said no, it was that trip to K-mart that I started learning about taxes :) I think it's important for kids to learn where money comes from and where it goes. My Great-Grandmother started sending us $1.00 a week with the terms that we would put 10c in savings, 10c for our church, and the rest was for us to spend :) We plan on doing something similar with our kids in hopes that it will instill in them the importance of saving, tithing etc.

    I also think that your anonymous commenter is out to make you feel bad/themselves feel better and not even really pay attention to what you wrote! I mean to say that" you can't afford basic snacks for your child" is just ignorant because if they read your post you said you were out of Goldfish and who in their right mind is going to run to the store for 1 thing because their 2 year old asks for it? Even if there had been room in the budget... not this mama! If I went to the store to get everything my 2yo asked for I would have a house full of yogurt, bacon, pretzels, cars and who knows what else!! I feel like my children are lucky that we have been able to make the changes necessary for me to stay at home with them and I wouldn't have it any other way. You are an awesome mommy :)

  16. When I was little as far back as I can remember, the only money "thing" I can remember is that my parents always gave me $1 each week to put in the offering basket at church. My next memory is when I was about 7 and my mom started giving me an allowance - $3/week. I had three jars - one savings, one tithes, and one taxes. I had to put 10% in tithes, 10% in taxes and 25% in savings and the rest was mine to keep. Now I look back and laugh that my mom made me pay "taxes" at 7 years old, but to this day, aside from the fact that taxes are taken out before I even see my check, the first thing I take out is my tithes, next bills, and third savings.


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