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As we set out to create a healthy financial lifestyle for our families, it’s important to include everyone in the financial conversations–including our children. Money values are internal and external factors that determine how consumers feel about and spend their money. According to some researchers, money values and habits begin developing as early as the age of seven. Just like most of what we learn during our childhood, these values and habits can continue into adulthood. So, how can we help our children become comfortable with money and financially independent? Here are four ways to introduce money to your children:  

Include Money in Conversations

The first and easiest way to introduce money to children is to start including the topic into conversations. Most children learn from the observation of their parents–they see and hear everything that we do. A great way to spark conversation is while grocery shopping. As you put items into the cart, explain the price of the item and why sometimes it’s cheaper to go with the generic brand. Let the kids know that there is a budgeted amount for grocery shopping and by price comparison you’re able to stay within that set budget.

This is also a great way to introduce the idea of needs versus wants. By saying something along the lines of, “Although we really love ice cream, we’re really here today to get these certain items that we need. If we always buy the ice cream, we would not be able to buy all the items we really need.” 

Practicing Buying Items 

Giving your child the opportunity to interact with the store clerk during check out can help boost confidence and give a sense of independence with money. Have them ask the store clerk for the total and allow them to hand over the money. You can also practice this at home by role playing a shopping experience with your kids. Who still remembers playing with a toy cashier drawer from their childhood? See—it’s impactful! 

Money Jars / Savings Accounts

Utilizing money jars is a great way to introduce money to children at a young age. Take three different jars and label them: save jar, spend jar, and give jar. This is a great way to also help kids understand that money is not endless. By saving and determining where the money is going, it helps avoid instant gratification. 

As the kids get older, you can then take the jars and introduce the idea of a savings account to them. At ORNL FCU, you can even create categories for the account to help keep the saving mentality going. Whether it's still the save, spend, and give or as kids become older it turns into spend, car, give. 
Create job opportunities

A great way to create financial independence is by creating some at-home job opportunities for kids to earn their money. This allows them to have the opportunity to purchase items with their own money. As we all know, purchasing items with our own money can be very impactful and affect the way we continue to spend. 

At ORNL Federal Credit Union, we want you to learn and thrive! If you have any questions in regards to financial education or our products and services, please contact us. We would be happy to help! 

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