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    Parents Are Sharing How They Teach Kids About Money And I Honestly Learned From Them Too

    From learning how to shop to opening an account with the Bank of Dad, these parents are getting money right.

    When it comes to money, there's always more to learn. But especially when we're kids, the lessons we get about money can really stick with us as we go through life.

    ABC / Via giphy.com

    And if you're anything like me, you probably wish you'd learned a lot more a lot sooner. Ugh.

    So I asked parents in the BuzzFeed Community to share what they're doing to help their kiddos get a jump on understanding and managing money. Here's what they had to say:

    Every kid and every family is different, so what's worked for one parent might not work for you. It's a good idea to think about your own situation and your child's needs and maturity as you make plans to teach them about money.

    1. Automatically putting part of your kid's allowance into savings can help them get a head start on building a saving habit.

    Little girl putting money in a piggy bank
    Simon2579 / Getty Images

    "We started paying our 6-year-old to “babysit” her baby brother in the next room when I have to help our 3-year-old with virtual speech therapy and my husband can’t stop work. (Doors open so I could hear if the baby cried and she could call for me if there was a problem.)

    "We’ve started putting 10% of her earnings into a bag for 'savings' and 10% into a bag for 'donation' and the rest goes into her coin bank. I haven’t decided what we’ll keep the savings bag for. I imagine opening up a bank account for her when she’s a teenager and she can save for a car or something. I want to set up the expectation that 1) you set aside savings FIRST and 2) it takes hours of work to be able to buy things you want. She was already able to make a purchase and she was so proud of herself."

    karenstanton

    2. And it's never too early to talk to your kids about planning for retirement.

    "Invest in a Roth IRA and 401(k), and max them out every year if you can. We teach our kids to plan and prepare for their future so they don’t have to keep working (unless they enjoy it and want to) until old age or until they die. We explain how compounding interest works and show them how a little money they save every year will build up throughout the years.

    Also, we stress how important it is to stay out of debt. Sure, they can use a credit card but need to pay the balance off in full every month and never let it carry over into the next. But if they want a car, they need to save up for it. We teach them how to be smart with their money and use their money to MAKE money."

    memmermaid

    3. Lunch money can be an awesome tool for teaching kids how to budget.

    Paramount Pictures / Via giphy.com

    "Next year, my son will be able to leave school to buy lunch. I’ve told him what our weekly budget for his lunches is and I will put him in charge of the money. He can tell me what to get from the grocery store or he can buy from the cafeteria or the pizza place nearby, but whatever money from his weekly budget he doesn’t spend, he can keep.

    My goal is to get him thinking about budgeting early and understanding that you can make trade-offs. He can spend more on food and have less extra to spend, or vice versa like a mini, low-stakes version of what he’ll do later as an adult.

    We also talk with both kids about what things cost and how we budget the family’s money. They know we’re spending more for our mortgage because we wanted a bit more space, that we save some money every month for retirement and other needs, and what it costs to eat a home cooked meal versus a restaurant meal."

    khandcock

    "I’m not a parent but when I was a kid, my mom would write a check worth $2 a day for the month for me to deposit into my “school lunch account” or whatever. I could use it however I wanted — only spend $1 today so I could spend $3 tomorrow, etc. If I ran out of money before the end of the month, I’d have to bring lunch from home. That wasn’t ideal because I could get pizza at school. Learning to budget early truly helps later in life."

    sparklysinger421

    4. Clothes shopping, especially around back-to-school time, can be another powerful budget-teaching tool.

    "Since about the age of 8, I've given my daughter a set, but reasonable, amount of money for back-to-school clothes shopping (I understand how fortunate I am too be able to do this). She gets to decide what she wants and if it's worth the money she has. If she decides not to spend it all, she gets to save the rest for something else. It's taught her that money doesn't grow on trees and a sense of autonomy. 

    We also don't make her do chores but have agreed upon different things she can do around the house and a $ value for each task. If she wants to earn money for something special, she gets to decide how much effort she wants to put in to save up for it. I want her to learn to work for the things she wants, but she has to put in the time and effort."

    sadwinell

    5. Giving kids a higher allowance if they save it rather than spending it = a genius way to make the benefits of saving more immediate.

    NBC / Via giphy.com

    "My dad opened the Bank of Dad in kindergarten. Each week, I could get a quarter now or 50 cents if I wanted to save it in the 'BOD.' Over time my allowance increased and I learned how to save up my money to buy the things I wanted. He had a whole setup inside a lunchbox with a calculator and an official log of all deposits and withdrawals. We could even deposit other money from babysitting or other odd jobs in the BOD. By the time I opened my first real bank account, I had over $1,000 saved up to deposit and have on my debit card. I’ve always been very money-conscious because of this and understood the value of saving for the future."

    holly_ilex

    6. And even little kids can start learning how to budget for giving to charitable causes.

    "I have a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old. Their piggy banks have save, spend, and give sections. They always fill the save portion first, then give, then spend. They use their money to purchase items and have to earn money based on chores, use of their time for others, etc. I also have college funds for them that they contribute to on their birthdays."

    lisac48535cc96

    "Using the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Junior kit with my kids. It is so sweet seeing them understand how to not only save but also be generous with others. My nephew has this too and used a portion of his money to pick out food to give to our local food pantry. He was so excited ❤️."

    psychicbutterfly19

    7. When kids are really little, making your own "house money" to play with can be a great, less germy way to introduce them to the concept of cash.

    Young dad pushing a small child in a shopping cart
    Goodlifestudio / Getty Images

    "My kid is a preschooler so she's not responsible enough for real money yet (also cash is disgusting and she will put it in her mouth) so we have house money. It's literally just strips of paper we colored ourselves that comes in the same increments as dollars and change. 

    She has opportunities to earn money. At the end of the week, she gives me her paper money and I take her to the store and help her pick whatever she wants that costs that amount. Last week, she picked sausages. Also, her work is different from her regular chores. I think paying kids to participate in the care and maintenance of the home they live in is weird."

    maggiemeh

    8. And giving allowance for some chores and not others can be a way to start teaching your child early that some of the work we have to do pays (like our jobs) while other work doesn't (like taking care of ourselves and our home).

    "My son is 4 and if he wants new toys, he has to do jobs around the house to earn money and save for them. Most jobs pay a quarter and the only jobs that pay money are jobs that aren't really his responsibility. So cleaning his room pays nothing but helping switch the laundry is a quarter and so is putting all the silverware away. As he gets older, he'll have to help clean communal areas so he'll have to do other jobs to earn money like mowing, babysitting, or cleaning the garage, etc."

    oliviat491ff0d3e

    9. Getting kids to save up for a big purchase they want, like a video game console, is a classic way to teach them the value of money.

    CBS / Via giphy.com

    "We have three kids (12, 10, and 4). We never give them cash; it goes into their own bank accounts that they can see at any time. Any big purchases they want to make, they must purchase themselves. The older boys decided they wanted the new Xbox and worked jobs and split the cost; it took them eight months to earn enough money. Overall it has been super positive! They understand the value of money and never ask for any when completing daily housework!"

    lgrillo

    10. And tangible comparisons are a brilliant way to explain budgeting so that kids can really understand it.

    "We’re honest about how much things cost on a relatable level. If our daughter asks for a treat or toy and we say no related to money, we say things like, 'I’d love to buy you that toy but it costs the same as half our groceries for the week so that’s just not possible today,' or, 'It would be really fun to go get ice cream today but we spent money at the movies this afternoon and there’s no room in the budget for a second treat today.” Dollar values don’t make much sense to her yet but when we can compare two tangible things, it helps her see that our needs have to come first and there’s room for fun without going overboard on our spending."

    glamfish500

    11. When kids are a little older, teaching responsible credit card habits and building their credit scores can help prepare them for life on their own.

    STXfilms / Via giphy.com

    "Back when it was allowed, my mom cosigned and opened up a credit card in my name, and I had to spend my b-day/Christmas/allowance money on my card and pay it off in full every month. If I went over, she paid it off but kept my card until I could pay her back for it or it was taken out of my allowance. Taught me a lot of responsibility and I had amazing credit right out of high school. I don’t think they allow that anymore though."

    laurae4525fb3d9

    These days, a minor can't legally be the main account holder on a credit card but if you think your teen is ready to learn how to use credit responsibly, you could try something similar by adding them to your credit card as an authorized user.

    12. And finally, it's never too early to start putting some money away for your child's education.

    "My daughter is only a toddler now but I already have a 529 (college savings plan) set up for her. In lieu of alimony (which my ex would have fought me in court about), I have him invest that money monthly into her 529. He’s not as mad about it, because I have no access to it so it’s guaranteed to go to her. I put her Christmas and birthday money in there, too, for now."

    laurae4525fb3d9

    Note: Submissions have been edited for length and clarity.

    Now it's your turn. Share how your parents taught you about money in the comments below!

    And for the latest money tips and tricks, check out the rest of our personal finance posts

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