Introducing money management to preschoolers

Autumn has a great idea for teaching preschoolers about money:

The best way to start out is to make money as concrete as possible. When my children were first given an allowance, they struggled to understand that $1.00 was the same as four quarters. So, we made a handy conversion chart for them using a flat cardboard box. Inside, on one side we glued a dollar, a quarter, a dime, and a nickel. On the other side we glued four quarters, two dimes and a nickel, two nickels, and five pennies. The side-by-side comparison showed the kids how to exchange their bills and coins for other denominations. It took practice and parental support, but they eventually got it. Making money concepts concrete really seemed to speed up the process for them.

Preschool Money Manager Kit

If you're looking for a little more guidance, the folks behind the Portland-based Tessy & Tab Reading Club have put together a fabulous Preschool Money Manager Kit. It includes an array of colorful charts and lists (all printable from the web site, by the way), three Tessy & Tab books about basic financial topics, and a seven-step parent guide, and a sturdy cardboard save/spend/share bank called the Moonjar Moneybox kids make themselves.

I can't say enough about this little kit. It's well-designed, the advice is sound and encourages independence, and it does a perfect job of taking abstract ideas and long-term goals and making them concrete. I think it's a great value at $24.95. And while they peg the age range at 2-6, these concepts are good for just about any kid and parent. I intend to use it with my kindergartner (That's right! She's no longer in preschool!), and I'm sure my 3rd grade son will love it, too (he can't wait for her Tessy & Tab books to come in the mail). A great product, and an awesome gift.

Win it! Wayyyyy too long since we had a fun giveaway. Judy, the very kind co-founder of the company, will gladly send a Preschool Money Manager Kit to one lucky Parenthacker! To enter, leave a comment with your answer this question:

How have you taught your kids about money (so far)?

If your child isn't yet allowance-age, just give us your best tip from childhood, or anything else you think is relevant. I'll pick the winner at random tomorrow at 5pm PST. Good luck!


  1. Julie says

    Our not-quite 2 year old just told me that he needed money before we went to Target so I made him some pretend dollars, quarters, and pennies (because he uses them to ride the horse at the grocery store). Once he understands a few more numbers, we will talk about how many dollars it takes to buy x.

    My parents never really talked to me about money and I have terrible money management problems to this day. We hope to correct this with our son.

  2. says

    We finished the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace U in December. We immediately made up a little chart with 2-3 things per day that my 2 and 4 yr old could do each day to earn money…clearing the table, bring me the garbage cans from all over the house to be empties, to empty the silverware from the dishwasher into the drawer, things like that.

    Each task was worth one quarter with the possibility to earn about $3 per week. The first dollar ALWAYS goes to church; everything after that is theirs. We haven’t started making saving mandatory yet.

    They also have the option to refuse to do their tasks – hopefully the lesson being “no work, no money” LOL

    My two year old has somehow managed to already figure out the very minimum number of things he has to do to give his $1 to church and have exactly enough for one bag of candy per week! LOL

    My 4 yr old seems to love it and this system has taken the struggle out of “can I have that?” and “can I have that?” every time we go somewhere. I simply say “did you bring your money?” and, if not, that generally settles it.

    One other interesting observation: the first time my 4 yr old had earned $2 to spend at the local Dollar General, it took her (no lie) FORTY-FIVE minutes to pick out just the right thing since it was HER money she earned and she was spending. LOL

    My four yr old has also become an awesome sale/clearance bin shopper! LOL She already knows that she can get more for less by shopping where the “special” signs are! LOL

  3. says

    We finished the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace U in December. We immediately made up a little chart with 2-3 things per day that my 2 and 4 yr old could do each day to earn money…clearing the table, bring me the garbage cans from all over the house to be empties, to empty the silverware from the dishwasher into the drawer, things like that.

    Each task was worth one quarter with the possibility to earn about $3 per week. The first dollar ALWAYS goes to church; everything after that is theirs. We haven’t started making saving mandatory yet.

    They also have the option to refuse to do their tasks – hopefully the lesson being “no work, no money” LOL

    My two year old has somehow managed to already figure out the very minimum number of things he has to do to give his $1 to church and have exactly enough for one bag of candy per week! LOL

    My 4 yr old seems to love it and this system has taken the struggle out of “can I have that?” and “can I have that?” every time we go somewhere. I simply say “did you bring your money?” and, if not, that generally settles it.

    One other interesting observation: the first time my 4 yr old had earned $2 to spend at the local Dollar General, it took her (no lie) FORTY-FIVE minutes to pick out just the right thing since it was HER money she earned and she was spending. LOL

    My four yr old has also become an awesome sale/clearance bin shopper! LOL She already knows that she can get more for less by shopping where the “special” signs are! LOL

  4. Holly says

    so far my 3 year old knows that if she finds coins on the side walk, she can put them in her piggy bank. and then wash her hands. and my 1.5 year old knows not to put coins in her mouth. most of the time.

  5. says

    Our daughter is 2 and a half and she LOVES paying for things. When we go to Target, I sometimes give her a dollar and we pick something out from the dollar spot and talk about how much things cost. She understands more and more that you have to give money to get something at a store, and sometimes things cost more than you have. ;-)

    She also thinks all we have to do is drive to the bank and “push the buttons” on the ATM to get more money. I wish…….

    I love the idea of a spend/share/save bank and want to incorporate that into our teaching. Now is probably a good time to start. Thanks for a great link and giveaway!

  6. Rachel says

    My daughter has a piggy bank that she puts all of her money in, but she hasn’t quite gotten the money idea yet.

    However, we have been teaching her economy with the “screen time” ticket hack:

    We give her 4 tickets a day. The first couple days after we introduced the ticket system she burned through all of them and then whined for the rest of the day. Since then, she has learned to save some for the end of the day. We will soon switch to a weekly distribution system.

    The funny thing is that she refers to money as “tickets.”

  7. Lori says

    We have been discussing that we should probably start teaching our 3yr old about money. About the only thing my parent’s taught me about money was that they helped me open a checking acct when I was 16 and taught me how to balance my checkbook. I somehow came through with good money management skills, but my sisters are horrible about money management! We want to be better with our kids about teaching them.

  8. Daffodil says

    Reading some of these comments, I realize we need to get on the ball with our son! He’ll be two next month, and his only concept of money is the loose change we leave for him next to his piggy bank so he can have the fun of dropping the coins in. We do take the pig to the bank occasionally, and, because he’s so young, every single cent of it goes into his college fund. When he’s older and starts understanding money, we’ll make it a 50-50 split, college fund and “fun” money. That’s how my mom was with me with my jobs in high school — half was for college, half was for me. It was good practice for saving as an adult!

    But I could really use this kit. My husband and I are both good with money but I’m not sure how to teach that to our son.

  9. Betsy says

    We talk about money and choices a lot. We were JUST talking this weekend that it is time to take it to the next level. We are very lucky so far that neither kid has ever asked for anything by name yet. (3 and 4 year old boys).

  10. Fauna says

    When I am out shopping with my 4 year old I try to teach him how to get the most for the dollar. When we are looking at snacks, he may want the Cars fruit snack but I will show him that another brand might be cheaper (or we can get more for slightly more). If he insists on a particular brand I tell him that we will have to wait until it goes on sale. This is what I try to do with most everything, but when you get to toys that’s another ballgame and I just say no or maybe he will get something like it for his birthday or Christmas.

  11. says

    This sounds like a great system! The other day, I found my husband trying to teach our 2yr old about commodity futures. Seriously. I told him that we need to teach her about nickels and dimes first. We obviously need some help here!

  12. says

    We’ve got a “commission chart” (ala Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Jr kit), and encourage the kids to earn extra money with extra chores. We also have then help with grocery shopping and couponing!

    Could always use new ideas for our 3, and would love to see this kit. Thanks!

  13. mom2gandc says

    My 2.5 year old loves to pay for things, and has a piggy bank which he will put found money in. He doesn’t really get the different denominations yet, but understands that the big shiny quarters sometimes work in fun machines :)

  14. KKyle says

    We’re just starting him with the cash register so far (2yrs)…

    He’s interested in money… so we’ll probably ramp up soon…

  15. says

    I like this kit because of it includes the “Share” category. When we started an allowance with my children we felt strongly that Saving and Sharing had to both be taught. It has been pretty successful for the most part. The other success has been planning and saving for a short-term goal. They pick something they have been wanting and then save up for it. This has been crucial in letting them feel in control of their money and have a sense of pride and accomplishment in managing money well.

  16. Laree says

    I haven’t done much with my little ones, but I remember clearly some lessons from childhood. I remember the time that my Dad brought home the entire paycheck (he was paid once a month) in cash. He divided it among the 4 of us, and had us pay all the bills. One by one – the house payment, charity, electricity, phone, gas, food, car funds, everything we could think of. I think we ended up with like $20 left over. It really sunk in that when my mom would say we needed to save up for something, we understood where she was coming from. Looking back at things, I think my Dad may have padded some of the costs so it looked like we had less at the end, but the idea WORKED for sure.

  17. Cindy says

    we’re just starting w/ my 2 year old — letting her carry money and “pay” for things. Although she does have a activity “tote book” that has a “credit card” that she likes grabbing and using — hmmm… maybe I have to use cash a little more!!

  18. says

    Our eldest two (of 3 girls; 4.5, 3, almost 1) haven’t expressed any interest in having their own money yet (thank goodness, because when they hit their teens, I’m doomed). But my wife and I have already talked about using the 80-10-10 approach (80% to spend, 10% to save, 10% to give to church/charity). I, for one, did not get much training about money management from my folks and as a result I fairly suck at it. I’ve struggled to gain control of my spending habits to reform our family finances and I want to give our children the tools they need to avoid this situation.

  19. says

    I’ve started buying groceries with cash to keep me within my budget, but I use our credit cards as debit cards a lot because of the rewards. I make a point of telling my 2yo dd that the cards are telling money to be taken from our bank account just like when I take the dollars from the ATM.

  20. Michael says

    We are teaching our 4 year old using banks. He has a ceramic pig bank for quarters and a money jar that count money for the rest. I empty out my daily cahnge on the counter for hin to “find” and ask me if he can put them in his banks. This is allowing him to learn to pick out different coins while learning what each one is worth. We are working with coins now. Next we will do a chores list for coins. We have a bag of items he can buy from so he doesn’t think he can always buy something at the store every time we go.

  21. jdp says

    Oooh! If I don’t win it, it will be a good birthday gift!

    How I’ve taught him about money?

    Well, a few different ways but I think the most long-running “bit” is just me, being probably more transparent than the average parent is about money.

    I let him see me work with the budget on the computer. I let him see me put the grocery money in an envelope labeled “groceries” and put a few bucks in the one labeled “fun” last.

    The only part he doesn’t see is me moving things around savings. But he has his own piggy bank.

    He also has monetary consequences. If he breaks a friends toy, the $ to replace it comes from his piggy. Stuff like that.

    He just started Kindergarten but I’d love for him to see this kit.

    At one point I considered getting him this:

    Then I realized he HAD 4 piggy banks so we just have diff ones for diff “accounts”. Not very meshed though.

  22. says

    For their birthdays, our kids have the choice of either a birthday party or $10 per year old they are (example, my 9 year old just got $90). We have them pay 10% to our church, and the rest they are able to spend. We talk about what they would like to buy, how much things cost, and then they are able to narrow down their choices. We encourage them to put a little money in the bank too, in case down the road there is something else they would like to buy, and don’t have enough at the moment.

  23. Shara says

    Very interesting ideas! I have a four year old that I have been trying to introduce the idea of saving and planning to. I hate to say to him “Mommy doesn’t have the money.” or “I can’t afford that” because that isn’t always true and even if it is it isn’t really the words I want to use to explain the saving process or spending process to him. Hopefully I can help teach him how to best use his money wisely.

    This kit would be very helpful! I’m also keeping some of the comments in mind – lots of great ideas!

  24. says

    I have three children ages 7, 5 and almost 3. All but the 7 y.o. believes that our debit card hold an unlimited amount of money, and I think that’s simply because our eldest understands basic math principles. All of our children are given allowances every week that they fulfill their responsibilities (posted on a the fridge as a reminder). My eldest will save her money and has wads of cash stuffed in her purse. My 5 y.o. begs to take her money to the 99-cent store and buys junk. My youngest, usually loses his coins in the house. I definitely need a consistent system – help!

  25. says

    All my kids (now 6, 4 and 2) have and understand the “piggy bank”, up to and including searching the house for randomly dropped coins. The oldest understands that she is often given money for birthdays, Christmas, etc, and has recently learned how to total it up and decide what to buy.

    I’ve got a what NOT to do. DON’T feel like making the child spend their own money is somehow bad, and that you should always buy it for them. My wife and I are still having this “discussion” (ahem) and she insists, even when my daughter spends her own money, on paying half. I keep arguing that you’re just teaching her that things only cost half what they are actually worth, but I keep losing that battle.

    Also, when they’re old enough, let them buy lunch at school. As long as my daughter keeps referring to the price as “two dollars and one quarter” I know she hasn’t quite gotten the hang of it yet.

  26. says

    I haven’t done much to teach my 2 year old about money. Whenever she finds change around the house, I encourage her to put it in her piggy bank. Also she does know that we have to pay for things at the store.

  27. tulip says

    We just talk about money. How much things cost, how we make money, etc…
    If we are planning to let her get something at the store we usually give her a limit of say $3. Then we make a game of finding things she likes that cost $3 or less. It’s a good way to learn more than and less than and it keeps her from begging for things that are obviously out of her price range. It’s a good game and we hope to start an allowance this year to reinforce the lessons of saving for a goal.

  28. Shannon says

    One of the most important lessons I’ve wanted to teach is delayed gratification.

    A vivid example we’ve used is buying candy. When the 4yo boy gets his 2 quarters for the week, he can use it to buy 1 package with 2 peanut butter cups at the checkout. OR, he can save it till next week and use his 4 quarters to buy an 8-pack from the candy aisle. If he can wait and save up just one week, he gets 4 times the amount of candy.

    This helps them carry over to other areas, like “We can buy this treat now, or we can wait for it to go on sale and buy more.”

  29. Melissa says

    I have a long way to go, but have been trying to make sense of money issues with my 5 year old since he was 2 or so. He still thinks that if something is too expensive we should just go to the bank and have them “give us” more money! So, we’ve started talking about bank accounts, etc. It is tricky stuff, and I remember never quite “getting it” when I was younger, either.

  30. Scott says

    Both our 5 and 3 year olds have been exposed to the concepts of money, but we haven’t laid out a lesson plan for them to fully grasp it. We are also FPU graduates, and want to pass on sound financial wisdom to our kids so they might avoid some of our mistakes. This kit looks like a step in the right direction.

  31. supraman215 says

    I think the best way to introduce your children to money management is saving but that’s boring even fro adults. But I think the stock market is a valuable tool that can be used to teach them about something that most people don’t learn about till adulthood. When my 18 month old is old enough I’m going to teach her about the stock market and investing and teach her how to research companies, and allow her to make investments with her own money.

    Another site that was just announced at TechCrunch50 today aims at 5-18 year olds learning about money.

  32. says

    Our 5 yr old doesn’t receive allowance yet, but will probably start soon. I did a similar comparison chart about a year ago.

    In this day of cashless transactions, I’ve found it important that he understand what money is even used for. We talk about how our money is at the bank. When someone pays us to do a job, they send money to our bank. When we pay with a credit card, it tells our bank to give money to the vendor. We talk about how virtually nothing we use is free… that it requires direct work or money.

  33. says

    Our five year old gets $2.50 a week (half her age; it will go up each birthday) which is dependent on her doing some simple chores like taking her plate to the sink, putting her clean and dirty clothes back where they go, cleaning up her toys, etc. If she doesn’t do a chore and I have to do it, I “pay” myself out of her allowance. (So far only the threat of this has motivated her to do the chores.)

    We have her give 10% to church and she saves the rest until she wants to buy something. I no longer buy random toys; she has to decide if she likes it enough to part with the money. Recently she decided it wasn’t worth it to spend $30.00 (she doesn’t have that much, so she’d have to save for a while) on a toy; she’d rather wait and get it for Christmas.

    Oh, and the two year old goes to the Dollar Store when his grandpa gives him money. Until we go, I save it for him. :-)

  34. Deb says

    I’ve always discussed with my son, now 3 years old, whether any given toy was “expensive” or “not expensive”. (This being one of the ways we decide together if it’s something we can get.) I think he’s getting the idea. Daddy took him shopping the other day and came home with a Buzz Lightyear toy. I asked him if Daddy bought it for him and he said, “Yes! Because it wasn’t too expensive!”

  35. sarah says

    When I was little, my Mom used to let me sell my toys in our yearly garage sale and then use that money to buy toys at garage sales throughout the summer. Not only did it teach me to manage my money, but it also taught me not to hang on to old toys that I had grown out of.

  36. Tony L. says

    I only have a 2 month old, but it’s great to read up on all these great advice. This is definitely for the teenagers, but before I went to college, my dad told me that if I choose to get a credit card, be sure to pay off the balance every month.

  37. ColleenM says

    My daughters know that they need to put some money in the bank and offer some to church. The rest is for them to use as they wish – usually they set a goal related to a vacation we have planned. Also, by shopping with me they ask “is this on sale” or “do you have a coupon for this mom” I love when I hear those words come out of their mouths!

  38. says

    my 4 yo has a piggy bank – and we count the money together (how many pennies, nickels. etc.) Sorting is also an age appropriate activity.

  39. says

    With my 3-year old, we worked on $$ skills and potty training all at once. For every success on the potty, she got a sticker on a chart. After 5 stickers, she got a quarter. After 4 quarters, she got to go to the dollar store to buy anything she wanted. So now she understands that 4 quarters = $1.00.

  40. Chelsea says

    My four year old gets paid her allowance of four dollars every other week when I and my husband get paid. We have just opened a passbook savings account for her so she can get used to using a bank to put her money away. My banker suggested sending her a “paycheck” with online bill pay but so far we haven’t done that, mostly because I want her to see you have to put the money in to get it out again.

    We have been giving her an allowance for a year now (she started at 3 dollars every pay period) and allow her to spend it on whatever she wants. The thing we are trying to teach her at this point is just the basics of how transactions work, i.e., if you don’t have enough money, you can’t buy it.

    She is now saving up for a movie out of her allowance after a discussion of financial goals. I expect there to be bumps on the road as she learns that if she spends all her money she doesn’t have any.

  41. says

    We haven’t done much with our 2 year old son yet. Whenever he gets money from his grandmas for birthdays or whatever, we put it in his bank to save if for something special. I’m not sure how much he really understands yet. This sounds like a great product!

  42. Jecathre says

    My little one is almost two, and I’ve already given a good deal of thought to how to introduce money to him. This kit is just in time for an early start.

  43. says

    We haven’t done much with our girls yet (5 and 3). I do feel like the 5 year old is ready, but not sure how to start!
    When I was a kid my parents put 1/2 of our allowance into savings. By the time I was going off to college I had enough to buy a car. Nothing fancy, just an A to B car. But it was mine, and I didn’t have to borrow a cent from mom and dad.

  44. says

    My three-year-old isn’t of allowance age yet, but my husband and I have started introducing simple economics to her by explaining how money is used to buy things and discussing ways not to waste money.

  45. ana lilia says

    i haven’t taught my 5 year old much, but i see that i’m falling behind now! well, what we have taught her is that money should be taken care of. we encourage her to put any money that is given to her by relatives, on her birthday, or found on the street or in between the sofa cushions, in her piggy bank. the money collected there has always been used for our yearly trip to disneyland since she was born. that is enough encouragement! but now i think i will start to give her chores and an allowance and teach her more from there on.

  46. Andrew Dorman says

    I have to admit that I thought our three year old was too young to be taught about money. However, lately I have noticed that she was watching intently whenever I paid for things like groceries and seemed to understand my explanation that we couldn’t take the groceries until we had paid for them. Now it is probably time to introduce an allowance.

  47. Inna says

    When we go grocery shopping we compare prices and talk about sales deals. Sometimes we take our daughter to a dollar store and she’s allowed to spend certain amount there.

  48. Page says

    Our not quite 2 1/2 year old is really interested in money and buying things. Besides showing her coins and talking about their value, we play store with a Fisher-Price cash register. I even gave her some of the many fake credit cards that come in junk mail so she can use those.

  49. says

    Our eldest was always very into coins and money of any sort, so it was easy to parlay that into allowance and savings – save, give, spend, and invest. The usual four categories. He learned that investing was a great way to make money grow, but over-investing meant no cash flow in the here and now – so he’s developing some balance on it. We encourage him to explore the options, and make his own choices, then think about how he feels about those choices later – if he took money from a long-term goal, was it worth spending on a short-term goal? How much of the delay in the long-term was worth it? How much was not? We also let them work on credit for a little while (Mom and Dad credit) so they could see how spending on credit was borrowing from their future self, with interest. (The future self didn’t like this so much…).

    There are tons of opportunities to teach this stuff. At preschool level, only one of our kids was even sorta interested, so far. But one more (one of the twins) may be starting to pay attention…

    We use the Money Savvy Generation Cash Cache for his saving strategy stuff, which is a fine one for the older kids (10-14 or so).

  50. amy says

    We’ve not done too much with money for our 3 yr old yet. My parents (still) always said “we can’t afford X” and then would buy Y. I always though it was completely hypocritical. I never tell my son that we can’t afford something. Instead we emphasize saving to buy something different/better/more fun. We emphasize having to make difficult decisions because we can’t have everything.

  51. Kate says

    The biggest thing my parents taught me was about the power of interest. Why it’s so important to pay off credit cards each month and why saving early and often will pay out big rewards. Once I started working (in high school) I started getting some presents in the form of IRA contributions.

  52. Becky says

    We have done little to teach our son (just turned 5) about money. We’re planning to give hime an allowance next month. We need to something serious. He keeps asking when we have enough money to buy a new house. He needs perspective about how much things cost.

  53. Mandy says

    We give our six year old girls allowances of a $ each/week – they get to save a quarter, put a quarter in charity and get whatever they want to do with the rest of the 50c….at first, they used to spend it but are now learning the power of saving and adding money :)

  54. says

    My oldest has just gotten the idea that money can buy things and that we have some! LOL! But to teach him that you can’t just buy whatever you want whenever you want – if he has a legitimate request, we set up a reward system for him to earn it (he has to save up points). :) We’ve also been play-roling what happens when you pay with a credit card so that he doesn’t think it’s just a plastic card that pays for everything by itself. :)

  55. michaela says

    We haven’t done much yet with my 2-y.o. daughter, although she did loudly remind me to pay before leaving the grocery store a few days ago… Other shoppers found that quite entertaining. I am actually quite stumped about how to convey financial matters to her, given that so much of our finances is electronic – I rarely carry cash.

  56. says

    While my son at 2 is not yet ready for allowance, we do teach him the value of money and interest. Even though he might get the lesson, Ryan (my boyfriend) empties out Ethan’s piggy bank once a month, and then explains to him that because he had such and such amount we The Bank of Mom and Dad will match him 10%, he is careful to explain that he will not find a 10% interest rate at any normal bank, but because we love him and the math is a lot easier for a 2 year old (like even that is easy anyway) this is percentage we have decided on.

    We also make it a point to explain the pricing of all items he asks us for, and explain that because he only has this much in his piggy bank he still needs X Amount to buy it himself. Since the piggy bank is not actually for spending we also put these items on his Wish List, which we email to relatives for Birthday and Christmas gift ideas later.

    We explain every tiny detail about everything we do, and we don’t talk to him like a child most of the time. People look at us like we are insane sometimes but I think talking to him like an adult has really helped his speech and understanding of the world. He is certainly attentive regardless!

  57. says

    Money at our house: the 8 year old craves it, the 6 yr old loses it, and the 5 year old plays with it. So to this point we are allowance-less. We have talked about implementing something, but so far we’re at a standstill. A money program would definitely help!

  58. says

    My kids are a bit too small to fully understand numbers as of yet, quantitatively speaking. But my oldest is getting there.

    We’ve started the money discussion by talking about how we get things from stores and where money comes from and why we can’t get everything everyone wants but how we should save our pennies… vague, but effective in starting communication

  59. linda says

    to help my 6-year-old understand how much things cost, i try to put it in terms that she can understand. for example, when she wanted to sign up for an expensive “princess” summer camp i told her that, for the same amount of money, she could (potentially) buy 200 ice cream cones or see 40 movies or go mini golfing 36 times or go swimming at the town pool 66 times. she was shocked and decided it wasn’t worth the cost.

  60. Amy A says

    We are only just starting an allowance for our 7 year old now. And the 4 year old earns money sometimes.
    I think the most important thing we have taught so far is that we don’t impulse buy. If there is something in a store that we had not been planning on buying, we don’t buy it. We go home and think about it. This applies to everyone in the family, parents too. If we are going to Target for clothes, we only get clothes, not any of the other great stuff you could easily convince yourself you need.

  61. says

    These are some great ideas. We have specifically stayed away from the money for chores because we want our son to learn that the family is a team and we all take care of the house and we all share in the spending. But that has left us with the question of how to start our son on the idea of spending/earning. I look forward to using some of these ideas.
    So far I’ve let him take the money he gets from family (birthday cards etc) to the store and pick out what he wants. I hate having to explain sales tax though! lol He’s only 4.

  62. Tessa says

    Our daughter is a whole seven months, so this hasn’t come up yet. Heh.

    My parents always talked to me about the value of saving and investing. They were good role models. I hope to be the same.

  63. Denise says

    When we sold my 4 y.o. son’s tricycle, he was able to go shopping for a toy with the money. He had to make a choice between different items as his funds were limited. He also shares his money through giving at church on a regular basis. One more tool: I use the hack I read here about giving him a Chuck E Cheese token as an incentive to get dressed by himself in the morning. Once he earns 20 tokens we go see Chuck, with a 10 token bonus from mommy. It took a while for him to earn his 20 tokens for the first trip, but now we are going every couple of months or so.

  64. Edie says

    Great and timely topic. We are planning on starting an allowance for our daughter when she turns 4 in 2 weeks. So far she has some money from these sources: I exchanged money for candy last Halloween, I think 5 cents for each piece turned in. She kept some and traded some in. When my second daughter was born I was worried about coins-in-mouth and choking so I told my then 2 year old firstborn she could keep any coins she found lying around our house, on the floor or sofas etc. And she’s been given small amounts of money for various rewards. Don’t really know why she’s so into it (yet) since we’ve never taken her to spend her savings, anywhere.

    We are thinking of starting her at $1 a week and attaching some basic responsibilities (jobs?) to it, maybe beginning with just getting dirty clothes into the hamper rather than the floor, and not leaving shoes and clothes in the middle of the hallway. Think the bar is high enough to start, or should we ask more of her?

  65. says

    We let the kids help us when we count money. We did a lapbook about money and banks (it’s a homeschooling thing).

    One thing I like to do is point out how commercials are deceptive. Starting very young, we told our kids that some commercials lie and some use tricks to make things appear better than they are. It’s worked quite well. We don’t hear too much of, “Buy me that,” because our kids will say, “It’s not worth the money because they might be lying just to get us to buy it.”

    If one child breaks something of ours or something belonging to a sibling, we will have the breaker pick something of theirs of somewhat equal value to sell to make up for it. It has helped them realize that things have a value.

  66. kellyache says

    I’m afraid my primary lesson about money has backfired. Our 2.5yo daughter knows that Daddy works hard away at camp to make money; we use that money to buy things. But last week she grabbed too many wipes and I told her “Please don’t waste them. Just take two.” She burst into tears and sobbed “Daddy can’t come home now!”

    Looks as though I could use some guidance.

  67. says

    My son is learning that once he spends money, he can’t have it back to buy something else with. I think that’s important, he’s four.

    He’s also learning that play money is not real money, much to his chagrin. LOL

  68. Patrick says

    My wife and I have used a combination of sing-song, guide books and an allowance.

    The sing song is things like counting rhymes: “Twenty five, Fifty, Seventy Five, One Hundred.”

    The guide books are a frequent reference for her. When given her allowance, or when asked about money, she often wants to check the book and look at the photos. From the reading above, I need to do more of this tactile work.

    Finally she gets an allowance. Every week she gets five cents for each chore on her chore-board per day. Each week we talk about how much money she gets in nickels, the total amount of money, and then she has to help me figure out how to give it to her.

    On a slightly off topic note – I also use money to get my 5 year old interested in history. I frequently show her the Presidents on the money and ask her to identify them, and then tell them about their history.

  69. Nicole B. says

    Our son is 2.5, and we have just begun talking to him about money. I have been reading with interest the column Love & Money in the WSJ as I feel it has been great to think ahead to what issues will be in our future (alas, the column ended last week!) Mostly, we play “going to work” at home and he comes home with “money”. I have some play money I plan to introduce soon, and he has a play wallet with pretend credit cards (since we use these more often than cash, he is more familiar!)

  70. says

    I think the one thing I’ve really gotten across to my 4 yr old is that if he wants something he has to earn the money for it first.

    It’s amazing to see what he’ll vacuum and wipe floors for, and what he decides in the end isn’t worth it.

  71. sherry says

    we have a great bank for our young daughter that is divided into three sections: spend, save and charity. my daughter already loves playing with the bank and when she is old enough, my husband and i will certainly talk with her a lot about each category and why all three are necessary and important.

  72. Karma says

    This is a fantastic idea and I would love to receive the kit for my two year old. She knows, by watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, that sometimes you need “coins” to buy things. Whenever she sees “coins” in the house, she wants to put them in her piggy bank. But I would love to start teaching her more about earning, saving, and spending from an early age.

  73. Ef says

    like some of the other parents here, these comments make me think it’s time to start introducing our 2-year old to some money management ideas. So far all we’ve done is collect up the coins from around the house and drop them in the piggy bank.

  74. Shelby says

    I work at a very popular children’s toy store and I have to say that I’ve seen just about every type of child money management technique on the planet. I have to say that I think having kids save and spend their own money at the store is the best way to go. It’s really fun as an employee to see the kids’ sense of pride when they tell us that this has been something they’ve been saving for (and sometimes they’ll even bring in a full sticker sheet, chore chart, or report card to show off as well, which is also really fun). Additionally, the children who have their own money to spend are almost always the best behaved children in the store. They are far less likely to throw a temper tantrum or whine incessantly, which makes for an enjoyable shopping experience for everyone (including the employees!).

  75. Martha says

    I’ve been teaching my 3 1/2 year old by taking him with me to the store, showing him prices, letting him play with coins and trade coins for goods.

  76. Laurie says

    My 3 year old understands the concept that coins go in her piggy bank. I am about to begin teaching her some money concepts. This kit could be fun!

  77. Ashley says

    I take my two year old shopping with me. He is starting to understand that everything has a price and is curious on how he can get money of his own.

  78. says

    We are taking “Financial Peace University” a Dave Ramsey course, through our church. Actually, we already took it and succeeded with it so now we are LEADING the course. Anyway, our 3 year old gets a commission. She has 3 jobs that need to be done over the week: Feed the dog, take your plates/cups to the sink after meals, and fold/put away her own laundry. She gets $1 for each job done. She loves it! Then, we have a save bank, spend bank and a giving bank and she puts her dollars in those banks accordingly. I’d love to better teach her the value of each quarter, nickle, dime, etc.

  79. hillary says

    We have been teaching our 5-year-old about money separately from doing household chores. We believe chores are things we do to support the family, as a family. If she does something extra—like helping me go grocery shopping, raking leaves, or matching our socks—we give her money for those things.
    This gives her a choice about earning money. There is no choice about picking up her toys!

  80. erika says

    My 3yo loves to play cash register, and she understands that you need money or a credit card to get things from the store, but that’s about it so far.

    When I was in grade school and I asked for a particular toy, my Dad would offer to pay half if I could save up my allowance to pay for the other half. He would offer extra chores so I could earn the money a little faster, but I can still remember the feelings – the wait seeming to take forever, and the pride when I finally had enough. I’m still a saver and delayer-of-gratification today, traits I’d like to pass on to my girls.

  81. Ticia says

    Wow! So many people have commented. Two different things, we plan on doing a commission thing with our kids. But, when I was in Junior High for a couple of years my Mom figured out how much money she spent on the different categories for us and gave that to us for allowance. The cool thing was I had a huge allowance, the bad news was I was expected to pay for everything including clothes. My brother learned the hard way that buying the super cool new shoes, anyone remember pumps, was not a good plan, when it took 3 month of his clothing budget and he outgrew them before 3 months was out.

  82. Allison Werstler says

    My son is 18 months old, but he has only gotten as far as “Mine, mine MINE!!!” in the grocery store, pointing to whatever it is he wants. I talk to him about money and using coupons, i almost never buy anything without a coupon, and he is usually very patient when we go though the checkout.

  83. Monica B says

    Whenever our 10 year old gets birthday or Christmas money, half of it goes into savings for her college fund (or for very special occasions like a small extra amount of spending money on a family vacation) and the other half can be saved or spent as she likes.
    We don’t believe in attaching household chores to money, because we as parents don’t get paid to do our household chores either- it’s a mandatory part of being our family, and everyone does their share of chores. We have offered money for “extra” help at times, but on the whole we don’t pay for normal household duties.

  84. Anat says

    prompted by the giveaway to delurk… A nice tip I learnt from my cousin for managing the kids’ allowance: Every allowance they get they need to donate 10%, invest 10% save 10%, the rest is left to the child’s discretion.

  85. Melissa says

    When I go shopping, I try to show how many dollar bills it takes to pay for an item. I also let my daughter pay for things, though it’s harder to get across the concept that money isn’t an ever-reproducing resource. We have worked some with donating a part of the money she has (giving a little extra at McDonald’s, enough for and ice cream cone, then the rest is donated to the Ronald McDonald House box in front of the register). Teaching our kids about money is something that is really important to me – I would love to have the tools to really map out a curriculum about it.

  86. Kim L says

    My son is only 16 months old, so he is more on the “where is your nose?” level than “how many nickels in a quarter?”. But he knows that when we go to a store he doesn’t always get to bring a toy home, and he doesn’t get to keep the toy trains that he plays with at the library.

  87. Marlene says

    We are deliberate in teaching our 2 year old that he can earn money by helping out at home. He brings the garbage cans in from the street and gets a quarter. He is still clueless of the value of a quarter though. He DOES know however, that the change on top of daddy’s dresser is free for the taking! Hmm… what lessons am I REALLY teaching my kids?!?

  88. Vivian says

    I still remember when my sister was teaching me multiplications with blocks. Some things stick. Hopefully I can get money management to stick with my little one.

  89. Mamabee says

    We are trying to teach our 9 and 5 year-old sons about money by giving them a weekly allowance, half of which is spending money for whatever they choose (with approval), and half goes into a savings account at Bank Mom’n’Dad. They can’t touch it for a certain period of time(haven’t decided exactly – 6 months, maybe?)and every month, they are paid interest. We hope this will teach them how saving can really pay off!Eventually, I would like to work giving to charity into the mix, too.

  90. Lea says

    My 3.5 year old has been exposed to the concept of money by learning which coins are quarters, pennies, ect. Soon, once he gets that down with no trouble, we wil add in what makes a dollar.

  91. Jennifer Marshall says

    When my son was 2 1/2 he wanted to buy a Thomas train every time we went to the store. So we made a “money jar” and talked about how trains cost money and that he had to start saving his pennies to be able to get another train. Daddy is very good at dropping change and he would look for change on the ground, the Easter bunny would put pennies in eggs, etc. After about 3 months (which is about a year in toddler time) we took him to the train store to get his train. Now he understands, somewhat, that we have to buy toys and that we cannot always get everything we want immediately.

  92. says

    My son is 2.5 yrs old, and the best way to teach him about money is help him realize that I’m gone for most of the day to make money to buy the food and toys that stuff that he wants. Also, when we go to the ATM or use a credit card, I make sure that he knows that it isn’t magic, but that we can use these cards because I go to work!

  93. Ritu says

    My parents were great about teaching my brother and I about credit, always emphasizing how it affected every aspect of your life. They also help establish a credit history for us early on by applying for a credit card when I was young (I think I was 14-15?). Then they would purchase all birthday/Christmas presents for me on it, and pay off the balance immediately. This, along with the fact that they opened a bank account in my name early on as well, helped establish a long and stable credit history for me by the time I was applying for my own credit. I plan to do the same for my kids!

  94. bittermelon says

    Coming from a family of 4 kids and one income, we were taught at an early age to earn money and save it. Chores were required and we received no allowance. If we wanted spending money, we had to earn it ourselves, so we delivered newspapers, babysat, shoveled snow, brought newspapers to recycle, etc. When we were older, we finally bartered with our parents that we should be paid for our good grades, so for As and Bs, we received money and Cs (god forbid) we deducted. My mother also taught me at a young age to open a savings account and to scour the papers and compare CD rates. Knowing how much work it took to earn that money made me less likely to part with it and to really appreciate it. My mother also taught me how to compare prices at the supermarket, to look at the sales racks first, and to buy the best quality items we could afford rather than crap that would break easily and need to be replaced. The only downside of all this was the emphasis of saving and not allowing yourself to enjoy the fruits of your labor. I’m now trying to figure out how to share these lessons with my 3.5 year old, but also to teach him to appreciate money without being a miser :-)

  95. Elizabeth Hosto says

    All coins to my son, 3.5, are “pirate gold”, he hasn’t gotten the concept of paper money yet and as bad as I am with money I know I have to get going on teaching him about money.

    My parents were very good with money, and taught us to be responsible with it, but since I really had all I needed, even though I was made to save for the big stuff I wanted, I tend to overspend and buy lots of things I could do without and now shopping for kids is so much fun I try really hard not to get in trouble. Thank goodness my husband is a saver so it balances out a bit but I think we all need to learn a bit more about managing money and if I can start now maybe my boys won’t have the same problems that I do…

  96. says

    My five-yr-old wants *stuff* so we started giving her a couple of dollars a week, if she does 10 chores per week (eg putting her plate in the sink after dinner, picking up her toys, putting away silverware from the dishwasher). That’s less than 2 chores a day to get an allowance. Since we instituted this system in April, she’s earned her pay maybe twice. Something is obviously not working!

    The Tess and Tab kit looks cool. I’d love to try it free!

  97. Moira says

    We’ve just started to work on this in our house with our 4- and 5-yr. olds. We’d rather not connect an allowance with daily chores & family responsibilities, so instead we tie it to bigger jobs like cleaning out the car or helping with the recycling once a week. When one of them asks for something special, we talk about if they really need/want something, how much it costs, whether we can get it second-hand or it must be new (like a kit), and whether they’d like to save for it or put it on their birthday/holiday lists.

    Like some other commenters, we also do not say “we can’t afford it,” which both sets of our parents did, and which both of us remember with some bitterness. We didn’t learn anything about money or responsibility, and it always seemed so arbitrary! We want to do much better with our kids, and encourage them to be healthier and more informed about this subject than we were.

  98. Moira says

    I also wanted to add that we Freecycle, Craigslist and ebay, and have gone to yard sales and flea markets (boot sales in England…oh, how I miss you! ;-)) with them since they were babies. They have no issues whatsoever with things not being brand-new or in boxes, and I think this will also help them to understand the value of “things” (and the money it takes to get them) now, and in the future. They already know that we have gotten many things for free or very short money, and that we’ve passed along items that we no longer need, and that makes us very happy.

  99. Rick Francis says

    Our son is almost six and we have been doing a lot of different things.
    We have a few games that use money that help him learn to make change. I also have him count his own money so that he understands the value is the same for pennies and a nickel.
    We have been encouraging him to save in a few different ways: First he gets paid for keeping his room and play areas clean as well as doing extra chores like cleaning the cat litter. That chore pays more because it’s unpleasant. We will purposefully not get him all of the toys he wants- right now he wants to save $40 for a toy he currently has $2 and I am encouraging him because I think it is great to have a big goal.
    When I read articles about money I try to share the important points with him. He understands spending less then you earn already. I also tried to show him how compound interest can make a huge difference- but I think that is still a bit over his head.
    Finally if he mentions something wrong I correct him. At one point he suggested that I should pay for something by credit so that I didn’t have to have the money for it. I quickly corrected him saying that I still had to pay and if I didn’t pay the credit card bill on time I would have to pay even more!


  100. Shea says

    I have a 10 yr old son and an 18 month old daughter. For my son, I have given him an electronic ATM savings bank. He puts all his tooth fairy money and allowance in it. He knows exactly how much he has. When we go to Target or Walmart, he wants to look at the toys. I have explained that if wants something, he will need to save for it. After a few years (and his urge to spend it as soon as he gets it), he is now learning the concept of saving for big things :) Woohoo!

  101. Bezen says

    When I was little, my parents let me buy whatever I want with the money I save, so I was doing everything possible to keep my piggybank full, including paid chores around the house or at my grandma’s.

  102. Maureen says

    my boys are 3 1/2 and the only thing we’ve taught them about money is 1) to start giving names to the various coins and let them put them in their piggy banks, and 2) telling them something is too expensive so we can’t get it.

    Maureen (jnomaxx at hotmail dot com)

  103. Tamrah T. says

    My son is only a preschooler yet, we have started teaching him basics. Since he has no concept to coin value yet, we have him earn pennies for each task done at home. He has five tasks/ day. That can earn him his five cents times 5-7 each week to equal 25 cents plus. By the weekend he can have enough saved to purchase something. And since a quarter doesn’t always go very far, we take him to a few yard sales where he can afford something. He really enjoys the reward(s) for his “job well done” and learns he can’t always afford everything. These are just a few small scale lessons but, eventually the concept(s) will be learned.

  104. ERIN says

    My daughter is 2, so we haven’t really talked about money yet. When I was young, we would all be involved in clipping coupons for groceries. When we used those coupons, my mom would match that amount and put it in a piggy bank, after a while we would use that money to do something fun like go to the water park, or go out to pizza or something. The more we saved, the more money for fun stuff!

  105. Heather Lynne says

    My parents used basic white envelopes to help us keep track of our money when we were really young. They were labeled with savings, charity and spending money.

  106. Mandy says

    My 4 year old wants a very expensive doll and we don’t have any special occasions coming up. We usually spend $5 a week on a toy, so I have began giving her the $5 a week to save for the doll. Once she saves half, I will chip in the other half. I hope this helps her to understand that she might have to give up some things that she’d like to have for something really worthwhile.

  107. Megan says

    My daughter’s only 3, but she knows that money needs to be earned. Apparently “earned” equals “asked for” at this point, but we are working on it!

  108. Michelle says

    We put change and $1 bills in the Easter eggs for my then 2 year old. Who needs that much candy? She will turn 3 the end of this month and she still has money in her ziplock bag. If we go to a yardsale or to a store and she wants something I tell her sure she can buy it if she has enough. So far she bought a large bag of lollipops and a play cell phone. We will add some of her Birthday or Christmas money and see where it goes. The rest goes in her savings account. So far it has worked since she has not asked for an Ipod or Gameboy. And I don’t feel like I am being nickel’ed and dime’ed for a bunch of cheaply made toys that just make more clutter at home.

  109. Dana Terrell says

    For our family finances we’re on the Dave Ramsey plan and use a cash envelope system. So my three and a half year old son has his own set of cash envelopes for his money. To make a cheap cash envelope system for him, we took a coupon organizer and put letter sized envelopes labeled Spend, Save, and Give into it. He’s still a bit young to be buying a lot of stuff at stores, but he has a great time pretending to buy drinks from the fridge, etc.

    The cash envelopes work well for family expenses as well because when the “Out To Eat” envelope is empty, we’re going to be eating at home tonight. The kids can physically see the empty envelope, which is easier to understand than just saying “We don’t have the money right now.” or “That’s not in the budget.”

  110. Emily says

    My twins are still to young to start learning about money … but I love the idea of having several jars they can use to distribute their allowance, when they have one. One jar for savings, one for a charity, one for spending … and whatever else they can think of!

  111. Polly Klein says

    We have a horse bank that neighs each time my three year old daughter puts a coin in it. When she finds loose change she is delighted to be able to make the horse make noise. But, I’m certain she doesn’t have a clue that she is actually saving.

  112. Alex says

    My tot is too young for money management yet but when I was young when I REALLY wanted something my parents would have me save for part of it. This made me really think about what I wanted in the long term rather than instant gratification. Plus it helped me learn to set goals and work for something. I paid for part of everything from a big sucker at the drug store to my bike.

  113. says

    We haven’t done any particular money lessons yet; I’ve been struggling with a good way to start. My daughter just started kindergarten, and although she has a piggy bank, we’ve yet to discuss anything concrete other than “don’t waste that, it costs money!” Her kindergarten teacher has a cool trick though: every day they count the number of days since school started and translate that into monetary denominations. After five days they exchanged pennies for a nickel, for example. I’d really like some ideas for teaching money concepts at home.

  114. Laura GF says

    My daughter knows her dad goes to work to get some money, she knows we spend money on goods and services. I keep thinking that we should start an allowance for her so that she doesn’t just think cards are the only way to pay…

  115. Tiffany F. says

    I love that idea! I want to make a chart for my 4 year old son. He’s not too interested in coins right now. He loves the bills though. He has his own wallet and whenever family gives him loose change or a few dollars, he puts it straight into his wallet. He likes to save up for legos. We haven’t bought him any toys since he’s gotten this wallet for Christmas, last year. I’m still trying to teach him the value of money.

    When I was younger, I loved to buy colored pens from the Hello Kitty store. My Dad would give me a few bucks everytime we went to the mall. Whenever I picked something out, he would say, “Ask yourself three questions: Do you need it? Do you REALLY need it? Or do you REALLY REALLY need it??” Ever since then, my Dad’s voice always sticks in my head whenever I want to go shopping and I refrain from buying.

  116. says

    My daughter isn’t old enough quite yet – but my nieces all received a bank split into 3 sections: savings, checking and donations. Then each week their allowance was split by percentage into the three areas. It taught them how to save and how to split up different amounts…

  117. Trina says

    I use a web site called where the members of the site (it’s free) work together to come up with the best deals each week at various stores such as Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens, etc. On the Rite Aid forum the members find the best ways to combine sales, coupons, and rebates to get items for free or very cheap. I have not paid for anything so far. I started on May 30 and I’ve collected over $1200 worth of toiletries, etc., for charities such as shelters and food banks.
    My three-year-old daughter has started to “clip coupons” for dog and cat food and organize them in her own coupon organizer. But she thinks she is getting coupons for actual pets and wants to know when we are going to buy her a dog! She also has me write down lists for her so that she can remember what to get. Her lists look something like:
    1. Dog with pointy ears.
    2. Dog with short tail
    3. Black dog
    It cracks me up.

  118. says

    2 things:

    The sound of money “plunking” into the piggy bank is fun

    A lot of the stuff you buy at stores (in this case a squishy tomato) breaks (deflates) before you’ve gotten your money’s worth.

  119. Amy says

    We decided to give an unconditional allowance to our children. They can do extra chores (besides their regular chores) to earn more money. Each child has a charity, college saving, and two spending jars. One spending jar is for big ticket items, the other is for everyday, anything you want spending. As they get older, the big ticket jar will be at their own discretion.

    My mother-in-law used to buy and keep the big ticket items until he had saved enough money. It was like credit, but more like lay-away since he didn’t get the toy until it was paid off. They kept track of the amount owed in an old check register.

    One last thing we have found with our daughter, if the money falls and is lost because you’re playing with it, it stays lost.

    Isn’t money fun? ;)

  120. Jenn says

    My daughter gets $1 a week for an allowance. She can also do extra chores for money and is currently saving for a camera.

  121. says

    Our kids get one dollar for each year, on a weekly basis (so that’s $5 for the older, $4 for the younger).

    They each have three jars marked “Spending”, “Savings”, and “Charity”. As it stands right now, they’re each putting 20% into the Charity jar and 40% into each of the other jars.

    One arrangement we’ve worked out now that school has started is that if they want to buy books from the ubiquitous book orders, we’ll match them dollar for dollar. We hope it will encourage them to spend wisely *and* to enjoy books.

    Right now they’re saving their charity money to donate to Heifer International (they’re hoping to buy some ducks for a needy family), and we are encouraging them to think of their “savings” money as untouchable for now (later, we’ll take them to the bank to set up savings accounts, or possibly allow them to add it to their 529 accounts for education).

    The girls made their first joint purchase last weekend, splitting the cost of a $1 toy at a garage sale. On the way home we talked about how great it was that they worked so hard at their responsibilities around the house and could reward themselves with a fun new toy to share.

  122. Griffin says

    Have I taught my kids about money management?
    My daughter is 30 now and she is teaching me about it.

    Although when she was young, I didn’t teach her that much, not having been taught the skills myself. You see my daughter is first generation American, my mother is Czech and she didn’t have any money skills to pass on to me. Nor money for that matter but boy can I barter with a chicken. ha ha ha
    I am much wiser now, not so much in handling money, and my grandson is 3 and granddaughter
    just turned one, the sad part is now that I am a bit wiser,I am too far away from them to pass on any wisdom or wisecracks. This sure would come in handy for 3 generations. I did teach my daughter back in 1980 or there abouts to NEVER EVER say, “It’s only $29.00 or $10.00 or $1.98″

  123. Christy says

    My oldest, 5, has just started to show an interest in buying stuff at the store so we have been talking about starting her on an allowance. We don’t want her to tie regular chores to pay (I think there are some things everyone in the family should do just as part of the family) but have been finding odd jobs around the house for her to do to earn some money when she asks. So far I’ve had my cabinets washed, my baseboards dusted, and a bookshelf reorganized by size of book. We’re still in discussions about just how to handle saving/giving.

  124. Emily says

    Our son is nearly 2, so no allowance yet–but I know that we won’t tie money he gets from us to household responsibilities, since he’s part of the family and we all do things to help our house be a nice place to live. When we go shopping he loves to hold things I’ve picked out (today it was well-sealed packages of safety pins, being purchased for tagging a bunch of his outgrown clothes that I’m selling at a consignment sale that benefits a program for low-income moms–as he’s watched me sort through his old toys and clothes hopefully he’s learning about the value of reusing things that are still in good shape and about sharing what we have with others) and is often reluctant to hand them over for scanning at the checkout. I tell him that “we have to pay for these things before we can take them from the store,” which I hope will help him understand that things in stores cost money (we can’t just go to the store and take whatever we want), and also that things at the store belong there until we’ve paid for them i.e. an early lesson in not taking things without paying.

  125. Denise says

    My oldest two had an allowance and they also had a work agreement that they would sign. Each year we would sit down together and evaluate their work contract to see if they would get a raise in their allowance. To teach them the value of a job we included in their contract the right for Mom or Dad to hire the other sibling to complete a job if was not completed. If Mom or Dad had to hire the other sibling the money would come be deducted from the forgetful sibling’s allance. We also insisted on our children paying for any “extras” that they wanted. This included movies with their friends, skating, and “wants”.
    The oldest is out on her own now and we have an 18 and 4 yr old at home. Our 4 yr old is now learning the value of money. She gets a small allowance and already knows that she has to save money for “extras”. A few weeks ago she wanted a set of pompoms from Walgreesn. She asked her Daddy if he would take her there to see how much they cost. Then she came home, counted her money and asked to be taken back so she could buy them with HER money.

  126. Lisa Jordan says

    Doesn’t every lesson involve Pokemon? It seems that the money lesson is best taught through the inevitable request for Pokemon. My 2 sons get 20 cents for every family chore they do. (Cleaning up their mess is not a family chore.) They have figured out that 5 chores = $1 = one small pokemon pack if purchased in China Town off the street. Saving their chore money for a few weeks can mean a big box or another large toy. I’m still trying to work out the savings bit – beyond its relevance to 100 more Pokemon cards in my house.

  127. Ingrid says

    My five year-old’s eagerness to have a lemonade stand is making it possible to teach her about money; counting money is especially tricky to get. We’re also starting her allowance now that she’s in kindergarten, and she’s looking forward to buying things that would normally go on her Christmas/birthday wishlist.