Education

Tools to educate your child about money and savings

Photo by Katie Harp on Unsplash

If you have a tween or teen in school, perhaps you have noticed a shift compared to when you were that age when it comes to what is being taught iin the classroom. I had home economics and math classes that touched on basic finances in high school and that seems to be missing in school’s today. Your child will learn algebra and geometry skills in class, but how to spend money out in the real world or tip, save and calculate interest comes from what we can teach at home and with real life experiences. Our teens need exposure and there are tools to educate your child about money and savings.

Exposure

As young as 13 years old, most banks offer checking accounts for you child that gives them access to a debit card and app access to manage their money. As teens, their accounts are linked to a Guardian so you can also monitor them. Opening them an account, helps them visually see a balance move up or down depending on deposits or debits. Most of these accounts can be set up to deny transactions if the real money isn’t there so they are not overdrafted. If you have a teen without a debit account yet, consider getting one with them and guiding them to all of the features they have in that account.

Games

I put games ahead of real-life exposure because some games available on the web offer skills training like cash register operation, counting change back, figuring out tax amounts, etc. If they can play such money games, then they can head out to stores and restaurants and be given the task to pay, understand their change and see how prices flex once tax or tips are added. I mean, they still think money grows on trees at a young age!

I like the money games at mortgagecalculator.com/money-games. Their games are so simple, free and safe to play. They offer money games as simple as counting coins in the Coin Saver Challenge for the younger age to games for the older ages, such as calculating tax and tips with Percent Puzzle. This website that teaches money skills with games even offers simulation games such as ringing up groceries or building a city with zones and taxes. Games are a very engaging tool for learning.

Real World Experience

After you get some game play under their belts, take them out to stores and restaurants. Kids love eating out- show them the bill and show them how you figure the tip out. Do you take the tax and double it? Show your teens and they will see that costs always add up and that dinner out was not cheap! Perhaps if they want something bad enough, they will relate when you suggest they buy a few less coffees or demand to eat out a little less to save for that item. Tools like money games and calculators will help calculate tax and tips on the spot.

My teen completely understands when I say, “if you have no fast food stops this week, you could have an extra $25 or so for that item…” He has his bank account, he sees those debits and can instantly justify where to save and spend responsibly. Give them the tools and education because they don’t get ahold of it in your average math class. As parents, we have them for the outings and spending moments, so make it a lesson plan.

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