Feddy Bear is always looking for smart new ways to help kids learn about the value and importance of money. Here are a few tips:
Don't use money as a carrot and stick.
In the end, we want our kids to behave well because it's the right thing to do. Not just because there may be a few dollars in it for them. Be consistent in the ways you allocate and manage allowance money. And let your kids know you're not paying them to perform, do chores, achieve good grades in school or go to bed on time - but to help prepare them for a world where the way money is used can be very important in achieving happiness and success. If, however, you're planning to hire someone to do something around the house, give them a chance to do it first. Tell them what needs to be done, when it needs to be finished, how much you're willing to pay them and let them choose for themselves.
Learn to shop and spend wisely.
We've all had to learn how to find the best price, negotiate a good deal and regulate our impulses to buy shiny new toys that we don't need or go unused once the thrill's worn off. Teach your kids to compare prices, features and quality before deciding what to buy. It's harder than it sounds. Sometimes a low price just means you're getting a poorly made product that won't live up to your expectations. As children mature and their income rises, make them responsible for some of their own expenses - school clothes, car insurance and fuel - whatever makes sense for them - it's a quick way for young adults to get a feel for managing their own resources.
Make Saving Fun & Easy.
As adults, we've learned that the key to saving is consistency. Putting a little away on a regular basis combined with the miracle of compound interest can yield amazing returns over time. But that's a concept that's hard for kids to grasp. Start out with a small goal. Save a regular amount every week for a fixed length of time - a few weeks is short enough to keep the kids interested. Be sure you save enough to pay for something they'll want and enjoy and perhaps offer to match what they save so that you're a part of the effort too.
One of our values as a credit union is the understanding that all of us together are stronger than any one of us alone. Encourage kids to learn that financial resources can be a powerful tool and help solve problems. It can help people and can improve our community. It is a great way to encourage their growth and development as good citizens and productive, responsible members of our community.