Strong money management skills can mean the difference between feeling fearful every time you check your bank balance and having some semblance of financial stability. Despite the benefits of being good with finances, many adults lack the necessary money management skills to get — and stay — out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. According to a 2012 survey from ING Direct, 87 percent of teens said they didn’t know much about handling finances, though over a third said they knew saving was important and wanted to learn more.
Even before the teen years, parents and other adults can begin encouraging good money management with some creativity and a handful of pennies.
Create a Family Penny Pop-in-Shop
Start with a box or drawer where the store can reside; families might work together to decorate the container or simply keep a convenient folder with a price list of items and a notebook to record transactions.
Things to include in the Pop-in-Shop range from small, tangible goods such as candy and party-favor style toys to intangible items written on index cards. A penny might buy someone an extra minute — or five — of screen time; 20 pennies might buy a trip to the ice cream shop with a friend.
Get creative and match the contents of the Pop-in-Shop to the age and interests of the children and teens in the home.
Teach Lessons about Earning, Saving and Spending Wisely
Create a bank of pennies and a list of how to earn them. Everyone might receive five pennies a week and earn more by doing extra chores or extending kindness to others. Help kids make a budget for spending their pennies, and work on saving for items that cost more. Track what kids spend so that they can see where their money goes and make changes to meet their goals.
Each month, meet with each child and discuss their penny management, praising them for wise spending and saving and helping them work through issues they might be experiencing.