How To Teach Kids About Money Management

Financial Literacy Training for Kids

I met the National Center for Family Literacy at BlogHer and enthusiastically support their agenda of teaching kids personal finance skills. If kid don’t learn how to Save/Spend/Donate as a child, I suspect that they will have to learn the hard way about managing money like I did, with credit card debt racked up after college.

I had college friends who ran the extreme. Some were managing tens of thousands of dollars of stock funds and grew up, not surprisingly, successful entrepreneurs. Others, like myself, had to learn the discipline of budgeting and financial language of money (a.k.a. accounting) by going to graduate school.

Kids CAN learn the basics on managing money and the satisfaction of delaying gratification which, in turn, will help them in life. Please welcome my guest author, Emily Kirkpatrick, Vice President of the National Center for Family Literacy, who is preaching to the choir.

What are you doing to teach your kids about money? Please share!

p.s. Thank you to Pria Desai for this link that is scary: Lack of Education Linked To Record Levels of Debt from Fox News Latino. The same message is reiterated: we must teach young folks about personal finance in the same way they learn math, reading and science. In fact, it’s probably more important!


Online Interactive Tool to Teach Kids About Money

Money doesn’t grow on trees. We all heard that from our moms growing up. And although it’s true, that saying falls far short of preparing children to make smart financial decisions.

With financial literacy, as well as all forms of literacy, it is paramount to instill money management practices early in your children’s lives. Waiting to teach them during teenage years or when they go to college means they’ve already developed financial habits that may be difficult to break. With everything that schools are expected to teach children, financial literacy is often placed on the back burner. The good news is that teaching financial concepts is something parents can do in their daily lives in fun, easy ways.

Read on to begin teaching your child the basics of managing money:

Take a field trip. Learning opportunities happen everywhere and at any time. A trip to the grocery store can ecome a real world application of concepts learned in math class, such as addition, subtraction and units of measurement.

  • Create a shopping list with your child and review and compare prices on products you need.
  • Set a budget for the shopping trip and show your child the importance of avoiding impulse buys.
  • If you’re paying with cash, allow your child to count out the amount owed.

Learn while shopping with A Day At Dollar General. The National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation have teamed up to create an online interactive learning tool to teach kids the basics in money management. The free, easy-to-use learning lessons explain income and expenses, how to create and manage a budget, how to use store advertisements and coupons to save money, and much more. Try out A Day At Dollar General by visiting here. The worksheet is here.

A Day At Dollar General even comes with a downloadable program guide. The instructional guide features specific financial literacy lessons and activities that parents can engage in with their children. The guide is also useful for teachers and library staff.

Plant the long-term seed. Help your child avoid short-term vision, in which he or she receives an allowance and immediately spends all of it. Instead of the traditional money jar, set up three jars for allowance – designated for saving, giving and spending. Help your child calculate how much goes in each jar and divide the weekly allowance among the three. Explain the importance of giving some money to others in need and of saving up for something your child really wants. To make saving more fun, download this piggy bank worksheet and record how much he or she has saved each month.

Remember, you are your child’s first and most important teacher. The values you establish today pave the path that your child takes tomorrow. The lessons of spending wisely will help your child make good financial decisions in the future.

p.s. If you want or need a chore chart, I found a few.

My Responsibility Reward Chart Wall Hanging by One Step Ahead, $41.

 Magnetic Chart for up to 3 kids, $19

 Dry Erase Chart, $19

Click on image to view at Amazon.


Teach your kids good money habits with FamZoo's Virtual Family Bank.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Giora

    You recommend to teach kids about Spend, Save and Donate. Let me add two more. Earn – suggest kids to earn money. Negotiate – teach kids how to negotiate with their parents for a higher allowance ..:)
    I see that you are a family of soccer, you being a soccer moms and your kids playing soccer. In my second YA fiction the heroine plays soccer and about 7% of th novel is about soccer.
    I would love to see a post by your about soccer books for kids, middle grade and teens
    Giora recently posted…Bonn, Jena + German songsMy Profile

  2. Jeanette from Artchoo

    This is timely. We just set up a magnetic chore chart, because I like having that physical, tactile way of tracking how they make their money. I love the shopping list idea!
    Jeanette from Artchoo recently posted…BinthMy Profile

    • Hi Artchoo!,
      I’m working on money management with my kids too and it’s not going that well to be honest. The kid who is good with money continues to be good at it but the other two continue to spend their money like crazy. In fact, they are only good at spend … we need to work on SAVE and DONATE.

  3. Dee

    We tried using which is Dave Ramsey’s product. It worked well…except for the fact that my son was not (yet?) one who goes on the computer all the time. So he wasn’t invested in it, didn’t check his balance, and didn’t follow up with the chores because of it. So I suspended it. But it would work for some kids. (I think) was another I looked into.
    Dee recently posted…You are not alone!My Profile

    • Hi Dee, sounds great too! I’ll have to check it out. It IS so hard to keep the kids consistently doing their chores to earn the money and then to actually save part of it! We are working on both pieces but it’s definitely a struggle.

  4. SnowdenSupport

    I love that you included donating as part of money management skills. I think it is so important to teach kids to give back, whether with money or with goods. Thank you for posting such a great article.

  5. I am going through the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University (which I highly reccommend) and he talks about teaching kids financial responsibility too using the envelope budgeting system and chores based on pay. When I have kids I want to do that. His three envelopes for kids were , spending-saving-giving.

  6. Sharon Green

    This was a beautiful post with lots of useful info. I enjoyed reading it and getting some tips. I have a blog where I posted an article on the same topic that you might want to read –
    I hope you enjoy reading it, Sharon

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