Monday, April 21, 2014

Money Matters

I've been reading a lot of articles lately about teaching your child to be financially savy. Too many adults we know treat money like it's completely out of their control and feel like victims in a mean world where no one gives them enough money.  We want Chiquita and Chato to make informed decisions about how they want to earn and spend their money. 

This is how we've decided to start for Chiquita:
  • She will earn money for doing jobs.  Not everything she does will earn money, there are some things she needs to do as a responsible member of our family.  Right now the only job we've had her do for "coins" is feed our cats.  I feel like picking up toys and putting dishes in the sink will stay in the non-earning category, but I will be looking for other jobs.
  • There will be limits on what I will buy for her "for fun".  When we went to the aquarium the other day she wanted to buy something from the gift shop.  I told her she could as long as it was less than $5.  She picked up a few things that were too much and after finding several things under budget she picked one.  I was really pleased that she was so mature!  I think it really helped that I didn't have to say no, just let her know what was and was not in her budget.
  • She will get chances to spend her own money.  For the first time we poured out her piggy bank and sorted her coins.  She's just starting to learn numbers so I added up amounts for her, but she got to learn which were quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies and I talked to her about which were worth more.  I (sort of arbitrarily) decided she could spend half of her money, so we split each pile of coins in half (she could spend 4 quarters, 10 dimes, 2 nickels and 50 pennies) and she put the rest back in her piggy bank.  Armed with $2.60 we went to the grocery store.  She got to pick out whatever she wanted, but I did make suggestions.  I also let her know if she found something more expensive that she wanted she could save and get it next time.  She settled on a bottle of bubbles and playdough, for a grand total of $2.13 with taxes.  I let her get the coins out of her purse herself, but I did of course help her count out the right amount.  She was very proud of herself (me too!)
When she gets older and more interested in earning money I plan to help her look for ways to earn outside our household, but for now I'm excited to see her starting to learn.  How have you helped your toddlers start to learn about money?

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