How to Teach Kids About Money?

How To Teach Kids About Money?

If you were looking to read an instructional post about how to teach kids about money, sadly, you’re in the wrong place.  See that question mark at the end of the title post?  Yeah, I’m asking YOU dear reader, how do you teach your kids about money?  My kids are 7 and 9 years old.  While my husband and I do teach our kids about money, I’m not so sure they’ve been successful learning about money.

First, there’s the question of how and how often the kids will get money.  We’ve read books and have heard both sides of the allowance/chores debate.  I have problems with both.  As of now, we do not give our kids any money.  The money they have comes from relatives and friends at birthdays and holidays.

From what we’ve read, the rule of thumb has been $1 per week per year of age of the child.  My children are 7 and 9.  What do they need to spend that money on?   We buy all their clothes, birthday presents for friends and occasional treats.  I don’t want them buying candy, extra snacks at lunch, or “stuff” just because they have money.  I also think that money shouldn’t just be given to them for doing nothing.  They see both my husband and I working to earn money to pay our bills, put food on the table, etc.  Also, with my husband starting a new job soon and me not working over the summer and only currently working part-time, we are on a tight budget.

So, then should we be paying them to do chores around the house?  My kids have assigned chores which include feeding the cats, setting the table and helping with dinner prep.  I am not paying them to do these tasks.  They are part of our family.  As a member of the family, we all do our part to help out.

Then, we have the issue of what do they do with their money once they have it.  When I was growing up, I had a bank account with a passbook.  When I went to the bank with my mom to deposit my money, I could hand it to the teller and then could see and watch how my bank account grew via the passbook.  With online banking, how many kids have actually even set foot in a bank?  And banks no longer have passbooks.  With abysmal interest rates, kids don’t even get the satisfaction of seeing their accounts “make” money.

I’ve read kids should have three envelopes for their money:  one for saving money, one for spending money and one for money to give to charity.  We are always giving to charities.  Anytime anyone is collection donations for a charity outside a store we always give our kids money to put in the donation jar.  They also know that charity doesn’t just mean money.  They volunteer a lot with scouting and also see me volunteering at the local food pantry.

I am the first to admit that we don’t buy our kids a lot of stuff.  Because it’s just that.  STUFF!!  I see their rooms and they already have too much stuff.  I’m trying to rid our house of all the extra stuff.   We are not cheap.  We’d prefer to spend our money on experiences with the kids – vacations, nice meals in a restaurant, family fun days out.  We like to create memories with them, which stuff can’t do.   I still get disappointed though when my son makes comments like, “I don’t want to go shopping if I’m not going to get anything.”  Say what?!   I tell him to browse and add things to his wish list.  He has also noted that, “Mom says everything’s too expensive.”  Well, I don’t think that I’m totally off there either.  But this is where I need to teach him the value of money and how much things cost.

Those Lego sets, video games and clothes from Justice that the kids want do not come cheap!  We want them to be able to take pride in knowing that they saved up and purchased items with their own money. We are still in the difficult process of trying to figure out how best to teach this.

And so, I ask you readers… how do you teach your kids about money?  Any and all suggestions are welcome!



  1. Completely agree with you that kids should not be paid to do chores around the house since they are part of the family and every family works. I did not get an allowance but was expected to mow the lawn, take out the trash, help bring groceries in, do the dishes, etc. Nevertheless, I didn’t quite understand the value of money until I got a job and by then, it might have been too late because I spent my money pretty haphazardly. So, I’m interested in what your readers say, especially if they have real experience to share.

    With my 5yo, we tried tracking his chores on a calendar. If he brushed his teeth, made his bed, put his clothes away in the hamper, then he’d get a sticker. When he got 30 stickers, he received a small toy ($5 Paw Patrol figurine). However, he does not remind us to put stickers on the calendar. Sometimes he does his chores, sometimes he doesn’t. He doesn’t seem motivated by the toy. I want to encourage him to do his chores, but haven’t quite found the right system.

    As for allowance, I’ve also read the $1/wk for how they are. I’ve also read that simple chores don’t get money, but just like we get raises and more responsibility, kids can “work up” to larger jobs and bigger pay-outs, like mowing the lawn or doing a big project. It’s a hard subject. Can’t wait to hear what others say.

    • I never got an allowance either. We have a chore chart on our fridge but there’s no reward for completing them. It’s just who is supposed to feed the cats? Who needs to set the table? Etc.

  2. I find this discussion so interesting. I saw your instagram post yesterday (or was it two days ago?) and I knew I wanted to see what you wrote. I haven’t done too much, but being that my oldest is turning 5 soon and has taken on a “gimme gimme I want that” attitude, I need to teach him the value of money. I’m not a fan of basing the amount of an allowance on age because I was the youngest of four and felt I got the short end of the stick. I was ripped off! I really like the idea of teaching my son to earmark some of his money for charity and donations. Right now, we’re still in a stage of them getting excited that they got a sticker without the sticker being tied to a later value and so I’m just going to ride that train for a while. But I think I agree that I don’t want to tie family chores to money. Great topic Nancy.

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