Precious, timely, unplanned things happen every now and then when it comes to our money… granting you the opportunity to zero in on a situation and turn it into a ‘teachable moment’ for your kids!
Maybe the lesson was not possible before because they didn’t notice, weren’t ready, or were just plain uninterested in what you had to say. Not interested in my wisdom! What!? No….J To make the task a little easier, here are some common moments that we’ve identified that you can watch for and be ready to pounce on within your family life.
We fully acknowledge that every kiddo is different, and you might decide to incorporate some, all, or none of these lessons, depending on their age and your personal money values.
The Situation: Checking the Mail
Sending kids to the mailbox is a chore often assigned at a young age. But do they ever ask you questions about what’s inside those envelopes they proudly tote back? “Just bills,” you might reply with a sigh. But what if you sat down at the table and opened a few of those bills to show them? Explain what they are for and how they must be paid on time so that you can keep your lights on, maintain your cell phone, keep your credit score in great shape etc.
Learning about bills doesn’t need to create stress for kids if the parent doesn’t emulate stress, fear, and anxiety when talking about budgets ‘n’ bills. As we know, children both young and old have quite the knack for picking up on others’ feelings about something… so, if finances are stressful for you and you can’t cover it up, maybe skip this one for now.
For yourself, you may want to chat to a financial advisor for assistance with budgeting and finances to help you stay on top of it all. You can reach out to any Cashco branch to ask for help with this! We’d love to hear from you.
Wait… we got off track. This was supposed to be about the kids!
The Situation: Banking with a Banker at the Bank
If you’re heading into the bank to do some personal banking with a youngster in tow, why not let them do some banking of their own? Then, they can experience how to confidently speak to a teller and learn some basic terminology. If they have a money jar of savings or some coins, get them to roll them and bring them into the bank to deposit into their savings account. Even stepping up to the teller and asking for their balance is great exercise for a very young child with a savings account who likely isn’t checking their balance online yet. Our tellers will be happy to help them through these transactions.
The Situation: Do You Want Fries with That?
Add-on sales are EVERYWHERE! From, “Do you want fries with that,” to “You’ve qualified for our special offer. For only $20 more you can get this cozy blanket that is normally $49.99!”
Even for an adult these offers are easy to jump at. It’s called upselling and it is a widely used sales tactic built to make consumers spend more money on a side dish, an accessory, or simply add another item to their cart (to qualify for free shipping of course). Upselling works because the customer is ready to buy, and that add-on makes them feel like they are getting a good deal.
If your child is old enough to understand the concept, we suggest that you share some basics about advertising with them and discuss how the advertiser might make it appear as though they are on our side when they’re actually on the side of making more sales! Check this out for some great information on how you can help this highly-marketed-to generation understand and develop some resistance against the advertisements that are quite literally coming at them from all directions.
The Situation: Lost and Broken Stuff
Taking care of your things is a general life lesson. Treating your belongings with care and respect so that they last is important. If you don’t, there are financial consequences in addition to the damage or loss of your personal belongings.
For example, if you’ve bought your child a new skateboard and they carelessly left it at the skate park, what could you do? In terms of money, if you give them an allowance you could replace the skateboard and essentially garnish their allowance until the skateboard was paid off. This directly transfers into learning how to pay back a loan, and if you hold them to their payments, you’ll likely see a positive change in personal responsibility and care surrounding their belongings. After all, if we replace things that they break with no consequences, they will never learn the respect, care, and financial impact of not taking care of their stuff.
The Situation: They Keep Wasting Their Money
Every child is going to be different when dealing with their money. You might have one that socks everything away, easily saving masses of money, while the other always seems to have no money and lots of stuff—stuff that Mom or Dad knew was going to be a waste of money when they purchased that plastic toy in the first place, but they just had to have it.
This might be a great time to help them see what they clearly don’t see at the time of purchase. To action this lesson, have them gather up as many of these items that they can and pile them on the table. Think of a clever name like the Table of Lost Toys or the Cemetery of Unused Crap-ola. Next, add up how much these items cost and spark a conversation about what all of these choices added up to financially.
Did they get as much value out of these items as compared to what they spent?
If they didn’t make these choices, how much would they have and what fantastic item could they afford?
This isn’t to make them feel too badly about their decisions; we all have things we have purchased that are essentially collecting dust! Maybe you can make your own pile on the table as well to make them feel like its learning time for everyone. The purpose is to start to change their mindset when it comes to the all-important purchase decisions we face. For them to simply take a moment’s pause and ask, ‘Do I reallllly need this?’ And that’s the kind of thinking that everyone can benefit from!
What Do You Wish You Had Known?
Another great source to draw on for inspiration is YOU! Think about the things you wish your parents had taught you about money and make a mental note to look for opportunities to pass on your money knowledge and values within your own family.