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The best time to start teaching kids about money is early on. It might seem silly to talk money with a toddler, but even the basics are helpful. So, where to start?

start small… and young

When it comes to teaching toddlers and kindergartners about money, keeping it simple is key. An easy way to start is by using a clear jar to save money. That way, they can see the money adding up. 

Another great way to teach them is to have them handle some of your financial transactions. When buying something at a store or restaurant, have them hand the cash or credit card directly to the cashier. This shows them the concept that buying and selling involves money. 

 Demonstrate your own healthy habits with money. For example, try to avoid buying everything with credit cards. They might notice and pick up on these habits later in life. 

keep it going 

By the time kids reach elementary and middle school, they should understand basic money concepts, so now you can show them more complex examples. For instance, this is a great age to start earning their own money. They probably can’t get a job yet, but you could start paying them an allowance to do chores around the house. They can then use their own money to buy things they want. 

This is the perfect time to teach them about impulse buying. They’ll learn that just because they WANT something, it doesn’t mean they need it. You can share with them that it’s better to save that money for something else they might want in the future. If you can, set them up with a savings account. They’ll be able to see their money grow, and it’ll encourage them to keep saving.    

Finally, at this age, kids can start to understand the basics of budgeting. When shopping at a grocery store, for example, talk to them about how much you have to spend and what you have to buy, and how to stop when you reach your budget. They’ll start to understand that money isn’t unlimited, and to think when you spend. 

talk green to your teen 

By the time your kid is a teenager, they can understand budgeting, earning, and buying things with money. What now? How about teaching them about debit and credit cards?  

A debit card is the perfect option for teens to learn to manage their own money, and it’s easy for them to track their saving and spending with the tons of apps and websites available.  

Kids under 18 can’t apply for a credit card, but you can still explain to them how credit cards, interest and payments work. That way, they’ll be better prepared to make smart financial decisions in adulthood. 

At this age, teens can get jobs, which give them the chance to earn and save even more. Young teens can babysit, do yardwork, wash cars and more to earn money; older teens can get jobs at a local store or restaurant. If they can balance a job with school and other activities, they’ll also be learning how to budget their time. 

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