In this house, we both work with finances and we both work from home. Being self-employed, we are not always sure what the next months of income are going to look like, so we try to be smart about it, mainly by budgeting. As any parents our hopes and wishes for the kids is that they will grow up to happy but also financially independent and smart. We think a lot about how we can do that.
Given the fact that money is a big part of what we do, and because we do it at home, the kids can’t help to overhear occasionally. Lately we have gotten questions like; how much money do we have? Or, do we have enough? Very relevant questions that are not easy to answer. With the kids it is a fine line; while we do want them to know that money does not grow on trees, come from hard work and must managed properly, they are just kids and shouldn’t be too involved or have to worry about things like money.
Because that we live according to a budget, I feel that it makes it easier to set a limit for us, and for them, on certain expenses like groceries, activities and eating out. By telling them that we have reached a certain limit, which means that we either have to wait with that certain thing or alternatively, try to do it differently with less, or no, funds.
Last week, Dear Husband was going to the supermarket and our youngest asked for him to buy him a snack. While our eldest earns a bit of money occasionally on her own, babysitting for the neighbors and such, which gives her some sense of where (some of her) money comes from, our youngest, still hasn’t had any experience. As we collect our bottles but hardly ever take them to the shop to get the deposit back, Dear Husband told him that he can take some bottles from the back yard, get the deposit money with them, and buy something for himself. He told him how much approximately he would need, told how much each bottle is worth, did the math and collected the bottles, got the money, bought the snack and was very pleased about it.
Money is such an abstract form and as hard it is for us to understand the proportions of it, it is so much harder for our kids. I hope that small experiments like these can help translate into real-life situations where an idea is translated into something concrete – how much to I need and how hard do I have to work for it, to get the thing I want.
And as to the questions of how much we have and how much is enough, I sincerely hope that they will be able to answer for themselves one day.
How do you teach your kids about money? I would love to hear your tips, tricks and experiences!