With summer finally here, it’s the perfect time of year to get your kids working and to teach them the value of money.
Today, we have everything at our fingertips. If we need information, it’s available in a few seconds with a quick Google search. If we need money, it’s just a quick negotiation with our bank for a line of credit, or, even simpler, with a credit card company that is already swooning us with gifts and free swag to sign up. Nowadays, when we want something, we want it now, and it doesn’t matter if we actually have the money in the bank to pay for it.
Back to basics
Let’s take a step back for a minute and think about our grandparents and the baby boomer generation. They worked hard for their money and they saved every penny. Nothing was wasted or taken for granted, and just because you had a dollar today, it didn’t mean that you would have a dollar tomorrow.
This summer, I suggest kicking it back old school. Many of you probably already have your kids doing chores and earning money, so why not kick it up a notch?
Every time your child asks for something–a treat from the ice-cream man, a day at the water slides, or a week at camp–ask them how much money they have and if they can afford it. This is easy to do with the nominal items. For the more expensive items that you are buying for them, help them understand the cost.
For example, lets take a week at camp that costs $200. If you pay your child $10 to vacuum the house, then you can tell him that he would have to vacuum the house 20 times in order to earn enough money to pay for camp. Even though you are paying for it and he won’t necessarily have to vacuum 20 times, it will help him understand how much money it really is and the work it takes to earn it.
I suggest using this exercise every time you fork out cash to buy something for your children to really teach them the value of money.
Extra work means extra money
In addition to the household chores your kids are already doing, help them earn more money by doing yard work outside and encourage them to go around to the neighbours and ask if there is any work they can do for them.
They can set up a lemonade stand or a mini garage sale where they can sell their old video games, toys, and clothes. They could even join forces with their friends and wash all the cars in the neighbourhood. Other ideas include babysitting, petsitting, dog walking, tutoring, etc.
Encourage them to get creative and come up with new ways to earn money. The bottom line is that if they want new things or want to enjoy fun experiences, they will need to earn the money to pay for them.
Desirée Dupuis is a Licensed Financial Advisor and partner of Three Sixty Financial Group. Desirée provides financial education to young families and empowers moms to make the best decision for their family’s financial future.