Kids & Money

Kids & Money Management in lockdown…& beyond!

It's certainly a crazy and uncertain time for all of us; our families, communities and businesses locally & across the globe. We're all in the fight to slow/stop the spread of COVID-19 but for many parents who have suddenly become teachers overnight there is a lot of extra stuff to now deal with. With belts tightening and many households feeling the financial pinch right now, it's actually a great time for kids to learn about the value of money! Unfortunately, the economic impact of the pandemic will be felt for some time to come. This means understanding your personal finances is particularly important right now, even at an early age.

We are big believers in kids learning to develop positive and consistent financial habits from a young age and we put a lot of value into earning and saving money. Back in 2013, research carried out by the University of Canterbury in the UK, found that kids have developed some high-level understanding of money attitudes and habits by the age of seven years old - so now is a great chance to break what could be the silence in your household, and start talking about money and finances with your kids. Getting kids comfortable and confident talking about money now, will prove invaluable and steer them well through life, helping them to avoid financial pressures in the future.

Here are our tips, chat ideas and activities to help teach your kids money management - in between all the baking, hut making and board games being played!

1. Review the household budget expenses

Let's face it, money is likely to be a little tighter for many of us. This makes budgeting all the more important! Why not involve your kids in the budget plan for the week? With less running around, there is less need to spend money - what is the minimum "spending" budget you could set for your family? See if the kids can help you stick to it! Get them involved the next time you pay a bill online or compare electricity providers to find some savings from a different provider. Get them to figure out as many ways to save money around the house - turn off unnecessary lights at night, pull curtains to keep in the warmth, turn off switches at the wall when not in use.

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2. Play Shop

If there was ever a time for our inner child to come out - now would be it! When was the last time you played shops? Playing shops with the kids is a great way to talk about money - what are needs, what are wants, what is expensive, what is cheap? Line up the tins, set up a veggie aisle and make some price labels together. Set challenges, the kids have to buy food for dinner and only spend $20! How many times do you think you will be the customer or the shopkeeper?

3. $15 family meal challenge

No doubt the kids are likely to be a) eating you out of house and home b) frequenting the fridge more and c) asking you at 9am what’s for dinner?  With all the interest in food why not get them involved in preparing a meal for the family for just $15. Armed with the budget, get them to plan a menu, write a shopping list and then go online to figure out what they can afford. Help them understand the variations in price between house brands and branded products - how much can be saved if not going for the fancy packaged variants?

4. Needs and Wants

Trips to the supermarket have certainly changed for the time being! Rather than taking time to stroll the aisles, we're encouraged to know what we want before we go there and focus on the essentials. This makes it a great time to teach kids about needs and wants. When the financial pinch is on, we have to prioritise spending choices to cover essential needs, rather than the nice-to-haves. A list of needs might include milk and bread! A list of wants might include those ice blocks and some chocolate biscuits! Can your kids identify needs and wants on your shopping list?

5. Delayed gratification = achievable savings goals

WAIT. That's our biggest piece of advice. It's so tempting to purchase in a split second without really thinking about. To simply WAIT - walk away, think about it for a minute, do you really need it? What benefit will it bring you? Will you regret it later? Is it the best use of your hard-earned cash? WAIT - this is the best advice we can give. The fancy term for it is "delayed gratification", we call it simply good sense! Use this opportunity to set a savings goal - while they can't be out shopping and tempted to spend, they can start to understand delayed gratification, and by waiting, the must-haves may become less urgent making it easier to reach their savings goals.

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6. Create a chores chart & earn pocket money

With many of us working from home, it's a great time to show our kids how we spend our days working to earn our money. Albeit our office looks a bit different these days! It's also a great time to allocate chores, including those you've been avoiding - and give the kids a chance to make some extra pocket money. Organising cupboards, sorting out the garage, doing some work in the garden - these are all great ways to be productive whilst demonstrating the hard work / earn reward equation!  Is that the end to thinking money grows on trees I hear you saying!

7. Encourage a budding kidpreneur!

A great way for kids to pass the time productively is to work on that enterprising idea they've had bubbling away! Budding entrepreneurs might enjoy creating bracelets, arts and crafts, picture frames, candles or bookmarks so they can launch their product or service to friends and family. Do you have a young business person in the family?

8. Find savings in a working week

Get the kids to help you review a week’s worth of costs of Mum or Dad going to work - transport, parking, running a car, coffees, lunches, the office snack machine - where can savings be made, try to save $25 out of the weekly expenses as a minimum to put into action post lockdown.

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9. Discuss a past regret spend

Do you have a regret about money from your past? Perhaps something you wish you had done differently or learnt from? Is this something you could share with your kids (the family-friendly version of course!) Your kids might already have made spending decisions they have regretted. Spending all that hard saved pocket money on lollies that were gone in an instant perhaps? Every big spend is an opportunity to learn - looking back, was it a great decision? What could you learn from it? Would you do the same again? These conversations will help you & your family make smarter spending decisions in the future!

10. Lockdown clean-up

Use this time to declutter and get in an early spring clean - what do the kids/you no longer need or use? Pick a charity you'd like to donate your stuff to and drop it off when we're at an alert level that makes social distancing a thing of the past! Or list it on TradeMe and earn some savings!