Over the years, I’ve gathered practical
money lessons and fun training activities
parents can use. Keep in mind that, like
any learning, their lessons must be age-
appropriate. And of course, kids learn
best by participation and example, not by
Here are five lessons to help your kids
learn great money habits—and have fun
1. Money is Exchanged for Things
Kids don’t necessarily make the connection between money and the groceries,
clothes and toys that show up in your
home—especially if they only see you
take that plastic card out of your wallet at
the store! Use the following activities to
reinforce that connection.
Sort coins and bills together. Depending on their age and math skills,
you can have your children stack ten
pennies to equal a dime or even have
them make change.
Make shopping lists together. Let your
child help make the grocery list. Show
them how you decide what you’ll need at
the store. Explain why you don’t include
other items on your list.
Pay cash at the store. Paying cash has
two benefits. First, it will help your child
grasp the connection between money
and buying things. Second, studies show
that you’ll actually spend about 20%
less—without feeling deprived!
Let your child choose and buy a small
item with coins. Let him or her count
out the coins for the right amount to
the cashier. The extra time this takes
will be well worth the confidence your
2. Creating Spending Plans
Even young children can begin to decide
how they will spend their money. Older
children can set longer term goals and
manage larger amounts.
Create “Spend, Share and Save” images. Discuss what each category
means. “Spend” is for things they will
buy that week (or, for older kids, within that month). “Save” is the money
put away for a larger purchase or goal.
“Share” is the money they will give to
a worthy cause of their choice or tithe
to your church. Have them cut out or
draw images that represent these concepts for them.
Set simple goals for each category.
Young children’s goals must be very simple and not very far out into the future!
But even a four year old can set a goal to
“save $1.50 for the poor children.” Write
these simple goals on a sheet of paper.
Make “Spend, Save and Share” envelopes. Have your child make colorful envelopes for the three basic parts of their
spending plan. Every time they receive
money, have them immediately divide it
into these envelopes.
Create Spending Plans. Children who
are a bit older and who have some math
skills can graduate from envelopes to cre-
ate simple spending plans for themselves.
(See the “Spending Plan for Kids” exam-
ple). Start with weekly spending plans;
then help them with monthly plans once
they get the hang of it.
3. Money is Earned (ages 4-12)
No, money does not grow on trees! But
kids don’t necessarily grasp that what you
or your spouse do all day while you’re
away from home (or from home) is what
allows you to put food on the table and
toys in the toy box. Help them understand how your family earns money and
let them earn some of their own.
Take your child to work. Some employers encourage this; some do not. If you
can’t bring your child to the workplace,
take excursions to explain what you do.
Show them the house Mommy designed
or the law books Dad studies to help his
Create a list of kid-friendly chores. Together, decide on small chores they can
do to earn extra money. Set a “wage” for
each one. Older children can even invoice you at the end of the week. (Make
Spending Plan for Kids — Example
Money I Have to Spend How Much What I Did to Earn This Money
Money I Earned $4.25 Folded laundry, leaves, fed dog
Allowance $6.50 Kept room clean, did homework
Gifts $20 Birthday from Granny
Money Going Out How Much Why I Want to Use that Money
Things I Want to Buy Now
1. Mom Present $20.00 Necklace and earrings she likes
2. LEGO Krawl $6.50
Money I want to Give $2.00 For Sunday School Africa project
Money for My Goal $4.00 Save up for another LEGO
Do I Have enough money? Yes! With $2 for my goal!
your family earns
money and let
them earn some
of their own.