3 Good Money Examples Every Parent Should Set


Here's a scary statistic for you: 71% of parents are reluctant to discuss financial matters with their kids. I think the reason so many parents hold back from talking about money with their children is because they feel like they have nothing to offer. Or that kids don't need to learn about money until they're old enough to get a job. But there's a great deal they can learn from you during their younger years.

No matter what your financial situation is, how much debt you have, or what you make per year, you can master better financial habits that your kids can learn from. Lead by example with these three important practices.

Maintain a Giving Heart

When your kids are driving you nuts, and you just want to get from your car into the store or restaurant as fast as possible, someone begging for money can seem like an inconvenience. It can be tempting to blow off the person with thoughts like, Get a job, or I don't even have enough money for my own family. Instead, offer to buy the person a meal at the restaurant or a grocery item at the store you are about to enter.

This shows your children how to be giving and thoughtful of others. If the person does accept your offer, you can turn it into a simple teaching moment with your children. Say something like, "You know how we always have food to eat or how you have a bed to sleep in? Some people don't have anything."

Many times, the person in need will just want money. This is another great teachable moment. Encourage your children to help meet basic needs, but to not just foolishly throw their money at people. This goes for both homeless people and friends/family members who try to take advantage of others.

Avoid Impulse Buys

We see it in places like Target all the time: A child begs for every toy or sparkly thing. While the mother says, "no" firmly, she also has no reserve as she tosses a cute blouse and table décor into her cart.

I'm guilty of this, too. I'm pretty good at keeping my children in check with impulse buys at the store, but I didn't immediately realize that I needed the same lesson. Now when we shop, and my four-year old asks if we can buy something, I try to make that a teachable moment for both of us. I say, "Honey, I know you want a lot of things here, and so do I, but it is so important for us to buy only what we need today."

Does this mean you can never buy anything fun? Of course not. But plan and budget for the fun items, including your children in the process. Maybe saying something like, "Today we are going to pick out some holiday decorations. Our budget is $20 today. Can you help me pick out something?"

See also: 5 Easy Things Science Says You Should Do for Your Family

Set Financial Goals

Goals are extremely important in life. I'm not talking about vague and lofty goals such as, getting out of debt or saving $20,000 by January 1. You need to set concrete goals that have actionable steps, and keep progress of your goals until completion. Don't be afraid to tell older kids what your financial goals are for the year, and give them progress reports. It is important for children to learn that they can accomplish a huge variety of tasks — saving money, getting healthy, learning a skill, etc. — if they set and follow through with their goals.

To make this a family matter, come up with a fun vacation you can take together. Figure out the cost (don't forget to budget in money for unexpected extras) and the date. For example, if you are planning on spending $2,500 for a weekend vacation in six months, then you would need to save about $100 each week. Make it a fun game by drawing a chart that tracks progress.

Another way to help your child understand how to set financial goals is to have them set their own. For example, if they want a certain toy at the store, figure out how much it will cost. Then make a savings jar and a progress chart for them that relates to how much they earn per week through chores. Frugal-mama.com has a free savings goal printable to help you track progress.

See also: 8 Reasons Frugal Families Love Boardgame Night

Whether you don't want to burden your kids with your financial woes or you feel like you don't have enough information to give them, think again. You don't have to share every money worry or goal with them, but show them how you manage money and teach them basic financial fundamentals in a fun manner.

Like this article? Pin it!

Disclaimer: The links and mentions on this site may be affiliate links. But they do not affect the actual opinions and recommendations of the authors.

Wise Bread is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Guest's picture
Jonathan Dyer

These are great examples. I'm a big believer in teaching your kids good financial habits by talking openly money and displaying good behavior yourself. Making it somewhat fun certainly doesn't hurt either ;)

/** Fix admin settings safe to ignore showing on unauthenticated user **/