How to Boost Your Kids’ Money Smarts this Summer

Wondering what to do with all that quality time with your kids over the summer? Why not use this year’s summer break to boost their financial IQ?

According to a Barkley report, Gen Z has an overall spending power of $100 billion. Marketers might be rejoicing, but parents are likely not.

Without financial smarts to know how to manage their finances, your kids will be prey to ad campaigns aimed at taking money out of their pockets. Debt, bankruptcy, and money woes could follow. Fortunately, there are now resources for helping individuals climb out of situations like filing for bankruptcy (see Prevention, however, is always the best option.

A financial education is just as needed as your kids’ academics. Unfortunately, this is not taught or emphasized enough in today’s public school system. The good news is that you can start at home, today.

Here are the activities that will boost your kids’ money smarts this summer!

Let them earn their own pocket money

Nothing teaches the value of money more than letting a kid earn some for themselves. Encourage their money-making ideas. Brainstorm ideas with them if they have a hard time coming up with their own.

For example, they could set up a lemonade stand. Or sell cookies to neighbors. Some parents use chores as a way for their children to earn their weekly allowance.

Through taking on age-appropriate summer jobs, they learn basic lessons on pricing, startup costs, and the value of labor. A great result? They will be less inclined to spend on useless purchases after they worked hard to earn their own cash.

Give them a budget for snacks and treats

Tired of saying “no” to your kids’ entreaties for money to buy junk food or snacks each time you enter a store?

You could give them a budget for the week or the month and tell them that it needs to last for the whole month. But then once they run out, you will need to stand firm. This only works if you do not cave in and shell out cash once they run out.

Give them an expense book or a “bank book” where they log their purchases and account for the money they spent. Make faithful accounting a condition of allowing them to be in control of their budget for snacks or treats.

Take them grocery shopping

Use your weekly grocery shopping to teach children the principles that guide your shopping behaviors.

Give your child a calculator or use the calculator app on your phone and have him or her keep a running tally of everything that goes in the cart. This will give them an opportunity to practice math skills, while also showing them the price of household items.

Knowing that there is a price tag for everything in the house can help kids appreciate and better care for belongings.

Talk goals and steps to get there

Is there an item that your kid has been pestering you about? A new tablet? Toy? Computer game? Or an outing to somewhere that is outside of what you have planned for this summer?

This is an excellent time to teach your child about setting financial goals. First, discuss the cost of the desired item. Then talk about how your child will earn that amount or how he or she plans to budget his or her allowance in order to purchase the desired item.

Break it down into small increments, so that your child can see how large goals can be achieved through a series of small steps.

This will not only boost his or her money IQ, but goal setting is a vital skill that can be used throughout one’s life.

Read books, together as a family, that cultivate good money sense

The more open you are as a family about money, the more opportunities you will have to instill your values in your children.

An excellent way to accomplish this is to purchase and read with your children age-appropriate books on money. Choose books that are not only of the self-help variety. Stories of famous individuals who worked hard to earn a living at a young age can cultivate a good work ethic. And an appreciation for what it means to be financially capable of caring for one’s family.

Teaching your kids solid money habits will not only benefit your present house budget. More importantly, it will contribute to their own financial stability when they reach adulthood.