Money Tips You Wish You Had Learned As a Kid

Money tips you wish you had learned as a kid: practical tips to help you confidently teach your kids about money today, and for their future.

If you’re anything like me, there are countless money tips you wish you had learned as a kid from your parents…or perhaps you wish you had listened to more. In this post, I’ll share with you simple and effective ways for kids to earn and save money like a pro.

Remember how you were always on the lookout for ways to earn money? There were risks and consequences when you considered selling the Hostess cupcake pack in your school lunch, or your brother’s Sony Disc man without him knowing.

Now that you’re a parent, you’re determined to make sure your kids are aware of risks and harm from tweezing their brows too much, falling for the guy in high school with a TAZ tattoo on his back, and forgetting to return those Blockbuster movies on time. No…just me?

Let’s make sure that we also share this side of money management with them too.

Making the commitment as a parent

You’re committed to your kids.

Yep, you’re committed, from the first moment you held them in your arms. You’re committed to loving them with every ounce of your being, teaching them all you know, and committed to helping them get as much out of life as humanly possible.

I’ve got to know..were you naive about money as a kid? Were there money tips you wish you had learned as a kid?

I’m going out on a limb here, and tell me if I’m wrong, but like me, I’m betting you didn’t learn ALL the things you needed to know about money as a teen or young adult. So, without a care in the world, you leaped into adulthood, completely oblivious to how naïve you were about real life. There were lots of learning curves, a few mistakes (we won’t mention those) – and unfortunately for many, a pile of debt that you’re clearing up even now.

Money, kids, and the hard knock life of employment

It all starts with one big thing – a job.

Let’s commit to helping our kids start out with more education and understanding than we had regarding money management and work.

Yep, that’s where it all begins – and you know a thing or two about jobs. I bet you’re a pro in your career of choice and understand exactly what it takes to earn a paycheck regularly.

So, why should your sweet kiddo enter the hard-knock life of employment at a youthful age? Because well, that’s real life, my friend. What better way to help prepare them than to let them experience how it works!

10 Ways Your Kids Can Earn Money

With that being said, I’m going to share with you ten simple ways your kids can learn to earn and save money. We’re going back to the basics folks. The time-tested money lessons you and I should have learned… well, we’ll just say, “years ago”. I guarantee these will be some tips you wish you had learned as a kid!

1. Commission Based Chore Chart

Money tips you wish you had learned as a kid: practical tips to help you confidently teach your kids about money today, and for their future.

Yes! Your kids can finally do a few chores around the house. Have you ever heard of a commission-based chore chart? If not, I highly recommend this as introduced by Dave Ramsey with Financial Peace Jr. for kids.

You may say, “my kids already get an allowance.” Here’s the deal though-an allowance is simply a dole out of X dollars to kids by parents regularly. There may be chores, there may not be – but your kids are losing the correlation between work and money in translation.

How do the commission-based chores work you ask? Your kids begin by tracking chores they completed. They receive a paycheck on ‘payday’ for the work they did.

Work = money. No work = no money.

A full chart showing lots of chores done = more money. A little work = less money.

Simple as that. It’s a win-win!

What would you pay to not be a slave to the dishes?

My daughters are now 9 and 11 years old, and I’m happy to pay out their commissions for the work they helped with around the house.

FINALLY, I am no longer a slave to the dishes.

I’m not loading or unloading. I’m very willing to pay seventy-five cents per load and fifty cents to unload to have a clean kitchen and 20 minutes back of my life!

An important reminder I want to add-not all chores come with a price tag.

Now, don’t get me wrong! Not all household chores come at a rate. Things like cleaning your room and feeding your own pet come as simply responsibilities for keeping residence here. There has to be a balance, or you end up raising kids that won’t lift a finger unless you are handing them cash.

2. Pet Care Jobs Close to Home

Caring for pets is quite a responsibility. Often, friends and neighbors may need support caring for their pets as well.

Gone on vacation? Visiting Grandma? Your kids can feed the pets, spend a little time giving them some love, and ensure the water bowl has fresh water.

For the older child with strong arms and a love for dogs, there’s always dog walking! Keeping the business just in your neighborhood alone can provide opportunities regularly and still keep them close to home.

3. The Overlooked Mother’s Helper

This is a new concept for me. I didn’t realize that a young child could be helpful around the house with parents still at home. Silly me! A dear friend of mine is a mother to five young children and, knowing that my oldest had recently completed her babysitting training course, asked if she’d be available as a mother’s helper. This is essentially “helping a momma out.” They could simply hold the baby or do small chores around the house, helping to keep the toddlers out of trouble, or assisting with a craft project.

4. Babysitting, but with Better Pay

For the child ready to graduate from mother’s helper, there’s the traditional babysitting job. Your house, their house, one kid, four kids, date night or workday. The mix is endless, and babysitting is still in high demand, just like when we were teens. Although the going rate is far more lucrative than the $5 per day, I received for my first gig. Why is it that some of the most important jobs want to pay the least?

Set your child up for success by enrolling them in a training course to get the basics and take ownership of the responsibility of caring for children. Not for the faint of heart, as you know. Many times, the YMCA offers a babysitting course and first aid certification.

5. Baking Has Never Been Sweeter

Cookies? Banana bread? Cake pops? If your child enjoys being in the kitchen, and you have shared the difference between the TBSP and the tsp, then perhaps you can unleash them in the kitchen for a fun bake-off, turned bake sale. You know their grandparents will be their first customers, and before too long you could have folks knocking on the door wondering when the Friday cookies will be ready.

This is a more advanced ‘role’ but not only helps teach a real-life cooking lesson but also the basics of sales and marketing. Imagine filling the mailboxes in your neighborhood with DIY signs, cute little gel pen drawings, and fair pricing for homemade treats.

Once a week? Once a month? You can guide your little entrepreneur as they bake their way to a nice, delicious payday while making one heck of a mess in your kitchen.

Note to self: check the chore chart above, to confirm someone has dish duty before agreeing to this. ?

6. Yard Maintenance

If your kid is trustworthy with a mower at your house, your neighbors may need help as well and be willing to pay for services. Not ready for mowing? Weed pulling is always in high demand in my place. Send them my way!

Let’s face it, grown-ups are busy and unless someone has yard maintenance as their love language, it’s not mowed as often as it should unless it’s hired out. Your kid will have regular and recurring customers, especially at their price point.

7. Yard Sale or Sidewalk Stand

Lemonade, iced tea, cookies, fidgets, Pokémon Cards? Whatever sale they can run on their own in the yard or on the sidewalk to hustle a little dough. Heck, they can have their own mini yard sale with the toys they don’t use anymore. Let them organize it and take their proceeds all the way to the bank!

8. Car Washing

I hope you have friendly neighbors because when they see your kids doing a Saturday car wash, they’ll be over! If you trust your older kids with a hose and a sponge, they can knock on a few doors, and they’ll get a few takers to have their car washed. Waxing might push it, but a good cleaning with only a few missing areas is probably worth an Alexander Hamilton, right?

9. Trending Arts & Crafts Sale

Does your child have a talent for making Perler bead magnets or friendship bracelets? List those items for sale! Or, take them to that stand mentioned above. Let them use their knack for arts and crafts to their advantage and make a few extra bucks.

10. Big Project-Big Payday

Similar to the chore chart, this is often an “at home” item that is rare in nature – but potentially worth big bucks. Spring cleaning the garage or washing the cars inside and out are not regular occurrences in our household, but can be eligible for a nice payday every so often.

But..that’s not all.

Now you and your kiddo have some interviews prep to do. Kidding! But, you have a great jumping-off point for a discussion about their first job.

How to Teach Your Kids Money Management

A job is not the only part of proper money management.

You may think having a job is the only part of proper money management, but it’s actually not. It doesn’t show you how to manage the money at all, but it actually gives you some money to mismanage! Simply put, we learn by doing well..or not so well.

What’s the lesson that’s next on the docket for your kiddo?

Split whatever income earned from work three ways:

  • Setting goals (for savings)
  • Having self-control (for spending)
  • Realizing that this world is so much bigger than self (giving).

10% (plus or minus) to charity or cause of choice is ideal for giving.

Do you attend a local church? That’s a wonderful place to donate, but explain what the money goes to support. It’s not directly to God himself.

Is your child enthusiastic about pets? The local humane society would be a good fit. Does your kiddo have a heart for the homeless community? Use their giving money to buy bottles of water and granola bars or clean socks to hand out from the car.

When your child can see what good comes from sharing a bit of their own money, the world becomes a better place.

Are you practicing charitable giving?

Parent check now! Are you practicing charitable giving? Even if you start with a small percentage or dollar amount to a local charity, or buy a handful of clearance winter coats to donate to a foster kid coat drive – it’ll make a difference! Not only for the recipient, but for you, too.

As a helpful reminder, 50% of the remaining funds should go to a savings goal!

Something big-ish, all age-dependent, and parent-approved of course – this should be something that they’ve been eyeing or asking for and will take several weeks (months even) to get that amount.

Waiting is hard, but oh what a pay-off!

Realizing that not everything just magically appears when we want it is an important lesson. We have to wait. And wait..and wait sometimes. Waiting sucks. I don’t care if you’re 7 or 47. Getting into the habit of normalizing waiting will give your child the skill and muscle memory to save for larger purchases as an adult as well.

Did anyone else buy a Bow flex on credit in their twenties? No? Well, good for you.

My youngest daughter saved for months for a hoverboard. She takes care of it better than any other trike, bike, or other wheeled devices she’s had – because she bought it with her own hard-earned money.

50% of the remaining funds should be spent.

What should they spend the remaining funds on? Whatever their little heart desires. Try not to put too much restriction on this. This “freedom” to spend instills the idea that when you work, you get paid money and when you get money – you can buy stuff with it.

Some advice from an expert on this is Cameron Huddleston. She agrees with me on this, and shared as much in an article contributed to Forbes about how to teach your child good money habits. “Kids need to have money of their own so they can learn how to decide about using it.”

Money is a tool to get things, plain and simple. As we become adults, things involving money are far less fun – like utilities and insurance. But they certainly can be fun, like vacations, home decor, and Apple products. We decide daily how we’re going to spend money based on what is most important to us.

Your kids and their money

Let your kids decide how they spend their money.

Parental support. Splitting up the money into the 10/50/50 division doesn’t need to be a challenging task. Round up or down, but don’t make this too complicated. Let your child decide if they want to put more toward saving or spending if one amount is larger than the other, and don’t worry about busting out your coin purse to make the exact percentages.

An example of this:

  • $12 Earned
  • $1 – Giving
  • $6 – Save (or Spend)
  • $5 – Spend (or Save)

The envelope system helps to visually see their money.

Have your child place their money in three distinct envelopes (or areas) so they don’t forget, because that’s a legit issue. Label those envelopes with the name of what they’re saving for, or the charity to which they’ll be contributing. Make it visible and real!

Money tips you wish you had learned as a kid: practical tips to help you confidently teach your kids about money today, and for their future.
65 Ways to Save

If you’re interested in saving a bit of grown-up dough of your own, check out my free resource 65 Ways to Save, and you’ll be on your way to doing so before you know it.

I hope that you’re feeling a little more prepared and confident to help your kid launch into the world of making and managing their money. I know you can do it!

Sarah is a Ramsey Preferred Coach
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