Last Updated on October 31, 2023 by Stacy Earl

When it came time to teach my kids about credit and budgeting, I wanted a hands-on approach that would leave a lasting impression. Here’s what I did:

  • Started with Storytelling: I began with stories from my past – both successes and mistakes I made with money. These real-life examples provided them with a concrete foundation and made the lessons relatable.
  • Implemented an “Allowance System”: Each child received a weekly allowance, but there was a catch. They had to budget and account for their spending. They were given three jars labeled ‘Save’, ‘Spend’, and ‘Give’. Every week, we sat down and divided their allowance into these jars, emphasizing the importance of saving and charitable giving.
  • Introduced Them to “Mock Credit”: I lent them money beyond their allowance but made sure they understood it wasn’t free. If they borrowed $5, they owed $6 back, simulating interest. This quickly taught them about the real cost of borrowing.
  • Real-world Shopping Lessons: We went shopping with a set budget for specific items. This gave them a sense of how to prioritize needs over wants. If they saw something they wanted but hadn’t budgeted for, it became a lesson in waiting and planning for the future.
  • The “Family Budget Meeting”: Once a month, we held a simplified family budget meeting. They saw how income was allocated to necessities like housing, groceries, utilities, and also for leisure or vacations. This gave them an understanding of the broader financial picture.
  • Teaching the Value of Work: They had opportunities to earn extra money by taking up additional chores. This instilled a strong work ethic and the understanding that money doesn’t come easily.
  • Credit Card Statement Analysis: I showed them one of my credit card statements. We went through each transaction, discussed interest, and how timely payments affected my credit score.
  • Financial Literacy Resources: We watched videos, read books, and played board games centered around financial literacy. Games like “Monopoly” or “The Game of Life” became learning tools.
  • GoHenry: Through my account, I started a GoHenry account for each of them. BONUS: I got a $5 reward in KashKick just from starting a GoHenry account
  • Encouraging Questions: Above all, I fostered an environment where they felt comfortable asking questions about money. No question was considered “silly” or “trivial.”

Over time, these lessons started to click. I saw them making informed decisions with their allowance, saving up for bigger items, and understanding the value of patience and hard work. I’m proud to say that as they’ve grown older, they’ve carried these lessons with them, making responsible financial choices.