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Teach kids money management
Donna Krug

Money Management is a skill that is learned at an early age. Parents play an important role in teaching children how to manage money. The best teacher is a parent who sets a good example. Take time during this summer break to do activities that will help children understand that family spending depends on your own family’s income, obligations, and values, not on what friends or neighbors spend. 

Even pre-school aged children can begin to learn basic concepts about money. Here are some tips to help reinforce their learning.

• Play store with your children. Let them buy and sell toys, food, or “pretend” items. You can use play money for this activity.

• Help children understand that family members work to pay for family needs like housing, food, clothes, etc. A visit to the workplace helps children know what you do and why you have to be away from home. 

• Explain why they can’t buy everything. Talk about the difference between what people want and what they need. 

• Encourage children to buy some things to share with others – food, games, puzzles, balls, crayons, etc.

• Introduce children to coins when they are old enough to count to 10. Talk about what different coins can buy. As children get older, (6 to 12 year olds), you can add these learning opportunities.

• Give children a chance to make shopping decisions. Show them how to comparison shop.

• Get children involved with family money management by making out monthly checks and addressing envelopes. Let them gather information before a major family purchase.

• Provide opportunities for children to earn money.

And then there are the teenage years when you need to remind kids that money does not grow on a tree in the back yard.

• Let teenagers manage their own money. Have them be responsible for paying many of their personal expenses, especially if they are “wants.”

• Encourage teens to earn money by working at a part-time job. Make sure the number of hours worked still allows enough time for studying and social time with friends. 

• This is a great time to help young people understand when to use cash and when to use credit.

• Encourage long-range planning related to education, career and the future.

I do have some great resources at the Extension Office that can help reinforce these money management practices. Give me a call or e-mail me and I will be happy to share!

Donna Krug is the Family & Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District. Contact her at 620-793-1910 or