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Raising Financially Savvy Kids

Money Savvy Kids

Even if your kids are cooped up indoors, there are lots of ways to keep them engaged and learning while they’re at home.

April is National Financial Literacy Month. It's the perfect time to focus on your child's financial literacy and teach them the money skills they'll need throughout their lives. Here are some simple steps to boost your child’s financial know-how at every age.

Financial Building Blocks (Young Children)

Financial literacy for kids can start with something as simple as counting. Helping your 3- or 4-year-old compare different numbers of objects will provide a great foundation for the more advanced concepts they’ll learn later.

Once they're old enough, teaching kids about money can start with playing with some loose change. Talk to your child – in simple terms – about the difference between denominations like pennies and dimes.

Play "store" at home, using real money and pretend groceries, to learn about buying and selling. Talk about how different things have different prices and show why you can’t afford to buy everything in the store.

This is a good time to teach them about choosing between wants vs. needs, one of the most important lessons in financial literacy. Sure, your child may want to spend money on a toy, but, if there’s only enough money to buy a food item, explain why choosing a necessity is a better choice.

It's also a great time to help kids save money with a piggy bank or jar that they can decorate.

Money Management 101 (Bigger Kids)

Once your child is old enough, start paying them a small allowance connected to assigned chores (cleaning their room, sweeping the floor, etc.). This introduces another big lesson: that money must be earned.

Have your child set up three clear jars in their bedroom, labeled Spend, Save, and Give. Help them divvy up their allowance and birthday money into each.

  • The Spend jar is for small, day-to-day items (like a candy bar).
  • The Save jar is for long-term goals. Help your child discover how the Save jar continues to fill up with money, while the Spend jar does not.
  • The Give jar is the portion of their money they'll spend on birthday presents for their siblings or give to charity (reinforcing another key concept: generosity).

Sure, kids aren't known for thinking long-term, but teaching them to budget and categorize expenses will help them consider, and pursue, long-term goals.

Encourage your child to keep filling their Save jar so they can buy something they really want, not just an impulse purchase. The pride of buying something special with their own savings may inspire them to keep saving throughout their life.

And speaking of savings...

Now's the time to open your child's first account. Here at Dover Federal Credit Union, our Kids Making Cents program for ages 12 and under is a great introduction to banking, and your child can open an account with just $5.

New Responsibilities (Teens)

At this age, your child may be ready to take on odd jobs like babysitting or dog-walking, or even their first part-time job. Make your teen responsible for some of their monthly expenses, like a monthly music subscription or their part of the phone bill.

Introduce more traditional budgeting skills with a budget worksheet or a free budget app. Talk about their long-term savings goals and help create a plan to get there.

Our #MyCash Share Account and #MyCash Card will help your teen take on more banking responsibility. Show them the ropes when it comes to managing their accounts, like checking their balance and using a debit card.

For financial habits, you are your child's most important teacher. Show your teen what you do to avoid overspending and talk about the steps you take to safeguard your finances, from protecting your debit card and PIN to taking precautions when shopping online.

Financial Independence (Young Adults)

Once your child turns 18, lots of new financial opportunities become available. Have a talk about credit cards. Explain the process of building credit and how they can use a credit card responsibly.

Encourage them to monitor their checking account balance to avoid overdrafts and review their monthly statements to see what they can do to limit spending and boost their savings.

We're Here for Your Whole Family

Here at Dover Federal, we know that financial literacy isn’t a luxury – it's a necessity. We're proud to support financial learning and opportunity for members of all ages.

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