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Financial Literacy - Feature Article

Save, Spend, Give. A Simple Approach to Teach Kids About Money

by Lauren Podolsky, Financial Wellness & Literacy Editor

Teaching children about the concepts of money and money management can seem like a daunting task.  Most people today question, “how are we supposed to educate our youth on proper money handling when most adults can’t even manage their finances?” 

It’s a valid point; however, that doesn’t mean any knowledge of basic budgeting should be overlooked when talking to kids about money.  Much like most valuable lessons in life, this is one that is never too young to be taught, and by taking a simplistic approach, there are realistic ways to instill these concepts in the mind of a child. 

The most effective method I’ve found to teach young people about money is through the Save, Spend, Give technique– three basic principles that can make a huge difference financially. 

Save, Spend, Give incorporates the idea that you will divide your income into three categories.  

Save –

Saving money is the key to avoid any financial crisis and should be considered the most important concept in practical money skills.  Investing and building wealth is just as important as living day to day, but most people don’t see it that way anymore.  It’s important to instill this concept early on, so that children understand saving money is more critical than simply spending it.

Spend –

Spending money is where the fun part comes in.  Buying things we want is always a nice aspect of earning income, but before we blow our disposable income on unnecessary things, it’s vital to teach children that our needs come before our wants.  Once we budget for the necessities like food, shelter, and bills, and put aside some money for saving, practical spending comes into play.  Just be sure you are always teaching your child that we should never be spending more than we have – that is when debt results.

Give –

Giving money to people in need is one of the best feelings in the world.  So often, we have more money than we actually need, and being able to provide to others that have so much less than we do is a constructive lesson to share with any child. 

A great way to show the Save, Spend, Give concept is to create money jars, each labeled with one of the three principles.  When your child earns money, they should place a percentage of their income into each of the three jars as a way to see how their money is being budgeted.

The earlier you start to teach your kids about money, the more prepared they will be to face the inevitable. 

If you have other tips we should add to this list, or any questions or comments, please Contact Us

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Lauren Podolsky - Financial LiteracyAbout Lauren Podolsky: With over 10 years as a blogger and Financial Literacy adviser, Lauren lends her money tips and financial Q&A insights here on Stage of Life each and every month. For more healthy tips, recipes and advice, check out Lauren's personal site at where she shares her love of food, staying fit and living a healthy and balanced life.

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