Money Skills You Can Teach Your Kids During The Summer

Amy Hannold, Frugal Living Editor

Summer is a great time to increase your child’s awareness of money, and the issues related to saving, spending and sharing.

Kids have more time on their hands – and they may equate that with spending more of your money. Whether or not allowances are in place in your home, or how their usual spending money is earned, summer is a great time to give your children the experience of long and short term money skills. You can encourage them to save, spend and share – and that money does not “grow on trees”. You’ll be glad you did!

Involving your children in some money skills now will inspire your entire household to be “financially fit”. Before working with your kids and their money, you may have to catch up on your own money habits. Do you have a budget in order? Have you put on paper or long and short-term money goals? Visit or for money-saving tips, financial fitness advice and interactive tools.

Here are a few ideas:

Show them the Money:

When parents use debit cards, credit cards, and checks, their children often miss subtraction effect on bank accounts and bill statements. It’s difficult to clearly show the value of money and balances after spending if they never see cash money change hands.

For younger children, give them coins and dollar bills. Talk about sharing their money with charity or church, creating a “savings” bank, and a “spending” allowance for themselves. Utilize “Wishlists” with pictures or their own writing, (information on a reputable charity or Sunday school bank to encourage giving), as you talk about things not in the present moment.

When you want them to spend their own money, show them the skills of comparison shopping, budgeting, couponing, and the risks of borrowing against next week’s allowance – to begin their schooling in basic money skills.

Older children can be shown more details of budgeting, as you share with them your household budget. Show them the cost of basic living and how you make decisions for how income is spent. Work together as a team to save money towards a family goal, whether it be a purchase, vacation, gifts, etc.

Share with your children how when we say “no” to a present “want”, we can bank that money for a more significant need or pleasurable spending goal. Challenge yourselves to save a week’s spending on take-out or candy – and enjoy a special evening or day trip together.

Whatever you’re doing this summer, there are learning opportunities for your children. Give them more than memories this summer; teach them to be moneywise for life. Enlist your child’s help in researching the best, most money-wise options when planning travel or a family project. Children can internet-search, read travel guides, and be creative – they might just save you a mint!

Here are a few websites to help get your kids enthused about money topics:

Talks parents through the process of teaching their kids about money:

Visa’s “Practical Money Skills For Life” – games, tips, and in-depth information on

Visa has created “Financial Soccer”, a game and learning tool of financial literacy – set in the fun and fast-paced sport of soccer. Kids begin as an “amateur”, and are promoted in soccer player status as they learn. Lesson plans and links to more money-wise ideas. Ages 11 and up.

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