4. Earning extra. Kids shouldn’t feel they’re helping out around the house only to get paid. But, after the regular household chores are done, you can reward your kids for helping out with extra chores. Settle on a price with your child before he or she starts working. Fair’s fair, after all.
5. Teach them to save. Savings are invaluable. Teach your kids early on to save a portion of their weekly allowance—from 10 to 20 percent or even more if they want to—into a piggy bank or into a savings account of their very own. They’ll learn the joy of saving when they see the digits in the account grow and grow. Impress upon them that savings are just that, money saved away for important future expenses, not a fund to be dipped into for impulse purchases. When your child gets his first job, help him open a checking account. Teach him how to balance a checkbook and be sure he does so on a regular basis.
6. Anti-snobbery laws. Teach your kids that cool stuff doesn’t always have to come shiny and new in a plastic package from the store. Secondhand stuff is very cool, and kids who learn that early on also learn to stretch their dollars further. Teach kids that character and values are more important then appearances and possessions. Be sure they know their identity isn’t shaped by what they own, but by what they do. You have to set the example here. If they see you valuing brand-names and expensive things, they will value them as well. If you are content with what you have, they will be, too.
7. Back to school madness. Reduce the cost of school supplies by carefully planning ahead. Large retailers lure customers with ultra bargains called loss leaders. Retailers are willing to lose money on these items, because they’re pretty sure that once you’re in the store you’ll spend on other things. If you plan carefully and stock up on these necessities, and shop all the loss leaders at the different retailers, you’ll supply your kids for less than you thought possible. And make sure to buy extras, otherwise come mid-term, you’ll find yourself with a needy student and school supplies back up to premium prices. Also, make a list before you head out shopping, and tell your kids what essentials and extras you’re willing to buy for them and which ones you’ll expect them to contribute some of their allowance towards.
8. Teach them about advertising. Kids watch TV more than ever. Recent statistics show that the only activity they do more of is sleeping. Add to that the advertising strewn across the Internet, and you have a lot of advertisers aiming to get your kids’ attention and their money. Teach your children that advertisers are paid to tempt people to buy stuff from cheeseburgers to video games, from candy to condos. Take time to teach them the difference between what’s shown on the screen and what’s real.
9. Make them pay for it themselves. Parents are obviously responsible for providing shelter, clothing and food for their offspring. But what about the pricey new gadget that everyone at school has and that your son is just begging for? If it’s not an essential and it’s out of your budget, then your kids will have to learn to save up and pay for it themselves. They’ll also learn at the same time how much work goes into making a purchase over and above the necessities of life. Also, set budgets for the necessities and let the children supplement the budget if they insist on name brands and designer clothes. For example, if you plan to only spend twenty-five dollars on a pair of jeans, but your daughter wants a sixty-dollar pair, make her pay the additional thirty-five dollars. If your child doesn’t have the extra money, she will have to wear the less expensive pair you buy or go without the jeans until she can save up for the more expensive pair.
10. List pros and cons. When your kids are eager to buy something special, teach them how to make a pros and cons list to help with their decision making. List all the reasons for and against this particular expenditure. Once they see in writing how much money the need and how long they’ll need to save in order to buy their dream item, it might suddenly seem less essential.
11. Part-time jobs. Younger kids can apply for their own paper route, a way that many successful business people began earning incomes of their own. Once in their mid to late teens, kids can look to fast-food joints or retail shops for part-time jobs to help supplement the allowance money you provide. It’s great experience and teaches kids valuable lessons in responsibility.