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United Way Blog

How to Teach Kids Smart Money Habits

My kids love to get our loose change for their piggy bank. They enjoy dropping the coins through the slot, seeing their money accumulate and deciding what small toy to spend it on.

You may have childhood memories of saving up for something special, but you probably didn't realize you were learning good financial habits, too. Experts agree teaching young children the basics about money management is crucial, but some parents may be unsure how to get started.

To help, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut and Prudential Financial came together to provide financial literacy kits to students in Hartford. More than 1,000 kits, including a piggy bank, a book about saving money and more, were created by 500 Prudential volunteers and distributed to students in local elementary schools. Information for parents is included too.

As a mom of three young children, United Way’s focus on financial literacy and childhood education resonates with not only my core values but the values of my company, Prudential. Many kids in our community don’t have access to books, and a lack of access means the can fall behind.

Although the kits are designed to help kids learning the basics of spending vs. saving, parents ultimately play the biggest role in shaping children’s attitudes about money. And understand in our increasingly cashless society, it’s harder for kids to understand cost when they don’t see money exchanged.  

Here are 3 tips for teaching kids smart money habits:

  1. Ask them the questions. Child psychologists suggest parents ask kids what money means to them. The answers can open up great conversations.
  2. Involve them. Involve your kids in paying bills, making financial choices and talking about savings. Consider setting up a checking account for those babysitting or yard work earnings, set up as an app so they save and track spending on their phone.
  3. Make 'em work for it. Many parents assign a dollar value to chores, then require kids to divide allowances between ‘spend,’ ‘save’ and ‘give.’ This can be a fun family game (or competition!) and establish good financial habits early on.

To learn how you can help support financial literacy initiatives in your community, reach out to your local United Way.  For help with financial assistance, call 2-1-1 or visit 211.org to connect with a specialist who can provide information on resources in your area.

Inspired by what you read? Change starts with you. Take action today to make a difference in your community.

GIVEADVOCATEVOLUNTEER