Prepare Your Kids for the Real World by Turning Monthly Bills into Lessons

   When you're a kid, a few dollars can seem like all the money in the world.   It can take weeks, sometimes months, to save up your allowance. When you finally decide to spend it, you might realize that $10 or $20 isn’t as much as it seems.

   As a parent, you can help your children build important money management skills by providing experiences for them at a young age. Leading by example is a good way to start, and it can help instill good values and money habits. However, you’ll also want your children to get their hands dirty.

   Open up your books. The value of money is a lesson you learn over time. For young children, games, such as Peter Pig’s Money Counter, or activities that help them identify coins and bills could be a good place to start. Older children may be ready to see how much things really cost. Going over bank or credit card statements, you could explain why you made each purchase and look for savings opportunities.

   You can also turn a monthly bill into a teaching moment. Children might not realize how leaving the lights, heat or A/C on can affect your monthly bills. You can sit down together and compare each month’s bill to the bill from the previous year. The practice of reviewing and comparing bills can help children understand that their actions have financial consequences.

   They’ll al ...

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