How do we teach a 3 year old about money? Charlie and I are very fortunate in that we think very similar regarding finances and saving, spending, etc. We both think that financial education and responsibility is very important. We were very fortunate in that we were taught young about money and saving, investing, etc. He has talked a lot about how it is so important to teach teenagers and young people about money and being fiscally responsible.
But we haven't talked about how to teach our young children about money. We decided we would wait until Laci was 4 or 5 to open a savings account for her. The interest rates are terrible right now anyway and we want to be able to take her to the bank and be a part of that process. We don't want her to be spoiled and therefore, we make a very conscience effort not to buy her toys and things when we are at the store. A couple of years ago, we were at the store with my mother in law and I wouldn't let her buy Laci a gift because I didn't want her to see us buying her stuff and realize we could take the toys home. For the most part it has gone pretty well. Before Christmas and her birthday, we look at the toys and we put things on "the list". So far that has satisfied her. Her experience with money is pretending to slide a credit card and putting a penny in the slot in the horse at Meijer.
Lately, I noticed she is starting to use the phase "can I buy..." this and that. When we were at the grocery this last weekend, she asked to "buy" a lot of things. What is going on in her head? Yesterday, she found a penny in my car and she asked if she could buy a princess doll. It got me thinking about a lot of things. Where did this sudden need "to buy" everything come from? And how do we teach her the value of a dollar, or in that case, a penny. How do we start the money education? I don't know. It has to be taught in very simple 3 year old terms. Do we give her an allowance? I was never given an allowance so I don't know how that works. Charlie was so I will have to find out his thoughts on that. Is the allowance in exchange for chores? Good grades? Or just because? When do we start giving her the money she gets from Grandma and Grandpa for holidays? Right now, we save it for the kids. For starters, I think I will start with a piggy bank that she can put her change into and eventually her dollars so she can access it and see how it is growing. Her pretty ceramic piggy bank that she got when was born won't work for that. Maybe that will start some discussion about how many pennies, nickels and dimes it takes to buy something. I also want to teach her to tithe. My mom always gave me a dollar to put into the offering plate. I don't want to do that. It sounds like a nice idea but it was her dollar she gave me. I want Laci to have to give her own dollar. I have read about how important it is to teach your children to divide their money into three categories - saving, charity and spending. That is where I want to get.
What are some ways others have started teaching about money?