Equip your kids with the necessary tools for spending and saving money, before they leave the home. The importance of teaching your kids about money through advice and demonstration.

Mother talking to her child who is very young about money   Remember how hard it is entering the real world as an adult? Actively teach your kids skills you wish someone had shown you, to make things a little easier from the start. One of my favorites is how to spend money and more importantly how to save it.

So this is growing up!

The transition from kid to adult hits you like a ton of bricks. We can all remember that time in our lives when we finally get out of the house, frantically we shuffle through the information our parents taught us through the years. Then we naively try to put the advice  to use. We can also remember all the times we tried something new and wondered, why did no one teach me about this earlier, there are no life skill classes in high school. Let’s make things easier on our kids talk to them about money, leave them with more quirky idioms. They might make them roll their eyes but they can never forget them. Always lead by example, remember your kids will watch your behavior and are sure to mimic it. Explain to your kids the decisions you are making and practice good spending habits when possible, and when it is not possible, remind them to do as you say not as you do.

Find a penny pick it up.

The information you pass on to your children will be invaluable to them. You don’t have to sit them down and lecture but when the opportunity presents itself, recognize it so you can give them advice or explain what you do. For example when you go to the bank, this is a great opportunity to explain saving and checking accounts. Explain the difference to them, even allow them to set up an account of their own, this is an easy and fun way to show your kids where they can keep their money. This also opens up the opportunity to explain interest, and the benefits of different banking styles, such as big banks vs. credit unions. Another great opportunity to talk to your kids is when they reach the age they can get a part time job, encourage your kids to work when they have the time, explain to them that they will have to work the rest of their lives, take smalls expenses off your hands like luxurys, going to the movies or buying a new pair of headphones and give the expenses to them. Two weeks after they start working they will finally have a paycheck, that checking account is really useful now! Take time to show them the different fields on a check stub; hours, wadge, total income, taxes, it can be alarming the first time you realize you have to give a big chunk of your money away before you even get to see it. Remember to tell them that they can get some of that back at the end of the year! This is also when it is most important to explain the importance of saving. Make sure you give them some advice on saving, a really good way at this time is to give them a goal to save toward, they are just around the age when they might need a car, have them save some money to put toward that goal. Make sure that they know life is full of unexpected turns and that is why it is important to always have some money saved for the unexpected. Then April rolls around and even though you might be claiming your children when you do your taxes this is a very important skill to pass on. Show your kids where they can go to do their taxes, explain they have to do it every year, and the consequence of not doing it. This is one of the tough ones in life so make sure you don’t miss that chance.

Monkey see monkey do

It is really important to talk to your kids about money but most of their habits are going to be formed from watching you. Fortunately or not when you have kids you are always being watched. Your kids will notice when you make thrifty decisions, like when you drive a block out of your way to fill your gas tank at the chevron up the street because it is always 10 cents less per gallon. Or when you only buy treats at the grocery store if they are on sale. They will also notice if you justify large shopping sprees with “the price we pay for beauty” or if you always go out to eat over making food at home. Practicing restraint is not only good for your wallet you are also teaching your kids a valuable lesson. Sometimes it is easier said than done but try your hardest to practice what you preach, and when you can’t, just peach a little louder. Don’t be afraid to point out when you know your spending habits are excessive but you can afford it because you budget and save your money with the intention to splurge a little, every purchase can be a learning experience for your kids. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers