Kids and Money from Flickr via Wylio
© 2012 Hobbies on a Budget, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

“Is it in our budget to get me a toy today?” my four-year old inquires. Yay! She’s absorbing something underneath all that squirming. Talking to our kiddos about money at a young age sets them up for a healthy relationship with finances in the future. Here’s how the conversation is taking place at our house.

Around two years old, our daughter started asking why Daddy had to go to work. We explained that Daddy helps people learn more about Jesus at work. And that at work he gets money. And we use money to get things we need and want and to help others.

We gave lots of concrete examples and consistently add to the list. At two, my kiddo could understand we used money to buy food and toys. Now she knows that it costs money to use our phones, for running water, electricity, gas, etc. We also regularly discuss how our family uses money to help others.

When we’re out and about and our kiddo wants something I let her know whether or not it’s in the budget for that month. I’m careful not say we can’t afford something – because often that’s simply not true. And I want our kiddo to know that just because we can afford something doesn’t mean we’re going to get it. 

We talk about what would happen if we spent all of our money on toys…”then we wouldn’t have any money to eat or help other people eat,” she exclaims incredulously. Talking about money often and honestly keeps whining to a minimum. After all, we all want to eat. And for others to eat too.

As our kiddos get a little older, we’ll invite them to help us as we make our monthly budget. To see specifically where our money goes and why. Hopefully keeping the communication lines open will go a long way toward building a healthy perspective of finances in our kids.

How do you talk to your kids about money? I’d love some more ideas!