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How can we teach our kids to earn money and keep it?

As my daughter celebrated her 16th birthday, it’s got me wondering if I’ve done enough to prepare her for living in the “real world.”

She’s going to be driving soon and along with that huge responsibility comes a rather large financial obligation. As much as I’d love to take on that economic burden (not!), I want her to learn how to manage her own money so she can take care of at least one real-life expense.

Save That Cash

ThinkstockPhotos-79078100There are financial beliefs I’ve been instilling in my kids since they were born. The most prominent is that of a savings account. Being a single mom, had I not had a “rainy day” fund when I divorced (almost 8 years ago!), me and my kids would have been living on the streets.

Here are some ways my kids have learned to save money:

  1. Provide a piggy bank – You can buy one at the store or you can make your own. It doesn’t need to be fancy; it just needs to hold what they earn (or what they are given) until you can get to the bank.
  2. Open a savings account – I opened a savings account for my kids within the week I gave birth to them and I try and add a little something to it every month. I encourage my kids to do the same. Each month, we add up all the savings in their piggy bank and place it in their savings account. This is a great way for them to learn about finances because they get to see their own money grow on their earnings statement.

Earn More Cash

ThinkstockPhotos-100380762Now that your kids know how to save money, provide them ways to earn it and continue growing that nest egg.

  1. Save loose change – Instead of leaving your coins on the end table, put them in your child’s piggy bank and let them reap the benefits.
  2. Offer an allowance – I don’t believe in giving kids an allowance unless they earn it. So, in order to receive their meager weekly income, my kids are required to complete a weeklong list of chores. (I know, I’m mean.)
  3. Develop a chore chart – For going above and beyond their weekly chores, my kids can earn additional money, such as washing windows, vacuuming out the car, mowing the lawn, etc.
  4. Get entrepreneurial – For kids who want to make a few bucks on their own, encourage them to get creative. There are a variety of ways for kids to earn cash, such as opening a lemonade stand, mowing a neighbor’s lawn, washing cars, cleaning windows, etc. Get creative this summer and see how much money your kids can earn.

Even if you’re not good at managing your own finances, you can still teach your kids money-saving concepts to get them going on the right track for the future. Maybe you could even try a few of these ideas yourself and set a great example for your children.

Do you have any creative ways you’ve gotten your kids to earn and save money? We’d love to hear – share them in the comments!

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