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The Mama’s Perspective – How Do You Teach Your Kids About Finances

The Mama’s Perspective – How Do You Teach Your Kids About Finances

Here’s your opportunity to learn more about the parenting styles of each Maturing Mama. No Mama is exactly the same in her parenting skills. This is our opportunity to highlight our differences in parenting in a means to help you find a method that works for you.

How Do You Teach Your Kids About Finances?

Finances are one of those things I’ve been raised to not think too hard about. Mainly because we never had any large amount of money coming in when growing up. We were raised to seek God for anything we desired that needed money. And to take risks, trusting that He will take care of the bill.

I appreciate having learned to be fully dependent on God for our finances, but I feel that I wasn’t raised to be generous with what little we had.

My husband and I have a great desire to not just teach our kids to manage finances but to teach them to always be generous with finances.

Since Esperanza started losing teeth, I’ve started to make fake dollar bills for her (because who has real cash on them anymore). The tooth fairy would then put these fake dollars under her pillow and she can use this to buy treats throughout the day from our pantry.

When figuring out how to list the price of different items, I list them in a way that gives Esperanza the option of either buying:

– 1 large item for herself or
– 2 small items for her and her sister

The goal is to teach her to spread her money amongst other people and not just for herself to have the most. Thus far she’s done well to always opt for buying her and her sister treats instead of just buying for her self alone.

First I want to teach the kids what wants vs needs are. I want them to understand that just because we want it, doesn’t mean we need it. 

I would like to start with a token system and as they do things around the house that need being done, they can earn tokens. Then when they’ve collected enough we can go buy a prize, and talk about how it’s nice to save up for the things we want. I will also teach them about how money can be exchanged for things (we’ve already touched on this with our oldest). Eventually I would like each kid to open a savings account. 

Right now we’re focusing on what each coin represents and how to add them together. I want to play games like “store” with a budget I give them and have “buy” items and add the prices together to see if they can purchase what’s in their carts. 

I’m still in the early stages of figuring out how to teach them about finances, and I definitely need to research some more ideas.

Our older child has a favourite pastime, and that’s counting her change. We had to giggle a little at first over how serious her little face gets, so focused and full of intent, while she counts. The goal isn’t to find the total, she knows it well. I think she’s simply proud to know she’s saved all that money. It’s no small amount either. She should be proud! Impulsive wishes aside, she seems to be a natural saver. Which we love because we aren’t.

We’ve been working with her on retail therapy and impulse buying, both of which she used to rely on to help her feel better.

First, we try to plan ahead. If we know we’ll be going somewhere that she’ll likely want to buy something, we discuss if what she wants to buy is appropriate. If it is, we look up how much it costs and encourage her to set aside her own money for it. Sometimes this deters her, much to our amusement. 

Sometimes spontaneous trips happen. If she wants something while we’re out, we tell her to bring her own money next time to get it. Usually she doesn’t want it anymore, even by the time we leave the store. If she throws a fit, we get more firm because being rude doesn’t get you anywhere in life!

When we can tell that she wants to buy something to deal with a big emotion, we encourage connection, fresh air and play. Usually we can get her focused on at least one of those three things, and before long the impulse wish is long forgotten!

There was one thing she really wanted, and boy could we tell. She asked us for a portable electronic, like a tablet or DS, so she could play games. We had her sit on the urge for a month or so. When that was over, and she still wanted it, we eagerly went hunting. It didn’t take long to find out a friend of mine was selling his DS, games included! So she counted out her money and by the end of the day, had her red DS in hand. She still loves it and treats it well. I think this was one of two instances that really taught her the value of her money.

The second is easily my favourite of the two. She used to insist (when I say insist, I really mean demand) that we buy her McDonald’s for supper. It was getting to be rude. We kept explaining that eating out is expensive, and eating at home is much healthier anyway. It didn’t matter. The golden arches trumped Mama Macksi’s cooking every time. 

One day she would not let up. After about a half an hour of biting and badgering, Mama Macksi threw up her hands in exasperation. “I give up,” she cried. Our kid’s eyes sparkled. Meanwhile I snickered inwardly, instantly aware of where this was going. Mama Macksi continued. “You want McDonald’s? You pay for it.”

Seemingly a mixed of pleased and determined, my kid replied, “Fine!” She’s never been one to back down from a challenge, and she upped the ante. “I’ll buy it for everyone, too!”

My inward smile grew. Okay. This was going to be a good lesson learned.

And it was. Twenty minutes later, Mama Macksi and the kid returned from McDonald’s, food in hand. She looked a little torn.

“What’s up, kiddo?” I asked.

She frowned and said, “I’m glad to get McDonald’s, don’t get me wrong, but wow! That was so expensive!”

She hasn’t much asked for fast food since, and when she has, it isn’t with so much demand.

Sometimes she’d come grocery shopping with us before COVID required stores tighten up on shopping groups. Mama Macksi would patiently explain how to shop a sale to her, or how to make sure what you’re buying is the best bargain according to its size.

There’s lots of things we do to encourage healthy spending habits, but there’s one thing we don’t. We never, ever discuss household finances, good or bad, in front of her. If she’s ever curious how debit cards work, or roughly how much a power bill is, I’ll gladly teach her but our budget is stress she doesn’t need. She’s nine. Let her count her change and dream of having a mansion with a special McDonald’s room (true story.) Let’s leave the heavy, financial lifting to the adults.

With my children being very young still (3 and 1), family finances are not something that has been discussed in major detail. We are a very low income family and my kids have never known how it feels to be able to walk into a shop and pick what they like. In a way I think this may help lay the foundations for future discussions. If they’ve asked for something I’ve always explained mummy needs to see what money is left when she’s been paid, they know mummy has to work to get pennies for their nuggies lol.

I’m very open with my daughter and there has been many times we have gone to Asda for our food shop with just a few quid in our hands. We write a list and I get her to help me pick out the products. If we have a little left over we nip over to the sweets section and I explain to her how much we have left and which sweeties she can pick with that.
I’ve always been very frugal with money and constantly shop around for the best deals on products, this isn’t hidden from my kids so I’m hoping they will grow up with that as a way of life.

I’m quite big on gifting items I no longer need too, and I have been gifted a lot of preloaded items in the past. This has never been hidden from my kids. I had a major proud mum moment the other day when Harley turned around and said “mummy this doesn’t fit me anymore we can give it to someone else who can’t get one now”! 

I have no intentions of not approaching this subject with the kids when they get a little older and you can bet your bottom dollar they will be doing chores to get some pennies for themselves!


Finances ugh! No, but for real, I have always struggled with money and budgeting. Just the thought of money, and talking about it, causes me anxiety. I grew up poor. We lived paycheck to paycheck and my parents struggled with debt. I didn’t learn how to manage my finances and ended up in the same position. Luckily for me, my husband is great at managing and saving money. He has taught me a lot. I still suck though.

Zoe is 5 and we haven’t worked on teaching her about money or finances yet. She is still at that age where if she asks for a toy at the store and I give her a $5 budget she’s stoked because $5 is a lot of money. She has a piggy bank and will collect coins to put inside. I think in this day and age, where we primarily pay using a debit or credit card, she doesn’t really grasp that those coins have value or that she can use them to buy something she wants.

I think because she has other more immediate learning needs: language, fine motors, social skills, etcetera…we haven’t introduced more complex topics yet. Like, let’s get the basics down first.

I am really interested in reading the other perspectives because then maybe I will have an idea where to start.

Now we’d love to hear from you…

How Do You Teach Your Kids About Finances?

Let us know in the comments below, do you apologize to your children when you’re wrong?

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