Fall Finances for Kids

By: Alexander Roig, August 10, 2017

With school back in session next week, this is the time of year when many parents are heading off for the annual ritual of back-to-school shopping. I know my boys, Carter and Andrew, and my wife, Jamie, are gearing up to get back into their fall routines. At 6 and 3, my kids can already understand many financial concepts, so we have started having those early money conversations and introducing basic budgeting. If you're wondering how to get your kids thinking about money, I have a few ideas for you. 
 
First, buying school supplies is a great way to teach your kids about comparison shopping. As you're picking out pencils, paper, notebooks, etc., take the time to show your kids the prices on each item, and to pick the ones that not only fit your needs, but fit your budget as well. Finding a good deal on pens and paper now can set kids up to be savvy consumers in the future - and feel the satisfaction of finding a steal. This strategy also helps kids feel involved in the process of buying clothes and supplies. 
 
Summer is a time of long days and easy schedules. I know in my family, fall means getting back into some structure. If you're not already giving your children an allowance or compensating them for certain chores, fall can be a great time to start this. Allowances can teach kids to save and spend intentionally, and a chore schedule helps instill the concept of work and reward - and the value of working for your money. Each family will have a different philosophy when it comes to kids and allowances, but finding a system that works for you will help your kids grow up to be smart with their budgets. 
 
Along this same line, fall is usually when lessons and extracurriculars start back up. If your kids want to take music or dance lessons, work out a way for them to pay for part of what they're involved in, even if it's just a small portion. Give them some ownership in what they're learning. 
 
As fall moves on into the holiday season, get your kids involved in the gift-buying process. If you have more than one child, have them pick out and pay for gifts for each other. Set an amount for each gift, and help your kids find presents within that budget. Looking ever further ahead, as you start planning for next summer's vacations and outings, get your kids involved. If you're planning a week at Hilton Head and your daughter wants to go on a trail ride while you're there, start a savings plan for her to help pay for that. This will give her a goal to work towards as well as something to look forward to. 
 
Make it fun, be creative, and find what works for your kids. Next time you're in for a planning meeting, let us know how you are approaching kids and money. We'd love to hear your strategies and stories. We're always happy to help, but we love hearing what works for you too - and finding new ways to talk to our own kids about money. 

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