The government and various agencies are regularly running financial literacy campaigns in an effort to get New Zealanders to better manage their finances. However, what are we as parents or grandparents actually doing to assist those we love? Perhaps the financial literacy campaigns should start within our own families.
The team at Milestone has brainstormed a number of ways that financial education can start right now right within our own families. Pick and choose from the following ideas, depending on your child’s/grandchild’s age and interests, or add your own. Have fun!
- Go on a walk through the neighbourhood and brainstorm jobs that your child might be able to do to earn extra money, such as raking leaves, walking dogs, washing cars and so on.
- Play a board game that teaches money concepts. A few ideas: “Payday”, “Monopoly”, and “The Game of Life”.
- Take a tour of a bank and talk about what banks do and how to use banks responsibly.
- Have a shopping contest. Make a grocery list and see who spends the least to get everything on the list.
- Let your child practice writing cheques (except the signature) to pay some of your bills.
- Have them bring your cheque register up-to-date.
- Start a small business together. Plan what you will do (make greeting cards, mow lawns, etc), how much it will cost to get started, what you will charge and how you will find customers.
- If you decide to loan money to your child, charge interest so they can learn the ramifications of borrowing.
- Ask your kids to clip coupons for items you buy at the supermarket. For every dollar saved from these coupons, share a percentage of your savings with them.
- When you buy something at a store, have your child pay for it with cash so he or she can count out the money and practice getting back the correct change.
- As you walk through a store, have a contest to see how many items you each can list that are “needs” and “wants.”
- For every dollar your child saves, add a percentage more — for example, ten cents for each dollar — to illustrate the concept of earning interest.
- Plan a holiday together. Talk about places you might go as a family, what it will cost, how much the family can spend, and then reach a decision together.
- Brainstorm ways your kids can earn spending money for the holiday.
- Go on a family budget. Explain to your kids why you need to cut back on spending and together set a goal to reduce the family’s spending by, for example, 10 percent. Ask for ideas on how each family member will contribute toward reaching this goal.
- Cash your next paycheque and ask the kids to join you as you pay bills for the month, counting out the cash to illustrate how money works in tangible terms. If you don’t have enough cash to cover every bill, discuss the decisions you will have to make.
- Shop for a car together so your teenager can learn how to estimate the cost of buying, insuring and maintaining a car. Go online, visit dealerships and introduce your teen to your insurance agent and mechanic.