Do our kids think money grows on trees?  Literally, when my son was 4 years old he thought donuts grew on trees so why not money?  I don’t know about yours but mine are always asking me to buy them something.  When I was a kid I remember NEVER asking my parents for money.  If I wanted or needed something I was out working to earn the money to buy it.  When I was too young to have a real job I was shoveling snow, doing yard work or babysitting to earn money.  I think those days are gone, in part due to the increased child safety concerns.  You can’t send your kids out into the neighborhood anymore looking for work for the most part. That being said, how do we teach our kids the value of earning money for something they want?

Here are three ways to teach your children the value of money.


  • Make them earn the money you give them. If they have an allowance they should be required to do something to earn that money, i.e. get good grades in school, do household chores without being told.  If they do not accomplish what was agreed on they should suffer the consequence of not getting the allowance for that week or month.
  • Getting a part time job. When your teen turns 15 or 16 allowance should stop and they should be looking at getting a part time job.  Obviously, you have to evaluate whether your teen can handle working and keeping up in school.  Although, you can limit the number of hours they are allowed to work so balancing school and work are easier.  Having them get a part time job also enables you to teach them about payment deductions and budgeting what they make.  Having them open their own checking/savings accounts also teaches money management.
  • Saving money for big dollar items they want. Most teens in our culture go to mommy & daddy when they want something they cannot afford to buy on their own.  When this happens, make a deal with your teen that if they are able to save 50% of the cost of the item, then you will put up 50% to make the purchase with them.  We all know that everyone appreciates something more when they have had to work to get it.  This also teaches them the value of hard work and how much hard work goes into buying something they want.

Ultimately, it is the parents responsibility to teach our kids how to live a successful financial life.  The lessons cannot start early enough!