Easily Teach Kids Money Lessons Using Your Mistakes
We’ve all made mistakes with money. Why not use them to teach your kids lessons in financial literacy.
Tell them a STORY about a money mistake you made. It doesn’t need to be a big thing. Just make sure it’s age appropriate. Keep it simple and relatable. Explain why it was bad idea and what kind of problems it caused you.
For example, I was telling my kids a story recently about when I was 18 and just starting college. As a typical college student, I didn’t have much money. But one day I saw a really cool jacket in a store.
I REALLY liked it. Then I saw the price tag: $250! I couldn’t afford it. But I could just imagine how cool I would be wearing it out with my friends. I wanted it really bad. So… I bought it anyway.
Before long I ran out of spending money.
For the next month, I was sitting at home while my friends were out doing stuff. I couldn’t afford to go out to eat, go to the movies, or anything. The jacket hadn’t been worth it after all.
I explained how it was an impulse buy. Instead I should have gone home to think about it first before buying it. If I had, I would have realized that it wasn’t a good idea.
Using a story about you to demonstrate a financial lesson makes it easier for kids to relate to it.
Here’s some other topic ideas…
- A time when you forgot to pay a bill.
- An occasion when you bought something without comparison shopping and later saw it for much cheaper at a different store.
- Buying something unnecessary just because your friends had it and you didn’t want to be left out (“keep up with the Jones’s”)
- Spending everything you earned and not saving any money when you were younger
- For older teenagers, tell them about how you got yourself into credit card debt at some point and had to struggle to pay it off
One note of caution, be careful not to glamorize the mistake. It’s okay to laugh at yourself. But you don’t want them to miss the point and think poor financial decisions are ok because they’re funny.
I’d love to hear the mistake stories that you’ve told to your kids. Please leave a comment and tell me about it.
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