A great time to teach your tweens and teens the value of a dollar is when they are clamoring to buy a much-wanted item. Instead of advising them to ask for it for their next birthday or caving in and heading to the store, sit down with them and show them how to budget for the desired item. With that in mind, check out the following tips:
Have Them Work for It
When you want to splurge on something, you might have to work some overtime or cut back on other expenses. Your kids can certainly do the same. Even if your child already gets an allowance with virtually no strings attached, come up with a list of jobs that he or she can do around the house to earn extra money. Make the list a combination of relatively easy tasks that pay a smaller amount and harder/yuckier tasks like cleaning out the cat box or scooping dog poo in the yard for a slightly larger paycheck. This will help teach your kids the value of hard work and how putting in an extra effort can lead to a tangible reward.
Come Up With a Savings Goal Chart
This approach is especially great for visual learners—kids who need to “see” what they are accomplishing. As Money Crashers notes, once your kiddo decides what toy, electronics gadget or trendy shoes he or she just has to have, research the cost and how many weeks it will realistically take to save up for it. Every week on the goal chart can be represented by a box, which your child can fill in with a pen or cover with a sticker once the savings goal has been met. This will show your child in a clear visual way how saving on a regular basis really does add up, and it will also prevent him or her from asking you a thousand times when there will be enough money to head to the mall.
Become a Parental Credit Card Company
If your teen is begging for the latest phone, and he or she is too young to apply for a credit card—which is definitely not a bad thing—you can offer to work out a credit deal with your son or daughter. For example, let’s say your kiddo is pining for a smartphone. T-Mobile is currently offering the Apple iPhone 6s as part of a monthly payment plan that costs of $22.92 over the course of 24 months. If you are comfortable doing so, let your teenager get the new phone and require him or her to reimburse you the money every month. You can create a payment contract if you want and have everyone sign it, and—just as the phone company will take back the iPhone for lack of timely payments—you can do the same with your kids. You can also use Apple’s Family Sharing feature for sharing information on purchases, calendars, photos, location information and more.
Teach About Delayed Gratification
To help nip the “buy it now, pay it later” mindset in the bud, notes Parents, teach your kids about the benefits of delayed gratification. This can be a tricky idea to get across, but with some clever lessons, it’s more than possible to make your point. As often as you can, come up with ways to show that waiting leads to something better. For example, if your teen loves a fabulous juicy burger, make a homemade one with all the trimmings on the grill and also buy a cheap fast food one. Show your teen that while the grilled burger takes a lot longer to prepare, the extra time and effort are well worth it.