I’m pleased to introduce Kayla from Shoeaholic No More to The Heavy Purse. Kayla is a new up-and-comer blogger who is working hard to eliminate her debt, so she can enjoy financial freedom. As you know, I am a huge proponent of finding those teachable moments to help you talk to your kids about money. Today, Kayla is going to share some missed opportunities, so read on to see if you’re making any of these same mistakes with your kids. Take it away, Kayla …
I’m sure there are lots of teachable money moments for kids. In fact, Shannon has talked about many of them here on her blog and in her books. But, just because there are lots of opportunities to teach kids about money doesn’t mean that parents are taking advantage of them.
When I was a kid, my mom had a container of coins in one of the lower kitchen cabinets. My brother and I were supposed to use this money to “pay” for our breakfast, lunch or supper as practice with money. Mom would tell us, “Ok, your waffles and juice costs $1.86,” and we would have to find the right amount of money to give her. While this is a great idea, in reality we didn’t get to practice very much because our parents didn’t often set aside a few extra minutes in their day to let us play this game.
My family went to church most every Sunday and when the collection baskets were passed around, my parents often had a check already written and in a sealed envelope to put in the basket. While I know now how important it is to give to charities and other causes, they didn’t take much time to explain that to us then.
I do remember getting a weekly “allowance” but only if our chores were completed and up to mom’s standards. We had lots of little household tasks to complete, like taking out the trash, washing and folding laundry, vacuuming, etc. I know this work didn’t hurt my brother and I, in fact I’m often grateful that we learned to work for our money! When we got our money each week, I think it was around $5 or so, we had to put a portion of it into our savings jars and the rest in our wallets for spending. Again, this was a fairly good lesson, but one thing we didn’t have to do was put any of it towards giving.
Once, I asked dad if I could take some of my money to put in the basket at church. He told me not to worry, he and mom handle that and would put money in the basket on behalf of our whole family. I know he was just trying to protect me and make sure I had money for things I wanted, but I think it could’ve been handled differently.
I don’t remember my parents ever talking with us about their money troubles, they declared bankruptcy, or why we couldn’t do some of the things our friends got to do, like go on vacations. I’m sure they didn’t want to worry us.
Just a few years later, my family moved to a new town about 1.5 hours away. We bought a brand new house in the country and my mom always seemed to be spending money here, there and everywhere, despite the fact that she no longer had a job. To this day, I’m not entirely sure what happened and how they were able to afford this. I presume that they received some inheritance when my grandparents passed away, plus my dad had a new job and they haven’t really had money troubles since, but they never told us the “rules” had changed.
Now that I’m an adult I wish they would’ve talked to us more about money. Maybe then, we would’ve had a better understanding of how it works and also what NOT to do. Our money situation changed several times throughout my childhood and while I never felt concerned about money, it was confusing when all of a sudden we couldn’t spend money and then to turn around a couple years later and buy a brand new house and lots of “wants”.
All of these situations could have been learning opportunities if my parents had taken time to explain them to us. Instead, money was a confusing and taboo topic in my childhood home.
Editor’s Note: Thank you for sharing your story with us, Kayla. So many parents miss the opportunity to talk to their kids about money. I know money is taboo topic in so many homes, but we need to break the cycle. It’s hurting everyone. I know parents want to protect their kids, particularly from their financial woes, which is understandable. But kids already know something is wrong. You actually help minimize fear when you talk about what is going on in an age-appropriate manner and let them know that you’re fixing the problem. This reassures them, otherwise they continue to worry in silence. If you’re interested in sharing your story at The Heavy Purse, please see my guest post policy.
What teachable moments do you remember growing up? What can you do to help your kids learn about money?
About the Author: Kayla is a mid-20s single girl living in the Midwest, USA. She is focused on paying off her consumer and student loans, while simplifying her life and closet. You can join her on her journey at Shoeaholicnomore and follow her on twitter.
Ever since my daughter turned 2, we give her money to put in the collection plate. We've started using age appropriate language to tell her why she's doing that, but we have our check and she has her dollar. It's probably the one "money thing" we do right consistently.
While my parents didn't mention anything specific about their finances, one thing my father was adamant about with me was that I build my own savings account. As soon as I was 12 he had me go to the bank to open an account and money I received as gifts from Grandparents, etc., as well as the money I earned when I started working at age 13, would go into that account. And I can still picture him asking me if he could look at my bank book (long time ago ;-) ).