Paying bills is usually one of those adult chores that take away from family time. It doesn't have to be that way! Getting your kids involved in the family finances can let you take care of your responsibilities and spend time with them. It's easy to say "get your kids involved," but getting them off their phones, tablets, and video games for dinner is hard enough. Try these tips to get kids involved in money matters:
The memory game
If you've ever played the card game "Memory," you know how this works. Put the bills you're working with face down on the table, then go through each category – ask your child to find the electric bill, then read off the amount to you so you can pay that bill. Use this opportunity to talk with your child about savings strategies such as, "What do you think we could do to lower the electric bill?" While they may not have a firm grasp on the solution, getting them thinking about savings early on will help build good habits.
The party budget
The next time you're hosting a sleepover or planning a family activity, set a budget with dollar amounts and walk through the steps involved in setting priorities, allocating funds, and finding cheaper alternatives to expensive activities. Let your child make the decisions as much as possible. Even if it's $20 to allocate between pizza, movies, and candy, it'll help them understand budgeting basics. This exercise helps your child understand scarce resources and can make it easier to include them in family budget talks.
Play "What if"
Ask your kids what they'd do if they found a large quantity of money?" Start with a small amount, $5, for example. Work your way up to $1,000 or whatever point your child starts to struggle with thinking of the dollar amount in real terms. This is a great way to learn about your kids' financial priorities and to start a conversation about saving a portion of financial windfalls. It can also be a great way to talk about what things really cost.