Building a solid financial education starts early, and there’s no better time than now to start talking to children about this important topic. This monthly activity calendar encourages conversation and builds healthy habits related to managing money.
Host a family game night. Write financial terms on slips of paper and put them in a bowl. On the back of each slip write a short definition. Have each player pick a topic out of the bowl and allow everyone to guess the meaning of each one.
Review Family Budget
Call a family meeting and share your family's monthly budget with the kids. Show them what's coming in and what goes out each month. Use this as a conversation starter on needs vs. wants, and planning and saving for the future.
Family Savings Collage
Collect old magazines and have each family cut out pictures of items they want or need and glue them on a piece of paper or poster board. Then have each person share their collage while discussing the cost of items on the collage.
Grocery Budget (Thanksgiving)
Create a grocery list and budget. Take your children with you to the grocery store and ask them to help you stick to the budget by looking for deals and crossing items off the list. Consider asking them to help with coupons and show them the difference in price based on where products are on the shelves, the price of the store brand vs. a name brand, price per ounce based on size, etc.
Talk to your kids about the value and benefits of giving. Spend some time with your children collecting their gently used toys and clothing and take them to a local donation site. Also consider family gift swaps of homemade gifts or coupon books with chores or time together to save money and build creativity.
Set a Savings Goal
Have your kids set a short-term savings goal. On a poster board or in a journal, have them identify how they will make money, how much they will save, and how long it will take them to reach their goal. Let them put their crafting skills to work by creating a savings box or piggybank to hold the money as they save. Once they meet their goal, celebrate the win and plan for the next big goal, such as a party or family outing.
The Game of Life
Play a game of “Monopoly” or “Life” with your children. As you play the game, talk to your children about the costs associated with buying and selling property, paying rent vs owning a home, income, taxes, and costs of running a household or a business.
Paying for College
Talk to your kids about college costs. Using the CFPB's Paying for College tool (opens new window), estimate the costs of 5 different colleges and talk about the differences: in-state vs. out of state, community college, scholarships, student loans options, and college savings plans.
Prepare your child for the realities of a paycheck. Share your pay stub with your child and discuss different kinds of taxes, such as: federal and state income tax, Medicare, and Social Security.
Summer Job Planning
As your child prepares for a summer job, talk to them about how they intend to spend and save money. Encourage them to set aside a percentage of each paycheck and put it in savings. Have them document their financial goals; consider using a journal or hanging up a motivational sign in their room about their goal.
First Credit Union Account
Take your child to open their first checking and/or savings account. Talk to them about the types of accounts available, debit cards, the differences between a credit union and a bank, and the associated costs.
Reminder: Most financial institutions have accounts that allow parents to put limits on minors' accounts and many send parents alerts so they can serve as a safety net as their children find their way financially.
As a family, talk about the cost of unexpected emergencies and the risks of not having savings when these unfortunate events occur. Have your children create a list of unexpected emergencies and let everyone guess how much each item would cost. Then discuss whether they have enough money to pay for the emergency and what other options they would consider.