Keeping Your Kids From Falling In the Money Pit (Oh, and a chance to win $50 too)

One of the reasons I wrote my last post about our experiences with money woes is because of a conversation I was having the other day with my friend Melissa.  We were talking about how attitudes towards money have changed from generations before.

So many people we know have been in, or are still stuck in, that money pit.  Drowning in debt with no idea how on earth to get out of it.

That is the last thing we want for our kids.

We’ve started already trying to teach Vista about money.

One of the most simple things we’ve done is given V a piggy bank.  But when we give her spare change and her first question is always ‘well what can I buy with this’.   The answer?  ‘Nothing….unless you put it in your piggy bank with your other coins and then you can save up to buy something that you would really like to have.’

So into the piggy bank goes the coins.

But that wasn’t enough.  How else could we teach her about earning money?  She really doesn’t have the interest in doing chores for reward yet…that’s just not a motivator for her.  Then before Christmas when we were sorting through her toys we came across an answer.

Many of her toys were in great condition.  So we gave her the option as we went through every toy:  Keep, Sell, or Donate.  She could keep it and continue to play with it.  She could donate it.  Or we could try and sell it through facebook/kijiji/craigslist and she could keep any money that was made.

This turned out to be a great incentive for her to get rid of toys she no longer used without a fight.  Bonus.

So she has been steadily socking away her money in her piggy bank for the past year.  Last month we finally got around to rolling all the coins.  When we started rolling we told her she could put half in the bank to save and take half and go to the toy store and buy whatever she wanted.

Well, turns out my kid has been hoarding money.  She started pulling out coins from all sorts of containers she had tucked away in her room.  Once we hit $200 in coins we nixed the spending half idea and told her she could have $25.   And from now on she can buy her own treat from the ice cream truck in the summer.

The trip to the toy store was a money lesson itself.  She would pick out something and we would talk about if she had enough money for that item or if it would allow her to have money left over for something else.

But I’ve still been looking for other ideas for how to teach her money management.

Melissa shared with me that one thing they do with her daughter is allow her to work towards earning Webkins stuffed animals.  The Webkins have an online app where kids can input a number off the tag of their stuffed animal that allows them to play with and buy things for a virtual animal.  But if they want to buy something and don’t have the money they have to do things in the virtual world to earn it.

I thought this was a great way to teach our little geeks.

Another one we found is the iPad app ‘Learning Money with Leo’ (available on iTunes).  It’s a Canadian money app put out by Royal Bank that teaches money concepts through games.  Kids go through the games (like coin matching, spot the difference, mazes, sorting) and earn reward coins which can then be used to buy stickers from a ‘sticker store’ to create a picture in a virtual sticker book.  Want more stickers… earn more coins.

I love that it’s a Canadian app too, so the money pictures and denominations are all Canadian currency.

I wasn’t sure what V would think of this sort of app for learning money, but she actually quite enjoyed it.  And this morning when I was buying groceries she was even able to identify the bills I was using, so that impressed me.

So here’s your opportunity to teach your kids about money by winning a $50 RBC VISA gift card from the kind folks at Royal Bank.

All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me how you teach your kids about using money responsibly and/or what are you lessons are you going to pass onto your kids to keep them from falling into the money pit .

The fine print:

  • Contest is only open to Canadians (sorry US friends)
  • This contest is also running on other blogs.  You can enter on multiple blogs, but you can only win one gift card. 
  • Contest will close on April 18th at 8pm MST.

Good luck!


Disclosure – I am participating in the RBC Learning Money With Leo program by Mom Central Canada on behalf of RBC Royal Bank. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.


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6 Responses to Keeping Your Kids From Falling In the Money Pit (Oh, and a chance to win $50 too)

  • andy says:

    The app sounds cool and how great is it that it’s in Canadian funds? Liam gets all of our pennies and nickels and any change from recycling bottles. We work to teach him to use money responsibly by price shopping around, saving up for a big item and not spending money the minute it’s in his hot little hand. We do need to work on long term saving so that he can avoid the money pit, but we haven’t quite gotten there.

  • Jackie says:

    I’m going to have to look up that app. Currently our daughter does chores for money, an idea that my mom started. My mom would tell her that she can pick X amount of coins from her jar for each chore. The problem with this is that my daughter has little concept of the value of each coin. One day she came home and told me that she had swept the driveway, vaccumed the floors and did some dishes. She proudly showed me her earnings that totaled $0.65!

  • Michelle says:

    I give my kids an allowance that’s 1/2 of their age. This is not tied to any chores. It’s the “chore” of budgeting. They each have the money savvy pig bank, with slots for save, spend, donate & invest. They’re catching on. And the best thing is that it stops the whining and asking me to buy things in their tracks. “Sure you can have that toy/candy/whatever, how many allowances do you need to save for it?”

  • laura m says:

    I just want to say that this is so awesome of you and so so very proactive. You are awesome! Thanks for more great ideas :)

  • Melissa says:

    There are a lot of things that we can do – but the MOST important is setting a positive example. A healthy, balanced view toward money is a wonderful gift for our children.

  • angela m says:

    I have been teaching my daughter about money by giving her money for doing chores and teaching her that we save for what we want

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