Friday, October 28, 2011

Mommy is not an ATM! Teaching Children about Money

Mommy Is Not An ATM! Money Lessons for Children

As a mother of three children, I realize it costs a lot to raise a child. I am a firm believer that it is my job to provide food, clothes and a place to live. Anything else, however, is extra because I am not an ATM. If we have the money, of course, we want to pay for it. If we don’t, we ask them to work for it themselves.

My almost teenage son is my pride and joy. He, also, used to think I had an endless supply of money. We don’t. He’s not old enough to work which means that we are the providers for him. He, however, also understands that he must save his money to do things that I will not or can not pay for. An example of something I will pay for, his school just took a week long trip to Washington D.C. Now he wants to go to church camp. A camp, we would love for him to go to. However, there are no more funds after that rather large D.C. trip. He knows if he wants to go to camp he will have to fund this himself. Last year he mowed yards and paid for him to go. This year he is not willing to work in the hot sun to mow yards and pay for it. So he’s not really interested in going.

It’s always a good idea to set boundaries with your children in regards to behavior and money. My children know that I buy the groceries. They know they will always have plenty to eat. However, it may not be everything that they want, like over processed junk food. Parents should teach children what we know. We know that junk food is not good for us or them. Just like as an adult we know that credit cards are not good for us either. Talking with my son about the dangers of credit cards gives me hope that maybe he won't fall into a trap that is hard to crawl out of. At Christmas time, when all the stores are pushing for us to put it on their card, we talk about why we should or shouldn’t do that. He asks me questions like why it’s not a good idea. Well because it sets you up to buy things that you can not afford. Then, it traps you in a job you may not enjoy to pay for something you bought a few months ago. You get into a cycle that is very hard to break out of. It’s always best for everyone to pay cash.

Children need to see you making good choices with your money. Have a conversation with them about why you do things. They don’t have the knowledge and wisdom you have. So share your knowledge with them. Hopefully, when it comes time for them to make choices with their money they’ll remember what you taught them. Children want to have a dialogue with their parents. Remember to keep those lines of communication open at all times.

Children should see that you save as well as you spend. If you are saving, share with them why you are saving. Let them begin to save some of what they earn as well. We follow the save, spend, and give rule of money. If he makes $30 then he is to save 10, give 10 and spend 10. With that we hope we are setting him up for a lifetime of being able to spend money within his means. It’s also a good idea to make the distinction between it’s not in the budget and we don’t have the money. You may have the money. But if it’s not in the budget then they need to know that. We spend our money a certain way. We also save our money a certain way as well. Money is a complicated issue that children have to learn. With a little help and guidance we can steer them to make healthy choices with their money. Children are sponges and they will soak up what we tell them. Train them to spend their money wisely. It’s a good thing for the family.

.Dina is a sahm who lives in Tn. She has 3 amazing children, an awesome husband of 18 years and an ok dog. She enjoys reading, cooking, walking, biking and hanging out with her family. She writes for


  1. My daughter is learning this now. She has recently earned some money and is choosing what she really wants to spend it on. She's making careful decisions.

  2. That's awesome Bridget! Keep up the good work!


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