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Financial Literacy for Kids

Making Kids Money Savvy: Try These Four Financial Tricks

By Peter Anderson 

Last edited January 9, 2019  [Still relevant for today]

I was reading an interesting article at the Wall Street Journal this week that was talking about some ways to help make your kids more “money savvy”.

Kids and adults fall into traps whereby they end up not understanding the true value of money, they aren’t able to delay gratification and they end up overspending.

Four Financial Tricks To Teach Money Savvy

Here are some financial tricks you can try that can provide teachable moments for your kids.

  • Teach delayed gratification: Give them a smaller allowance now, or a bigger one if they wait, teaching them to save and practice delayed gratification.
  • Teach them about spending slower: People tend to spend money faster if they have smaller bills ($50 in 5 $10 bills as opposed to a $50 bill).  This works both with adults and children, having money in higher denominations makes the money feel like it is worth more, even if it is the same amount.  Give the kids bigger bills to encourage holding onto it longer and saving.
  •  Encourage a wish list: Help them make a wish list instead of buying things for them right away. This way you can review the wish list in a few days, and often they’ll realize that they don’t need or want the item anymore.  It also helps to encourage using delayed gratification and helps them to examine the purchasing decisions that they’re making.
  • Teach the value of money: Teach them the value of money by giving them some ownership of your money. Make them feel like they’re spending their own money, and they’ll often feel like saving, instead of spending. For example, if giving them money for a field trip, tell them they can keep whatever they don’t spend. Often, they’ll save it instead of spending it. If telling them they have to give you the change back, they’ll often spend it all.


Encouraging our kids to be good with their money will help to give them a start in life that most folks don’t have. Most people in this country are woefully uneducated about money, and the cycle of poverty and debt just gets passed down from generation to generation.  Time to break the cycle!

  • The relationship between work and money:  We want to emphasize that you only get money by engaging in hard work. You don’t get anything for free, you work for your money.
  • The three main things to do with your money:  You can spend, save and give your money. We want our children to understand the importance of balancing their spending by also saving and giving as well, and will require them to do all three.
  • Teach them that we are only stewards of what God has given us: God has given us so much in this country, and we should repay His favor by being good stewards of what we have.

When it comes down to it, helping your kids become savvy about money is all about looking for and taking advantage of teachable moments.  When everyday money decisions are made, find a way to use it to teach your kids the wise decision to make.

Other Things To Teach Kids About Money

Beyond teaching the things above, we also wanted to teach our kids a few other things about  money .

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