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For many teenagers, budgeting is a gradual study. They learn its importance when their parents are strict about giving them the same amount every week or month or simply unable to provide more. Regardless, the process tends to be a drastic eye-opener: they suddenly find themselves out of lunch money, or a few dollars short for the bus ride home. While these learning experiences are valuable, you can teach them about budgeting beforehand, so they don't have to go hungry at school or be stranded at night.
Parents carry the responsibility of teaching children useful life skills, including budgeting. The earlier you start, the higher the chance that your kids will grow to be responsible spenders.
The key is to make the learning process fun. Financial literacy sounds like a serious topic, but you can find ways to make it fun and engaging for young kids and teens. Here are a few ways to make budgeting entertaining.
It's challenging to keep track of expenses if you leave everything up to memory. You most likely have a log of your costs and budget yourself, perhaps on a notebook, a customized Excel sheet, or an app on your smartphone.
Here's an idea: encourage your kids to create their own budget logs. You can research sample tables from the Internet or create one together. The standard expense log would contain columns for savings, fixed expenses (e.g., bus fare, lunch), and others (e.g., materials for school projects, non-essentials like hobbies and trinkets). You can also show examples from bullet journal vloggers who're very creative at designing, coloring, and decorating budget logs.
Related to make budgeting entertaining:
This system is a useful budgeting technique that many adults use and that teens and children can also get into. It's tangible, so kids can see how well they are doing following their budgets.
The concept is simple: prepare an envelope for each expense category (the examples above for the expense log will do) and fill each with the money they've set aside for that specific category. If your kids need to buy something, they can only take cash from the correct envelope.
Preparing the envelopes can be a fun activity for kids. Instead of using ordinary envelopes, they can make some using construction paper and envelope maker or punch board. They can color-code their envelopes and get creative in making sticker labels.
Turning into an arts and crafts project can make budgeting lessons more engaging and appealing to many kids. It's also a way to make budgeting second nature to teens whose hobbies include bullet journaling and scrapbooking.
The best way to teach the value of money and budgeting to kids is by showing the fun side of it, like setting a savings goal so they can buy things they want at the end of each week. Alternatively, you can offer simple rewards like treating them to ice cream or baking their favorite treat on the weekend if they succeed at following their weekly budget.
Setting these "rewards" will demonstrate that following a budget (and thus being able to save) is immensely satisfying.
Reward systems, goal-oriented learning, and humor makes learning easier and, according to the experts, more effective. Teach your kids to enjoy and master budgeting as it is one of the best lessons you can give them. Use the examples above to get started.
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