Start early – How to get children to become better consumers!

Author : teriann

I remember getting a piggy bank when I was younger.  This piggy bank provided me with the means by which to save money that I could buy special treats.

Sometimes the simplest task of buying a Popsicle or an ice cream cone with my own money made me feel as if I was mature.

What about children today? Do they know the value of a dollar?

Savings why start early?

The truth is that most habits are learned from childhood including how we manage money.  Therefore if our parents taught us the value of saving then it will be easy to continue in that trend as an adult.

I am sure you have seen that one child in the store who is demanding extra snacks but his mother is insisting that he put it back because she can’t afford it.  That situation simply highlights how some children don’t understand the concept of sticking to a budget.

Children today are also inundated with so many things that they can become very demanding.  Parents might even feel pressured to get the latest gadget or fashion. As a result of trying to keep up appearances and improve their popularity, some children have even been seen with expensive phones and tablets at school.  These expensive items were likely given to them by their parents.

So what do children learn when they are handed expensive devices?

Well they might feel as it was ‘easy’ to purchase the item and depending on the age and maturity level of the child they might even feel that such devices are ‘necessary’ and not  ‘luxury’ items.

Although I am not suggesting that you shouldn’t provide your children with the opportunity to use devices whether at school or at home, ensure that the child appreciates the effort and funds involved in getting the device.

Additionally some children are also careless with their rental textbooks and this can result in increased financial strain on parents who have to pay for them to be replaced.

Ways to help Children be better consumers

How can we help our  children to be better consumers?

First don’t wait until high school, even young children can be introduced to saving options. For example younger kids can help with formulating a grocery list. Parents can guide their children in selecting items that they will be able to afford based on the family’s budget.

As children get older, parents can allow them to assist with deciding what they will include for different areas that directly affect their children such as lunch money.

Children also qualify for special types of savings account at building societies and commercial banks but parents would need to sign up as co-account holders.  Children will then be able to save and watch their money grow each month.

Teach Children Accountability

Parents need to emphasize to their children that there are consequences to every action including financial decisions.

So if your child constantly loses items that you will have to replace, explain that they will have to earn the money back by doing extra work around the house or getting a little less for their lunch money.

What’s your take on the issue? How do you ensure that your children become better consumers? Let me hear from you!

Teri Ann Renee Paisley

Gleaner Online Writer

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