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One of the hardest jobs that we as parents face is teaching our children about money. In today’s society kids are after the hottest electronics and name brand clothing and most of the time, they don’t stop to think about the cost or where the money to buy it is going to come from. Why would they when a lot of the time we find ourselves so overwhelmed that often we just give in and buy it for them. There is nothing wrong with getting your kids the latest gadget or toy once in a while but at the same time, we need to teach them to be responsible with money. If we don’t then we end up with grown adult children who can’t save money, can’t budget it and may not even understand why it’s so important to have a budget. I decided early on that I was going to make it my mission to teach my Emma how to save and make responsible choices with money. Because of that, I made it a point to teach her to use coupons early on.
There’s a reason that I started with coupons instead of budgeting and all of that jazz. Coupons are easy and I’m sure we all know that kids need easy when they’re little. Em has been learning since she was around 5 years old. Now at almost 11, she’s almost better at it than I am! No joke! That girl can save a buck if she takes the time to plan things out! Teaching her to coupon before we started the heavy talk about budgeting and living frugally made things easier because by the time that I was ready to have that talk, she was already used to saving money.
5 Tips & Tricks for Teaching Kids to Coupon
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to say that you shouldn’t teach your kids budgeting, investing and everything that comes with living a frugal life and building wealth. What I mean to express in this post is that starting with coupons is a really good way to introduce the entire concept of money to your child. Allowing them to learn and taking the time to teach them to coupon gives them the chance to be involved in the family budget which is a great way to show them how to live on a budget. Not to mention that coupon involves math so they will be brushing up on their skills and not even realizing it!
Start off slow –
Learning the in’s and out’s of couponing can be stressful for adults so if you just toss your kids into the deep end of the couponing pool, it will be even more stressful for them. Instead, start the process off slow and give your son or daughter simple tasks. Seriously. I can’t stress this enough. Start off slow with them. If you don’t, you’ll end up with a kid who despises couponing. I suggest starting off by having your child help you clip and sort coupons. This is an easy enough task for most children and it will get him or her used to seeing the different types of coupons. Emma actually started helping me clip and sort at around age 4. For littles, this is a great way to brush up on their matching skills and their fine motor skills from handling the scissors. Another easy way to start them is by having them help you find things in the store. Show them the item on the coupon or tell them the product you need and let them try to find the item you need. If you need more than one, have them get the right number for you making sure they count each one.
Let them Plan a Shopping Trip –
I’m not talking about planning out the whole family grocery shopping trip, but letting them plan their own short transaction is a great idea. Let them pick out a few of their favorite items (ones you have coupons for) and teach them how to check the store sales ads to see whether those items are on sale or not. For the items that are on sale, show them how to match the sale to the coupon and help them do the math if they need. Be sure that you include any store coupons or promotions that may apply too so that you can teach them how to really maximize their savings. The first few times you do one of these trips with your child, I would limit it to 5 items or less. You can gradually work up to bigger trips if your child wants. Once you’re done, show them how to use the cash back shopping apps to finish out their savings.
If you have littles under about age 7 or 8, consider doing the planning for them and just letting them do the transaction at the store. This is actually how I started Emma. It not only helps them learn to coupon but will also make them feel big and we all know how much littles love to feel big. 🙂
Menu Planning –
We all know that meal planning along with coupons can really help out with the monthly food budget. Get your binder out, the store sale ads and show your child how you match-up what is on sale, along with what coupons you have to plan the family menu. You never know your son or daughter might take a sudden interest in cooking too! If you aren’t currently menu planning, you need to start. A well planned menu plan can save you hundreds each month if done correctly. If you’re not sure where to start, check out Menu Planning 101.
Start a Savings Account –
I know, it doesn’t make much sense but hear me out. Using your savings from couponing is a fantastic way to save for other items by banking the money that you save. You can transfer this to teaching your child by having them save. Each time your kidlet saves money using coupons have them put the amount they saved into a piggy bank. This will allow your child to watch their savings add up. They will be able to visually see how much they have saved by using coupons! Once they have reached a decent amount of money, let them splurge on the latest toy or gadget they have been eyeing.
I really like the save/spend/give piggy banks that are currently available. They not only let your kids see their savings, but they also make it easier for them to learn how much they should save vs how much they should spend.
Make it a Game –
If your child is still really young, turn couponing into a game! Buy them a play cash register, play money or even a pretend checkbook and play grocery store at home with real coupons! Let your son or daughter pick out items you have in your pantry and use the coupons and money to purchase those items. They’ll have loads of fun and you’ll be starting them onto a path of saving that they will learn to enjoy.
Your kids might not want to learn, especially if they’re older so if you can spin it in a way that will help encourage them, go for it. It never hurts to give kids a reason that you want their help with something or a reason that you want them to learn something. In fact? I’ve found that when I do give Emma my reasons for things? My life runs much more smoothly.
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