How to teach kids about finances: the 2-10 year old edition

Hey everyone,

Em here today, and I’ve got a very important topic to cover for all of our futures:

how to teach kids about finances. how to teach kids about finances

This is something that I feel is overlooked a bit in the New Zealand education system, but it’s so important!

Many of us adults struggle with managing our finances (which is exactly why we set up this site), and many of us didn’t get much guidance as kids. You only need to look at the debt statistics to see that this is not something we want to pass on from generation to generation.


We need to start teaching our kids about finances so they can learn habits that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their life.


The tips I’m sharing with you today are suitable for children up to the age of around ten. At this age, it’s important that you keep activities fun and simple, and we’ve got some great suggestions for you to try. We’ll be doing a post for teens soon, so bookmark the site if you want to come back for that one.


Teach kids at home

There are a ton of great things you can do with your kids at home. I remember having great fun with some of these things myself.

Invest in some awesome board games and books

Turn learning into a fun, interactive experience for the whole family with board games, and get some age appropriate books for the quieter moments. Em’s personal favorite was monopoly, but we’ve found some better games than that to teach kids. We think games and books are awesome because they’re a great opportunity to get away from the computer or phone.

Play shop or restaurant.

Get your kids to gather up their favorite toys, and help them make some play money. You can then set up a play shop or restaurant right in your living room! Your kids can take turns being the shopkeeper and the customer, learning the value of money to both sides. If your kids are a little older, you can get them to do some simple math at the same time.

I remember we used to make play coins by taking a real coin, covering it with a piece of paper, then rubbing with a yellow or grey crayon to make “gold” and “silver”. These look quite realistic and are great fun.

Help your kids set small financial to teach kids about finances

I was a real sucker for soft toys when I was a child, I was lucky enough to have quite a big collection. One day, I fell in love with this very cute little toy dog in the shop up the road. It cost about $5. I asked mum if she would buy it for me: she said no, and used it as a chance to teach me about working for what you want. She set up a layby for me (the shop thought the situation was cute and were happy to help), and then every time I did a household chore, I’d get a small amount of money, which I then excitedly took down to the shop to pay off some more of the toy. I was SO EXCITED the day it was finally paid off and I could take it home. Try something like this with your kids the next time they ask you to buy them something.


Teach kids while out and about

There are loads of “teachable moments” you can take advantage of. That is, real life situations where you can teach your kids something just by going about usual life.

Turn chores into learning.

Get your kids to help you with the groceries. Why not give them a scenario where they have $2 to find the best value fruit for the family that week? Or they could hunt out the best specials for you. Or they can help with couponing before you leave the house. The list is endless!

Need help with planning your weekly shop? Read this article on meal planning on a budget.

Get your kids their own savings account.

This is a fantastic way for them to learn the value of money and watch their savings grow. I have fond memories of taking 20c to the bank each week, and proudly depositing it into my own account! I think setting up good savings habits as a child has really helped me with my attitudes and habits with money as an adult.

how to teach kids about finances

Let them play at being an entrepreneur.

So your kids have played shop, why not let them actually sell something? Homemade lemonade stalls are a classic, but you could also get your kids to bake some cookies they could sell. This is even better if they can contribute them as part of a fundraiser. That way they could learn about money and being generous at the same time. 

I remember when I was about 8 years old, I had a friend with a gigantic walnut tree in her yard. We spent a whole afternoon collecting and bagging the walnuts, then sold them out the front of her house. We made $2 each! (Which of course went into our savings accounts).


Are kids taught about finances and money in your country? What have you tried with your own kids? I’d love to hear your comments.


Happy downsizing,


em downsize your debt






image 1 by Charly W. Karl, CC 2.0,, image 2 by Nosey Nest, CC 2.0,, image 3 by Steven Depolo, CC 2.0,

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