When teaching finances to children, it can be difficult to point out the distinction between needs and wants, since many of their needs are handled by their parents.
Start teaching budgeting fundamentals to young children by explaining your own behavior and decisions. At the grocery store, you can talk about the different prices on similar items and how you decide which one to buy. Discuss which purchases are necessities and which are items you just wanted.
Older kids can start to make their own decisions about purchases. Although typical 13-year-olds don’t need to buy food, they can make a decision about using their allowance to purchase a snack at school or wait for dinner, saving their money for something else.
Talk about the value of different items to different people. A friend might save up for high quality sports equipment, while another downloads music from a favorite artist. Neither choice is right or wrong – it all depends on the budget and value that each person places on the item. What items are important to you and how do they compare to what’s important to your child? How might those decisions change over time?
AGES 16 AND OLDER
As teens and young adults start to earn the money they use to pay for expenses, they will begin to consider needs differently. Food, housing, clothing, and utilities are all necessities that need to be included in a budget, as well as savings and investments. Although savings and investments may not be basic needs, they are a necessity for a stable future.
Learn more about how SLFCU can help you teach kids and teens about money.
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