There are a few vital lessons your middle schooler needs to know – as a foundation for greater financial literacy later in life.
It's important for your child to understand where money comes from. Earning money comes mainly from effort and labor. Whether they labor mentally or physically, there is work required to make money. Once they understand this fundamental fact and see it in action in their lives, they can begin to understand the value of money on a different level. It is only then that they begin to correlate the value of the things they want to buy, with the amount of time and effort needed to earn money to do so.
Let your middle schooler help with grocery, food, and clothing shopping. It gives real-world experience for understanding how much things cost. Consider helping your child get real work experience by doing the following:
- Give your child a grocery budget for the week.
- Have your child scan local sales papers and plan a menu for the week based on what’s on sale.
- Ask your child to make a list of all the things needed to make a dinner for the family within the budget you have set. Work with your child to make sure you either have everything you need in your pantry or on the list.
- Take your child to the supermarket with the list and allow your child to choose the items (helping them select fruits, vegetables, cuts of meat, etc.) and conduct the transaction.
By the end of the shopping trip, your child will have learned about the costs of groceries for a household and have a new appreciation for what you go through each week to feed the family. More importantly, your child will understand the process of spending money on essential items, like food and groceries.
Saving and Investing
Another lesson to teach middle school students is the value of saving rather than spending. Teaching them young to put a portion of their earnings into savings allows them to watch their savings grow, and encourages them to prioritize their spending, so they only spend on what matters.
Once they have a sizable amount saved, you can show them the value of investing and how that can kick their savings efforts into high gear!
Requiring your middle school child to borrow and return money fosters an appreciation of the “contract” whether written or implied, of borrowing money and the importance of repaying it promptly.
Takeaways You Can Use to Build Your Child’s Money IQ
Teaching middle school children valuable lessons about money is something you can easily do.
- Communicate honestly with your child about money.
- Allow your child practical experience with budgeting and spending money.
- Help your child stay the course and watch his or her savings grow.
- Ensure your child understands what it means to borrow money and why it's so important to repay it as promised.
Use the advice above to help your middle schooler handle, manage, borrow, and spend more responsibly.