There are SO many useful resources for parents who want to teach their kids about money management that there is no excuse for raising a child who can’t responsibly handle money (it that is what you are into). There are hundreds of books, websites, apps, games, and even specially designed piggy banks that will help parents create a super financially responsible offspring. Since there is so much out there parents can use, we have picked out the best stuff to help teach kids about money management.
The younger kids are, when you start teaching them about money, the easier it will be to get them comfortable talking about and dealing with money as they become adults. An easy way to do this is to start them off with some good books; here are some of our favorites:
For Kids Ages 3-7
These are great storybooks for younger kids with simple messages about the importance of saving, and learning the difference between wants versus needs.
- Little Critter: Just Saving My Money Little Critter learns the value of money, how to make good decisions with money, and how to have a sense of self-pride through his hard work and planning. After earning money by doing chores, Little Critter’s dad takes him to the bank to open his first savings account. This is a great book to help introduce the idea of banking and saving money to young children.
- The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money To earn coins for the Astro Bear video game, Brother and Sister Bear find ways to work for money. This book helps teach kids the importance of saving money, interest, and the concepts of goods and services.
- A Chair for My Mother This story is about a family that lost all of their furniture in a house fire. The family members decide to save coins to buy a new chair for their home. When the jar is full, they go out and buy a beautiful chair for the family to enjoy. This book teaches several money concepts, including counting, saving, making choices, banking, and wants and needs.
- Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday, is a fun book about a boy who is given a dollar and all of the temptations he faces trying not to spend the dollar. It’s an excellent book to start getting younger kids to think about the value of money and some of the difficulties that children have in saving money.
- Pretty Penny Sets Up Shop A young girl creates a “Small Mall” from things in her attic to sell to raise money for her grandmothers surprise celebration. An excellent book about earning cash through hard work and also suitable lessons on counting, and saving.
For Kids Ages 8-13
- Lunch Money, a 12-year-old boy, is obsessed with trying to earn money any way that he can, including doing things like collecting bottles, extra chores, etc. He eventually gets the idea to sell comics to his schoolmates, but the principle finds out about it and bans him from selling them at school. This book has good lessons on business, making money, and what it takes to get even a simple business off the ground.
- Money Hungry is an award-winning novel that deals with a young 13-year-old girl, Raspberry Hill, who lives in the projects with her mother. They were homeless at one time, and now Raspberry focuses on money as the source of comfort and security. This is an excellent book to show children the role money can play in a person’s life.
- A Smart Girl’s Guide to Money This addition to the popular Smart Girls Guide format shows girls the ins and outs of money. It includes sections with 101 money-making ideas, bank accounts, and interest, having a job, keeping track of money, and spending money wisely.
- Growing Money: A Complete Investing Guide for Kids is a guide that explains in kid-friendly terms all about savings accounts, bonds, stocks, and even mutual funds. This is an excellent book for children who want to put their money in the stock market because it also covers topics from dividends to how to read financial papers.
- Money Sense for Kids shows kids how to get bank accounts, write checks, use an A.T.M. card, learn about stocks, and start to invest on their own. The author offers ideas on how kids can earn, save, budget, and invest their money. She also presents puzzles and games that focus on the theme of money.
- The Complete Guide to Personal Finance: For Teenagers shows teens how to get and manage credit, how to make and stick to a budget, how to save for college, how to determine their needs versus their wants, how to pay for a car, how to finance college, how to manage risk, how to open a bank account, how to write a check, how to balance a checkbook, how to avoid the pressures of consumerism, and how to avoid financial mistakes. This book also teaches teens about investment options, taxes, checks, debit cards, credit cards, and essential budget tips.
- The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens helps teens understand the basics of investing and how easy it is to start investing on their own. They go over how to save and spend wisely.
- Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees has exercises and concrete examples on everything from responsible budgeting to understanding the difference between “want” and “need” for children of every age.
- Financial Peace Junior is a whole financial program tailored for children ages 3-12 that is designed to teach kids how to handle money. It has ideas for activities, and age-appropriate chores, games and “toys”, an activity book, and dry erase boards to track their progress.
- Rich Kid Smart Kid is a free website that provides financial lessons and games for kids starring two mice as the main characters; for grades K-12, and divided by grades.
- H.I.P. Pocket Change is the U.S. Mint’s free website for kids that feature games, art activities, and puzzles, as well as a history of the mint.
- Sense and Dollars is an interactive site with money games.
- Financial Football Visa and the National Football League have teamed up to help teach financial concepts with Financial Football. This fast-paced, interactive game engages students while teaching them money management skills. Teams compete by answering financial questions to earn yardage and score touchdowns.
Again, there is no shortage of websites to help teach kids about money. These are the most popular:
- The Mint has a kids section that provides necessary information about starting a business, earning money, spending it wisely, and saving and investing.
- Practical Money Skills is an online resource for educators, parents, and students focused on financial literacy and education. This site is for all ages of kids and is run by VISA USA.
- Sense and Dollars is a site for kids that teaches kids how to earn, save, spend, and budget.
- BizKids has kids teaching kids about money and business using shows and online games.
- Money as you Grow has 20 things kids need to know to live financially smart lives, developed by the Youth Subcommittee of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability.
- PBS Kids It’s My Life is a great site money site for kids; the section on money management is incredibly useful.
Online Allowance Trackers Apps/Websites
Teach your child that money can be enjoyed by having kids save up and purchase things for themselves by using an online allowance tracker. Here are a few to choose from:
- ThreeJars is a website that helps kids sort allowance money into virtual save, spend, and share “jars.” Puts allowance online, so it’s’s easy for your kids to track it, teaching them responsible money management
- Moneytrail is a free, online system for monitoring allowance and credit between kids and parents.
- Bankaroo is a family project with a website and an app version to help children learn how to manage their savings.
- FamZoo is an online virtual family bank. Parents use FamZoo with their kids to teach good money management habits and introduce them to charitable giving.
- A+ Allowance is an allowance app where you set your kid’s jobs for the week and decide how much they will earn.
- Savings Spree is an app with games that teaches kids how the daily lifestyle choices that they make can add up to significant savings or big expenses, depending on how they choose to spend (or not spend) their money. Savings Spree shows kids that they can save their money for short term goals, spend wisely by making more frugal decisions, donate to others, or invest money so it will grow to meet future needs. This is brought to you by the same group that does the Money Savvy Piggybank.
Videos/Webisodes to Teach Kids About Money
Sesame Street series “For Me, For You, For Later” A bilingual multimedia program that helps families share experiences and develop necessary financial skills Teaches lessons in value, spending, sharing, saving and more
The Secret Millionaires Club is an animated series that features Warren Buffett as a mentor to a group of entrepreneurial kids whose adventures lead them to encounter financial and business problems to solve. The program teaches the basics of good economic decision making and some of the basic lessons of starting a business. The animated series has 26 online short webisodes and 2 T.V. specials.
Money Games for Kids
- The Allowance® Game helps kids ages 5-11 years learn how to handle money, make change, identify money values, add & subtract money.
- Learning Resources Money Bags A Coin Value Game has kids earning money while winding along a cartoon path. Money is made by landing on a square labeled with a practical chore, such as setting the table, or an entrepreneurial task, such as a lemonade stand.
These piggybanks are a great idea to get kids to visualize where their money is going. The same concept can easily be made at home with a few jars or containers from your recycle bin or the dollar store and a few labels.
- Money Savvy Pig is a divided piggy bank that has four compartments that can be emptied separately: Spending, Saving, Donating, and Investing.
- Moonjar Classic Moneybox: Save, Spend, Share is a tool to help change how children develop a basic understanding of good money habits by being responsible for dividing their money into compartments dedicated to saving, sharing, and spending.