Easy Ways to Teach Your Preteen About Money

As kids grow up, they become curious about money and what it can buy. Teaching your preteen some spending smarts can actually reduce your financial stress later. Follow these suggestions at home and around town.

Dollars and coins

At Home

  • Buy fall and winter clothes in the summer before prices rise.
  • Kids' feet grow fast - don't spend too much on dress shoes or fancy sneakers.
  • Preteens think a lot about what's cool. Teach them about the traps of clever marketing and advertising. Look at magazine ads and TV commercials together and point out what's real and what's not. Ask what they think was done to make the product look cooler, what emotions they feel when they look at the ad, and explain that companies pay for advertising so their product looks appealing to us.
  • When buying items like computers, smartphones or pads for your preteen, do it over special occasions, like birthdays or holidays.

For School

  • Have your preteen try on all their school clothes once a year. Donate the things that don't fit.
  • Wait to get the school supplies list from the teacher before you buy anything new. Reuse scissors, rulers and other durable items from previous years.
  • Consider making a monthly or annual payment to your preteen's college fund.

While Out and About

  • Talk about smart shopping with your preteen. Point out what is important to buy and when: cheap, high-quality, brand name, generic, eco-friendly.
  • Explain the difference between debit and credit cards - how you use them, what happens if you don't pay on time, etc.
  • Don't bring younger children with you on shopping trips. You can lose track of what you're buying if you're distracted.

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