Do you ever look back and think about how your parents were right?

How it was a good idea to save up your own money for your first cell-phone, and it wouldn’t have been a good idea to just get everything you asked for without earning it? Well, now that you have your own children, it’s your turn to teach them good money habits, to give them a solid grounding in life.
Kids learn a lot in school, but not everything they need to develop good habits throughout their lives. So it’s up to you to ensure that they grow into financially savvy adults.

As Benjamin Franklin said: ‘Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.’ Involve your children in good spending habits from the time they are very young, because the earlier they learn good money management, the greater their chances of growing into adults who spend wisely. So let your kids see for themselves how far money goes, by letting them ‘shop’ for themselves (with parental guidance, of course).

Teach them to save their pocket money for things they want, and let them go and buy that toy or book or gadget themselves, so they can see how much things cost, and pay at the counter with the money they have earned. When a child has something that they want handed to them, they have no sense of its worth. If they go to the shop with their hard-earned pocket money, they will see what things cost and learn that they can only have what they can afford.

Of course, you won’t be sending your children into the workforce when they’re toddlers. But you can teach them about earning money by assigning ‘currency’ (in the form of a chart with stickers, or tokens placed into a jar, or stars on a blackboard). These can be earned for good behaviour – for a beautiful drawing, good marks at school, completed chores, homework done ahead of time, clearing out their old toys and clothes to donate to children in need, taking the dog for a walk, mowing the lawn or anything else that’s appropriate to their age (you wouldn’t expect a three-year-old to wash the car!). And on the flip side, they can go into ‘debt’, with minus points for bad behaviour.

Your currency could be pocket money, or your child could save up their tokens, stickers or stars for something bigger they really want. You can also award additional prizes along the way, in the form of special treats for good behaviour or a job really well done.

The South African Savings Institute (SASI) is a local non-profit ‘dedicated to developing a robust culture of saving in South Africa’. Their advice on making your children good at money management is to start teaching them about saving and the value of money as soon as they can count.

According to SASI, children learn from repetition and observing others. Therefore ‘parents need to try and instil money management as more of an ingrained habit and attitude towards money, rather than just learning the facts about finance’.


1. Let them have a healthy treat outside of meal times (a banana, dried fruit or nuts).

2. Reward them with TV time or time to play a game they especially love.

3. Download an educational game or app for them on your phone or tablet.

4. Allow them half an hour more on the internet for good behaviour.

5. Take them somewhere they’ve been wanting to go for a long time.
CASH-SAVVY KIDS CASH-SAVVY KIDS Reviewed by Michelle Pienaar on October 19, 2017 Rating: 5
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