Making Kids Money Masters


Greed vs. Need

April 18, 2022

Image From:  annakraynova/Canva Pro

Article By: Kelly Kirk-Xu & Emily Stevens

In a world of consumerism, we all struggle to differentiate between our wants and needs from time to time. And this is true for consumers of all ages!! As we scroll through Instagram and see that influencer’s fashionable outfit, the temptation can make it feel like a need.  When we see a commercial for the latest iPhone, its hard not to look at your current phone and feel like you could use an upgrade. That juicy hamburger on your television may get your tummy rumbling and have you driving to McDonald’s before you even realize what is happening.

Our children are no exception to these desires. Has your little one become a little obsessed with having the newest things? Most parents have dealt with that “I want it!” stage. You know, the stage where you have to avoid the toy aisle at all costs.

Well, this just might be the perfect time to begin teaching your little one the differences between “wants” and “needs.”  Not everything they “want” is worth their time and money.   That sounds great and all, but you may be struggling to figure out just where to start. No worries! Walter the Vault has got your back!

Lead by Example

Have your consumption habits gotten out of hand recently? Our children learn the most from the behaviors they see from us, the parents. Talk through some buying decisions with your future money masters.  It’s good for them to hear about your struggles and decision making processes.  They will hear that their role models have to resist temptations as well, and learn from your example.

For example, imagine you have just watched a commercial for the newest model of that luxury car you’ve been dreaming of. Mention how much you would love the car to your child and talk to them about why you cannot just purchase it right then and there.  You can talk about budgeting, expenses, and setting realistic expectations.  Sometimes “imagining” having something can be just as good as actually having it.  You can play pretend and talk about all of the things you’d do “if” you had that thing.  Eventually, your kids (or your own) interests may move onto something new.  And if so, well done!  You avoided a huge expense, while still enjoying the benefits of *pretending* to own it. 🙂

It’s Okay to Say No

Parents tend to do whatever it takes to make their little ones happy. But did you know that too much instant gratification can reduce happiness? It is perfectly okay to pick and choose the things you decide to say “yes” to.  It may even be helpful to list off all of the things you’ve recently said “yes” to, to help your little ones realize that you actually have quite a lot.  Practicing gratitude can be a wonderful habit.

Teach Them the Value of Money

Let’s face it- life can get expensive. When your child has no concept of the value of money, they may see no reason why they can’t get what they want.  I mean, they see that you have money – so why not spend it on what they want?  Check out some of our other posts to learn more about teaching your child about the value of money!  It’s important to learn that we can assign a job to each dollar.  Some money will be spent on bills, some will be spent on housing, some on transportation, and whats left can be spend on extra nonessentials.  Teaching your kids this reasoning and these habits will help them understand the decision making process when it comes to spending their money. 

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