Kids have worked hard all year and are looking forward to the long-awaited summer break. They probably have all kinds of fun ideas for what they want to do — movies, amusement parks, spending the day at the mall with their friends — but all of that costs money.
It’s never too early to teach your children about the importance of earning and responsibly managing their money. Summertime is a great opportunity to help your kids turn downtime into dollars and teach them how to effectively manage those funds.
Have a yard sale
This is a wonderful way for your kids to earn some cash while having fun. Have them pitch in by getting rid of any old clothes, toys and games that they no longer use. You can even help them keep their math skills in check over the summer by having them manage the cash.
Not only does a yard sale help them declutter, but it can also help them learn lessons like fair pricing and negotiating.
Have a lemonade or baked good stand
This also offers the opportunity to spend some quality time with your kids in the kitchen. Baking is a wonderful activity to do together. Then, the items can be packaged for sale with a nice glass of cold lemonade.
Host a car wash
Have them get together with their friends and host a neighborhood car wash. This can be a good way to cool down and have some fun while earning some extra bucks during the hot summer months.
Offer kids camps
Older children can offer day camps for younger kids where they can do crafts, science activities and singing/dancing shows. They could also offer date night events where they can do a movie and cookie decorating or night games like hide and seek while parents get to go out for a date. This could also lead to future income with ongoing babysitting opportunities.
Put up flyers for mowing, pulling weeds or watering flowers. This is a great way to keep the kids active while giving them the opportunity to earn. They could also learn about gardening through the internet or books from the library and offer to start and maintain vegetable and fruit gardens, giving more of an ongoing opportunity.
When your child does start making money, have them save it in something they can see through. A glass flower vase, clean jar or even Tupperware are good options. Giving them the ability to see their money grow will create more excitement and leave them wanting to continue saving.
You can also help them to learn the three S’s — Save, Share and Spend. Teach your kids to pay themselves first by saving a portion of their earnings to reach a goal. Next, a portion is saved for sharing. This can be to support a charity, pay church tithings or contribute to school fundraising efforts. Then, allow them to spend what is left for things like new toys, activities with friends or a trip out for ice cream.
Teaching the three S’s helps solidify the importance of saving and budgeting, starting them on a positive financial path that will continue into adulthood.
Rachel Caballero is the community development manager at TruWest Credit Union.