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Teaching kids about money

Start early to get your kids on track for the future

Page reading time: 4 minutes

Raising your kids to be smart with money gives them a vital life skill.

As a parent, you have the power to shape your children's relationship with money. Start early by showing them how to budget, how to spend wisely and how to set savings goals.

Show them money

With credit cards, tap-and-go, and online banking and shopping, kids don't often see actual money changing hands. This 'invisible' money makes it easier for them to think money is unlimited, rather than something that has to be earned.

Being able to see notes and coins can make it easier for kids to grasp the concept of money. Handing over money in exchange for something can give them a sense of what things actually cost.

You can also make money more visible to your kids by talking about money. Set a good example by spending money responsibly and avoiding unnecessary debt.

Money makes the world go round

Find out why it's important to teach financial skills to children

Show your kids where money goes

Use everyday situations to teach your kids about money, including where it comes from and where it goes.

At the bank

Explain that the cash from ATMs isn't 'free money'. They only give you money that you've made by working and saving. Show your kids that this money is from your bank account. Explain that each time you take money out, you have less money in your account.

While shopping

While shopping, teach your kids how much things cost by showing them:

When paying bills

Show your kids an electricity bill or a phone bill. Explain how many hours or days you had to work to pay that bill.

This will help them start to see the connection between work and the cost of things.

Teach your kids how to spot a banking or credit scam and protect themselves.

Get kids involved in money decisions

As your kids get older, get them involved in budgeting, saving and spending.

Check deals

Work with your kids to research online or shop around to find the best value for something they want.

Plan an event

Involve your kids in planning and budgeting for an outing or a birthday party. Work through all the costs with them, including transport, food or tickets.

Do a budget

Do the family budget with your kids. Explain how much money you have each week and how it’s spent. They'll start to get a sense of the cost of living and how long it takes to save.

If they earn some of their own money, help them create their own budget.

Give kids pocket money

Pocket money can help children to understand the value of money. You can choose to pay them for certain tasks, for example:

Make sure you withhold or reduce their pocket money if the tasks are not done or not done properly. This helps to teach kids that they only get paid when work has been done to a certain standard.

Encourage your kids to save

Learning to save is a vital money lesson.

Piggy banks and bank accounts

Piggy banks are great for younger kids. They can see the money they’re putting away and watch it grow as they save.

Opening a savings account is a good way to introduce kids to banking, saving and interest.

Needs versus wants

Discuss the difference between 'needs' and 'wants', and encourage your kids to think about these before spending their money.

When older kids get their first job, they're often tempted to spend all their money at once. Show them how to track their spending to see where all their money is going.

Set money goals

Help your kids avoid impulsive purchases by teaching them to set goals and to prioritise what they spend their money on.

Share their money

Encourage your kids to donate some of their savings to charity. This teaches them that money can be used to help people, and is not just for buying things.

Activities for learning about money

See our range of online activities your kids can do to learn about money.

Ages 5-8 - Needs and wants - Kids consider the difference between needs and wants.

Ages 8-10 - Party time - Kids organise their own birthday party. They decide between needs and wants, create a simple budget and learn about making wise financial decisions. 

Ages 10-12 - The cost of cats and dogs?... and snakes? - Kids research the costs of owning a pet by following characters and helping them save, spend, plan, budget and make consumer choices. 

Ages 12-16 - Savvy solutions to consuming questions - Kids follow three teenagers who each need to make decisions around spending, saving, investing and donating. 

Ages 14-18 - Rookie: Moving out of home - Kids interact with a real estate agent and explore the costs of moving out of home.

Ages 14-18 - Rookie: First job - Kids talk to their boss about tax, super and payslips.

Hey, teacher! Our units of work and digital activities are aligned to the Australian curriculum and great for primary, secondary and VET students