I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve been feeling pretty lazy the last couple weeks. This crazy weather that we’ve had lately has just thrown my normal routine out of whack. By the time spring break rolls around I’m ready to get started with all that comes with nicer, warmer weather. Soccer practices, yard work, trips to the park, allergies…you know, all that fun stuff.  Now that Mother Nature is hopefully done throwing her “temperature tantrum,” I can get back into the swing of things and start posting blogs more often.

I have some fun blog ideas in my head, so I’m excited for the next few weeks and months.

April was National Financial Education month and we celebrated with lots of fun activities and events for the youth in our community. There were events at our local libraries, prizes and giveaways at both of our branches, and a financial reality fair at the career tech center in Muskegon.  Also, we had National Bring Your Kid to Work Day on Thursday, April 26th. Between both branches we had a total of 17 kids. These youngsters spent most of the day learning about what we all did at the credit union.

Obviously I got a lot of work done that day while my daughter was here.

What I did get done was think about how important it is to teach our children financial responsibility from a young age and how there are 2 types of people out there; the savers and the spenders. I will be the first one to admit that I am a spender. Luckily, I married a saver.

My kid? She is without a doubt a spender.  Money burns a hole in her pocket and she spends it almost as soon as she gets it.  Maybe she’ll grow out of it as she gets older or maybe she’ll end up falling in love with someone that balances her out.

I’m sure that part of her problem is that she has learned from me and my spending habits, but I think part of it is that she just doesn’t understand enough about it.  But what does she need to learn and how should she best learn it?

I guess the first step is to actually give her money to work with.  Recently, I have started giving her $5.00 a week for allowance. Obviously every family and situation is different, but for me, $5.00 was a good number to start with.  I’ve suggested to her that she save a portion of it and the rest she is free to spend as she pleases.  We decided on 20%, or $1.00 that she should set aside to save.  This will leave her $4.00 a week to spend on something, or if she chooses, save up for something larger.

My responsibility is to be consistent about handing out the allowance.  Like real life, it’s important for children to understand why they are being paid and what is expected of them in order to earn their money.  It’s also important to be consistent about handing out the allowance. We wouldn’t like it if our employer was unreliable when it came to paying us. It would make it difficult for us to budget our lives.

Being eight, almost nine years old, Marley doesn’t really have the opportunity to earn money that often.  I’m always trying to bribe her by telling her I’ll pay her to match and fold socks for me, but so far it seems she hates the idea of that almost as much as I do. Now that the weather is getting nicer, maybe we will set up a lemonade stand or have a yard sale this summer.

I get it.  It’s hard to not want to indulge in everything you “have to have.” I do it all the time. But I also know how impulse shopping can leave you without any money or a safety net when something important happens. Above all else, trying to teach my kid these life lessons has made me realize that one of the best ways that I can teach her to be financially responsible is to walk the walk and be a better example.

(Which reminds me, I still owe her allowance from last week.)