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Teaching your kids about different forms of money

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You’ve probably told your kids that money doesn’t grow on trees, but have you taught them about the many forms it comes in? In today’s world, your kids will interact with money in a range of ways, from cash to online shopping and banking from a mobile phone. Here’s how to ensure they learn that the value remains the same no matter how they receive, save or spend it.

Firstly, to get your child thinking about the different forms money can take, work together to create a list. Include cash, coins, the ATM, your smartphone (with the CommBank app and your computer (with access to NetBank), plus any others you can think of.

Download our activity sheet to test them on everything they’ve learnt.

Teach them that the value is the same

It seems simple, but your kids might not know a crucial money principle; it’s what we exchange for goods and services. Once they understand this, it becomes easy to explain that the value of money is linked to what it can buy you, whichever form it comes in. The following task will help to illustrate this point:

  • Head to the supermarket with your EFTPOS or credit card, plus some physical cash
  • Find a product that both you and your child need, for example a new toothbrush, and pick up two – one for both of you
  • Head to the counter and tell the cashier you’d like to pay for each product separately
  • Explain to your child that you are paying for the item using your card, and then allow your child to pay for their product using physical cash
  • This will help them to distinguish the real cost of an item while comprehending that cards are also a method of payment.

Set pocket money challenges

If you’re already giving your kids pocket money, assign them savings challenges and reward them for successful efforts in a different monetary form. For example:

  • Deposit a $5 bonus into their online savings account if they’re able to save 50 per cent or more of their weekly pocket money
  • Although they won’t see the cash, they’ll be learning about money’s interchangeability while developing good savings habits.

You can be fairly certain that your kids will be paying for things in a very diverse manner of ways as they grow older. A basic understanding of money’s many forms will ensure they appreciate the value of money no matter how they’re paying for things down the track.

For more tips about money and kids, head to The Beanstalk.

Things you should know

This advice has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of that, you should, before acting on the advice, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances. Terms and conditions for transaction and savings accounts mentioned are available here (PDF 660KB). Please read our Financial Services Guide (PDF 60KB).


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