Tips and Tools for Financial Literacy

2 girls and 1 boy holding dollar bills

Cropped image. Carissa Rogers, Flickr / CC License

Learning good money habits as a child can help prevent money mistakes later in life. Believe it or not, you can start teaching healthy habits as early as 3 years old — think as simple as explaining that you need money to buy things. April is Financial Literacy Awareness month, so why not start the conversation today?

For Young Children

  • PNC’s For Me, For You, For Later Series features:

For Elementary-age Kids

  • OUR Credit Union’s Money Fact Sheet shows how to write money and also gives examples of how the same money looks in different combinations, like four quarters equal $1.
  • Try coin-counting apps, like Jungle Coins (iPad) and Freefall Money (iPhone, iPod, iPad), which help kids ages 6 and up learn coin math.
  • Open a child’s saving account. Many financial institutions offer a kids’ club as a fun and educational way to learn about money. Check with your bank or credit union to see what’s available.
  • Consider a piggy bank or envelope system divided into 4 options for allowances and monetary gifts:
    • Spend. Think bagel day at school or small toy at the store.
    • Save. Perfect for a larger purchase, like that $50 LEGO set.
    • Invest. This money goes into the savings account. Have your child make the deposit so he/she learns the process and gets comfortable with interacting with a teller.
    • Donate. This teaches the importance of giving back to the community. Although you can help guide, let your child choose where the donation should go, which will often be to something she finds interesting. For example, my son planted a tree in Borneo through the Indianapolis Zoo and donated to our local animal shelter.
    • Read about how one family is using this with their 4-year-old.

For High Schoolers and College Students

  • Credit Card Simulator is a fun tool that teaches credit card management skills. Choose a platinum, gold, or plus card (each with a different APR), then “purchase” items. The “bill” shows the minimum payment and then how much you’ll really pay over time when making only the minimum payment.
  • Financial Football is a trivia-type game covering topics like bankruptcy, stocks and scholarships.
  • Looking for budget basics? Wondering how to buy a car? Confused about where to save your money? Creditunionsrock.com offers lots of great tips for all of those questions and more. Topics include earning, budgeting, saving, spending, borrowing and planning.
  • Bizkids includes resources for starting your own business as a teen.

For All Ages

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