From Lemonade Stands to Scholarships: Teaching Money Wisdom to Kids

April 26, 2024 by Chevron Federal Credit Union

Summer is the perfect season not only for outdoor adventures but also for sowing the seeds of financial wisdom in our young ones. Encouraging your kids to take on summer jobs is more than a rite of passage; it's a foundational step toward understanding the value of money, budgeting, and responsible spending.

From the first piggy bank to their first paycheck, every child's journey offers learning opportunities at any age.

Small kids (ages 6 – 12): Building a foundation

For young children, the concepts of money management can be introduced through simple, relatable activities. Summer provides the perfect backdrop for lessons in earning through classic ventures like lemonade stands or yard sales.

Here's how to build a solid financial foundation:

  • Spend, save, give: Allocate earnings from summer chores or small businesses into these categories. Discuss the importance of each and help them make decisions on where their money should go, fostering a sense of responsibility and the basics of budget management.
  • Teaching budgeting: Use jars or envelopes to visually demonstrate how money can be divided into spending, saving, and giving. Encourage setting aside savings for a desired toy or activity.
  • Interactive financial games: There are board games and apps designed to teach money management in a fun, engaging way. Playing Monopoly or using a financial literacy app can turn abstract concepts into tangible lessons for young minds.

Teens (ages 13 – 17): Developing financial independence

As children enter their teenage years, they're ready for more sophisticated financial concepts and the autonomy to make their own money decisions. Summer jobs become gateways to real-world financial independence.

At home, you can teach about the following:

  • Advanced budgeting techniques: Introduce tools like digital budgeting apps designed for teens, setting spending limits and goals for savings. This can be tied to real-life objectives, such as saving for a car or college expenses.
  • Understanding financial concepts: Use this time to explain the value of investing, the dangers of debt, and the basics of taxes. Practical experiences, like managing their first paycheck, can make these lessons more tangible.
  • Entering the workforce: A part-time job is a great way for teenagers to learn to earn and manage their own money. Online freelance jobs or tasks like pet-sitting and tutoring can offer flexible earning opportunities and lessons in self-employment.

College students (18+): Transitioning to financial independence

College students face the dual challenge of managing day-to-day expenses and the looming responsibility of student loans. Summer internships or jobs in their field of study not only provide valuable experience but also the chance to practice financial independence in a controlled environment.

At home, work on:

  • Navigating student loans and budgeting: Encourage the use of budgeting tools that cater to college students, focusing on managing loan repayments and daily expenses.
  • Building credit responsibly: Introduce the concept of credit scores and how responsible credit card use can build a positive credit history.
  • Scholarship and grant hunting: Use summer as a time to research and apply for scholarships and grants, reducing the reliance on student loans. This proactive approach can teach the value of resourcefulness and long-term financial planning.

Empowering our youth with financial knowledge and responsibility is a gift that pays dividends well into their future. The summer months offer a unique time for these lessons to unfold, from the simplicity of a lemonade stand to the complexities of a summer internship. As parents and guardians, guiding our children through these stages not only prepares them for the financial realities of adulthood but also sets the foundation for a lifetime of sound financial decisions.

If your child doesn't already have a savings account, consider setting up a MySavings Youth Account to kickstart their journey towards financial empowerment. 


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