Teaching your kids good money habits

Teaching your kids about good money management from an early age can set them up with the right skills to budget, save and spend wisely as they get older. Here are a few ideas to help them get started and heading in the right direction.


Set a good example

Children learn from their parents, so if you want your kids to grow up financially smart it’s important you lead the way and show them how it’s done.

Show them how you save, budget and make good buying decisions. Teach them the difference between wants, needs and wishes. Use everyday situations to help your children learn – for example, at the supermarket, when you’re paying a bill or ordering takeaways, include them in your money discussions and let them come up with ideas and decisions.


Help your kids set goals

Goal-setting is a great way to teach kids the value of money. It gives them a reason to save, teaches them to budget for the things they want – and shows them that waiting pays off.

Saving is much easier when your kids have a clear, achievable goal and a plan to get there in a reasonable time.

Watch this video for fun ways to help your kids set and achieve their goals.

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Open a bank account for your kids

It’s important kids learn to use a bank account as soon as they can. That way, managing money becomes a part of their everyday life and they’ll get comfortable with it sooner.

Check out ASB’s Headstart bank account. It’s a great first bank account as it gives younger children a good introduction to banking and managing money, while older children get the opportunity to take control of their own finances.

We’ve also got a range of savings accounts to help your child save for the things they want now, as well as the things they’ll need in the future.


Make saving interesting

If it’s interesting, kids will learn faster and enjoy learning too. Here are some ideas for making saving interesting:

Let them work for their money

Teach your kids that money doesn’t grow on trees by getting them to do certain household chores for pocket money – like raking the leaves, washing the car or sweeping the deck. They’ll learn the value of money and have some fun at the same time.

Offer rewards for good saving habits

Small treats and rewards can go a long way to motivating your kids to save harder. So, for example, if they saved their spending money instead of spending it this week, reward them with a sticker, a ‘high five’ or half an hour longer on their favourite game.

Take them shopping with you

Grocery shopping is a great way to teach kids how to spend wisely. Let them loose with your shopping list and a tight budget, and they’ll learn to shop based on price and benefits (over brand) – and practise their math skills too. You could encourage them further by allowing them to keep any change left over.

Track savings progress

Tracking progress is the fun part of saving. One way to do this is to ask your child to draw a large thermometer and hang it on the wall. Every few days, check your child’s savings and as they save, they can add to the thermometer. See how to do this (video).


As kids grow up, let them take charge

As your child grows up it’s a good idea to let them manage their own money and make their own spending choices. While it may be hard for you to let go, letting them take charge can be one of the fastest ways to help them learn money skills.

Our Headstart bank account is a great way to give your child a head start in money management. If your child is over 13, you can choose to give them the freedom to open and manage their own account, and make withdrawals with their own Visa Debit card (with your permission if they’re under 16).

If your child is under 13, you can be in control of their account, but then transition the account into their ownership once they turn 13.

When to let them take charge

There are no hard and fast rules for when to let your child take over their finances, it’s more a matter of when they’re ready, regardless of age. Here are some questions you could ask yourself:

  • Is my child careful with money?
  • Have they been taught money skills from a young age?
  • Do they think before they spend their pocket money?
  • Do they have financial goals in place?

Of course, every child is different, but answering these questions may give you an indication of whether it’s time for you to let go?

Open Headstart account for your child

Children under 13

Come see us at a branch and bring with you accepted ID for yourself and your child.

Find a branch

Teenagers 13-18

Your teenager can open their own account by visiting a branch and bringing in accepted ID.

Find a branch

Other helpful guides

The above information is a guide only and should not be relied on as it does not take into account your personal financial situation. ASB's terms apply.

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