Teaching the Value of Money

April 2, 2010 7:54:12 AM PDT
As the holiday shopping season gets closer, my son Nicholas is now asking about gifts - not what he's going to get for Christmas, but what he can buy for his family members.

Or how much Dad is going to give him to spend.

While it's gratifying that my 7-year-old is preoccupied with gift giving instead of gift getting, this may still be a good time to help him understand the value of money.

Certainly most 7-year-olds are still not really sure what things cost. In fact he's only starting to realize the difference between the cost of say a pack of gum and a video game.

Price is meaningless to him and maybe it should be right now. But, this year's shopping season, I want him to be a bit more knowledgeable about what things cost and what's a good buy and what isn't.

So, to accomplish this, here's a few things I've decided to try:

1. Giving my son an allowance (a small one - don't tell him). This will hopefully teach him about the cost of things, and there's no better way to do that than by having his own money and perhaps give him an idea in the difference of prices.

2. When we go to stores, I've started talking to him about shopping and pointing out price tags, while also showing him when things are on sale as opposed to when things are costly.

3. I plan to have him prepare a shopping list of things he would like to buy as Christmas gifts this year. This will hopefully encourage him to think ahead about how he will spend his money and his time.

Should be an interesting shopping season for my son and I. Hopefully, Dad won't get short-changed.

Stay tuned.