Ideas for working with youth on money management

Helping young children learn money management skills.

With the summer months upon us, there will be many opportunites for youth to have a chance to spend money, or be with someone who is spending money. Whether on a vacation or just a trip to town to the local grocery store, young people need to learn to start setting goals for themselves regarding the use of money.

Michigan 4-H Youth Development has many resources available to help youth make smart choices about money. 

One of those resources is a partnerships with the credit union co-op –, which offers suggestions for teaching young people tips and ideas on money practices.

How you teach, and what you teach, young people about money depends on personal values.  What are some concepts that you want your young child to learn?

  1. There are different needs and wants.
  2. You  have a limited amount to spend.
  3. Do you need money to have fun? 

Try these activities created by Michigan State University Extension to help young children learn about money mangagement concepts.

Fun Without Spending
Todays’ children need to learn that you can have fun with out spending a lot of money, or that somethings are even free.  There may be supplies in your home available to use such as markers, colors, tape, scissors, etc. A fun activity for a young child is having them tell you what they like to do and make a list.  Make a check mark  by those that cost money.  Suggest activivites that are free and make a list; you may have to help them with this one. Some examples are going to the park, playing on the swings, reading a book or drawing with chalk on the sidewalk.

Grocery Shopping
Another example is to take children grocery shopping.  Young children can work with you on the list of items you will buy, help find them and see how much the items cost.  Teach children that shopping means making choices.  Maybe you only have so much to spend so you need to decide what you are going to buy and stick to that list.  This will help you plan ahead with meals or supplies needed in your home.  This may take a little more time at the grocery store, but you will help your young child learn about comparison shopping and making lists. It is also fun to count out the number of tomatoes or apples; this can help with their math skills.

There are lots of ideas for working with younger youth to teach money concepts.  For more information, check out the financial literacy section of the 4-H website.

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