What is budgeting for kids activities, money lessons for kids, and financial literacy lesson plans, plus free no spend January printable (or no spend worksheet for any month!). Talking to your kids about budgeting and money doesn’t need to be intimidating or daunting with these family money tips and activity ideas for kids!
Best What Is Budgeting for Kids – Budgeting Worksheets, Lesson Plans, and Budget Activities for Kids
Discussing the value of money with kids and getting them involved in a monthly budget are essential life skills that will help them develop good habits and make good financial decisions later in life. Here’s how to teach a kid about money and budgeting and best ways to teach financial literacy (even younger children!)…
How do you teach kids about budgeting and money?
How do you explain budgeting to a child?
- Help kids understand how budgeting is important for spending and saving in life. (Answer: why is a budget important and other basic budgeting for beginners topics.)
- Do easy goal, savings, and cost worksheets.
- Have kids plan, shop, and cook a meal within a specific example budget (or let them set the grocery budget!).
- Start kids at an early age by saving in a piggy bank.
- Set up a Price is Right Guess the Price game. Set up different household items and have kids guess the price.
- Talk to kids about debit cards versus credit cards and the pros and cons of both.
- Play fun money games for kids and fun budgeting games. (see list below under money resources for kids)
- Do a trip planning simulation where you give kids a fake budget and a destination and have them plan the trip within the budget by looking up information online.
- Open a bank account for your kids and let them be involved in managing their savings account starting from a young age. (Talk to them about the difference between banks and a credit union.)
- Talk to kids about a savings goal and let them plan and save for something they want and making sure they have enough money.
- Have a creative allowance system by pinning different household tasks to a board and the amount kids will be paid to complete those jobs.
- Give kids an item to find at the grocery store and have them read labels and compare prices for the best deal.
- Let kids do a fake update of their bedroom. Give them a fake budget and let them update their bedroom within the budget. (Or, let them do a kids budget to redecorate for real – favorite money management exercises that we did with our own kids!)
- Use financial problem solving scenarios and ask kids how they would solve the issue.
- Do a no spend challenge as a family. (free no spend worksheet below!)
KEEP SCROLLING for the free no spend challenge printable below! Plus, we have a huge list of budget resources for kids, games that teach kids about money, and financial teaching resources!
How do you explain budgets to kids?
A simple definition of budgeting for kids is a budget is an important plan for saving and spending with your money. Learning how to make a budget for kids is an important lesson to teach early on in life!
Here are a few lesson plan ideas to help children learn about budgeting:
1. Introduce the concept of budgeting by discussing why it is important to track and manage money. Explain how having a plan for spending, saving, and investing can help people achieve their financial goals.
2. Have students create a mock budget with fake income, expenses, and savings goals. Have them identify areas where they could reduce costs or save more money.
3. Use hands-on activities to reinforce the concept of budgeting. Fun financial games like Monopoly, Life, and Pay Day can actually help kids learn about spending and saving. You can also use play money for student role-play scenarios that involve making financial decisions like buying a car, redesigning their bedroom, or purchasing luxury items (like video consoles and video games) versus basic necessities.
4. Using visual methods (like the Three Cups) really helps young kids understand separating money for different reasons (spending, saving, and giving).
5. With older kids, discuss advanced topics related to budgeting with debt and debt management, including things like credit card debt and student loan debt.
What is a good age for kids to learn about budgeting?
Kids can start learning about budgeting as early as preschool (and maybe even toddlers) to help build healthy money habits from the start. Start early learning about money and good budgeting!
How do you make a simple budget for kids?
- Help kids determine their income (allowance, part-time job, summer jobs, tasks to perform around the house, etc.) versus costs.
- Discuss needs versus wants.
- Set up goals for spending and saving.
- Don’t forget to have kids include charity donations in their budget!
- Write everything down on easy budget worksheets for kids.
- Regularly revisit the budget and help kids and teens make budget changes.
Budgeting Guide for Kids and Financial Literacy For Kids: How To Talk About Money As A Family and Teach Kids About Budgets
Whether you’re doing budgeting for teens / high school students (like budgeting grade 9 math), budgeting for middle schoolers, or even budgeting for young kids, you’ll find helpful tips for explaining budget to students and practicing financial literacy for kids!
Don’t forget about our FREE no spend challenge tracker printable below!
1. Include kids in family finances.
Talk to them about how your finances work and what you do to make sure you’re staying on track.
Let them know that it isn’t always easy, but with some discipline and planning, budgeting is very helpful!
Get kids involved in managing the family budget.
Include kids in discussions about big purchases or setting financial goals.
This will help them feel like they’re an important part of the family, and it can also open up opportunities for teaching them about savings, investing, and other money-related topics.
Get kids involved in family decisions.
As your children get older, you can involve them in big choices that affect the family’s finances — which is a powerful teaching tool!
If you need to decide whether to make a major purchase like a house or car or large item for the house, ask for their input, do some comparison shopping online, and work together to decide what’s best for your family.
You might be surprised at how much they can learn from these discussions, and it will also help them feel like an important part of the decision-making process.
2. Set kids up with their own budget.
Help kids set small, realistic financial goals and have control of their money.
For example, you might have your child save a certain amount of money each month to put towards a new video game or toy.
Or, you could encourage them to do extra chores around the house in exchange for an allowance that they can spend however they want.
Give them opportunities to use and manage money!
Let them help choose some of the groceries when you go grocery shopping, or you might give them some money to take with them when they go out to eat with friends.
This will help them see how their choices can affect the family budget, and it will also teach them important lessons about impulse buying, budgeting for certain expenses, and saving money for things that are important.
Encourage your kids to save up for the things they want.
This might mean starting a piggy bank, socking away birthday money, or even getting a part-time job to save up for more expensive toys or activities.
Have them compare prices and shop around when they’re buying something.
If they really want a new video game, explain that you’ll help them save up for it, but they’ll have to put in some of their own money as well.
They can then look at different stores or online retailers and see what the best price is for the game.
3. Spend time in budget discussions and budget activities on needs versus wants.
Talk about the difference between wants and needs when it comes to spending money. This can be a tricky concept for kids, but it’s an important one, and you can use a variety of examples to help them understand.
For example, you might tell your child that they want a new toy or that trendy pair of shoes, but you need to pay the rent or buy groceries this month. Point out why things like food or clothes are necessities, while games or toys often aren’t.
It doesn’t mean they can’t ever have things that are “wants,” but help kids understand how you need to meet needs first.
It’s natural for children to want to buy everything that they see, but you can help them understand the difference between needs and wants by talking about it with them.
Show them how to set a budget for things like clothing, entertainment, and other expenses.
If your child is responsible for setting a budget for certain things like clothing or entertainment, they will likely be more careful about how much they’re spending and make better decisions in terms of what they want to buy.
Encourage them to save up for things that they want.
If you find that your kids are asking you for more money on a regular basis, encourage them to save up their own money instead.
Help them set up a budget or help them to set small goals so that they can achieve something like a new video game console or other item that they want.
This can help them to focus on the things that they really want and avoid overspending.
Even if you have young kids, they will likely be able to understand the concept of saving up for something.
4. Make your child responsible for purchases.
Help kids compare the cost of things over different time periods.
For example, you might have your child estimate how much money they’ll spend over the next month on things like movies, toys, or meals out with friends.
Then, they can figure out how much cheaper it would be to buy these items in bulk at a discount store instead of spending that same amount of money each week.
Don’t be afraid to talk to young people about their long-term goals and short-term goals to help them determine financial commitment.
5. Help them learn from financial mistakes.
Give them the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them.
This is a big part of growing up, and it can also be an effective way to teach your kids about money and budgeting.
For example, you might let your child use some of their pocket money to buy things that they don’t really need, or you allow them to spend part of their birthday money in any way they want.
This can help them see the consequences and impact of impulsive spending, and it will also give you a chance to talk about things like priorities and making good choices when it comes to spending money.
6. Don’t forget to cover unexpected expenses with kids!
Help them learn how to manage unexpected expenses.
Unfortunately, life is full of surprises, and things happen that you can’t always plan for.
Help your children understand how to include unexpected expenses in the budget by showing them how you handle these types of situations.
For example, if your car breaks down or there’s an unexpected medical bill, help them compare the cost and look for ways to save money on repairs or services needed. Show them how you may need to take money from savings or give up other items to cover the new expenses.
This can be a valuable lesson for them, and it will also help you build trust and honesty between you if they see how much work goes into managing the family’s money.
7. Don’t make money a taboo topic.
People are often uncomfortable talking about money, especially their money mistakes.
Encourage your kids to ask questions or talk about money. This is an area that many people find uncomfortable, but it’s important to encourage your children to discuss money with you.
This can help them learn about saving and budgeting, but it will also give them opportunities to talk about their feelings without worrying that you’ll be upset or disappointed in the choices they’ve made.
For example, you might suggest that your child track their weekly spending for a month, or discuss ways that they can save money on specific items or activities.
This can help them develop confidence, and it will also give you a chance to teach them about things like responsible spending and saving for the future.
8. Model good budget habits for kids.
Be a good example! Set an example with your own money habits.
When your kids see you taking charge of family finances and making good choices, they’re more likely to learn from those examples as they grow up.
For example, if you’re always buying things on credit and racking up bills that you can’t afford to pay, your kids will learn those habits as well.
On the other hand, if they see you using coupons and shopping around for deals when it comes to necessities like food or clothes, they’ll be more likely to follow your lead when they’re older.
9. Give kids the ability to make money at home.
If you want to encourage good money management skills in your children, you might consider giving them an allowance.
Make earning money part of your child’s life at any age.
Earning money at home can be a weekly allowance or helping with random tasks to earn money.
This can be a great way to teach your kids about budgeting and money, but it will also give them some freedom and control over the resources that they have.
If you want to make allowances part of their allowance, you’ll need to outline how much they’ll get each week or month along with any rules and expectations that come along with it.
For example, you might require them to do chores each week in exchange for their allowance, or limit how they can spend the money so that they learn about making good choices.
Talk to them about different ways that they can earn extra money, such as starting a small business, getting a part-time job, or babysitting or dog walking in your neighborhood.
This can be a great way for them to learn how to make money and set their own goals at the same time.
10. Talk about ways to save when shopping.
Encourage good spending habits by taking advantage of deals and sales, using coupons or shopping around for the best prices on things like groceries or clothing.
When your kids see you making wise decisions when it comes to purchasing items or shopping around for the best deals, it teaches them good money management skills as well.
Show them how to use coupons or savings apps on their phone to make the most of the money resources.
FUN MONEY ACTIVITY: For older kids, split off some of your grocery list and let them go off shopping for part of the list. Let them look for coupons with the store app and also remind them about comparison shopping.
I have my teen daughter shop for part of my list now and, not only is it really helpful, but it’s also teaching her shopping skills and budgeting skills and all about reading labels.
(We use the free AnyList app on the iPhone to share lists.)
11. Talk about finance scammers.
In today’s world, it’s important to be aware of scammers who might try to take advantage of your kids.
Be aware of scammers and teach your kids how to spot scams when shopping online or making purchases over the phone.
For example, if your child is shopping online, they will need to be sure that they’re only buying from reputable companies and avoiding anything that seems too good to be true.
Also teach kids about things like phishing scams, identity theft, and clicking on links that look reputable but are not so that they know how to spot them and avoid being taken advantage of.
Read on for fun activities with money for kids!
21+ Fun Money Teaching Resources and Books About Financial Literacy For Kids
Great resources for a create a budget lesson plan and financial planning for kids lessons!
How to teach budgeting to students:
- Play Money Bags for fun games that involve money
- Read The Importance of Budgeting (Budgeting & Money Management for Kids)
- Read The Power of Investments (Budgeting & Money Management for Kids)
- Learn with Managing My Allowance game
- Use All About Money – Economics – Business – Ages 10+: The Thinking Tree – Do-It-Yourself Homeschooling Curriculum
- Get kid’s budget worksheets and money worksheets with this kit for money skills activities
- Use a money activity set like this for younger kids to teach money handling activities
- Grab a money workbook for kids
- Play the Exact Change card game
- Get Cash Flow For Kids
- Play the Buy It Right Shopping Game
- Get out the old school Pay Day game (it’s more fun than you remember!)
- Play Big Money Family Board Game
- Use money flash cards like this to help younger kids learn money
- Play Monopoly Junior with young children
- Try The Money Club: A Teenage Guide to Financial Literacy for budgeting lesson middle school or budgeting lesson plan high school
- Use Easy Peasy Money: A Fun Money & Budgeting Book for Kids
- Read MY FIRST BOOK ABOUT FINANCIAL EDUCATION: How to save money and make it grow
- Grab Financial Peace Junior Kit: Teaching Kids How to Win With Money
- Play the Osmo Pizza game to learn about helping customers and making change
Let us know your ideas for fun money activities for kids and we’ll add them to our list!
FREE Family No Spend Challenge Printable
Use this as a New Year resolution for a January no-spend challenge or any time throughout the year!
How do I start a no-spend challenge?
- Discuss with family that you can only spend money on necessities (rent/mortgage, groceries, gas, etc.).
- Plan ahead – plan meals and what you’re going to do without extra money to spend. (No gourmet coffee runs!)
- Use a no spend challenge printable worksheet that tracks your success each day. Print our free no spend month challenge printable to do with the kids each night!
- At the end of the month, discuss what did work and what didn’t work.
- Decide if you want to try the challenge of not spending the next month!
Who knows! You may even have no spend challenge ideas for a no spend challenge year!
(This is a fun budgeting worksheet middle school or high school students to do on their own to go with their personal budget worksheet for students.)
CLICK HERE OR ON THE IMAGE TO GET THE DOWNLOAD