New Year New You

New Year New You

Money is a tool, and learning how to master that tool takes guidance, thoughtfulness, and practice. It is never too soon to help your girl develop good habits, a sense of what things are worth, and a healthy perspective about what money can—and cannot—do. Start your girl’s “money smarts” off right with these seven tips.

Practice money mindfulness

Good money habits begin with simply paying attention—something most kids don’t necessarily need to do when they are small. Stopping to consider where her money comes from, where it goes, and how she can best use it will empower her to make smart, well-informed decisions about earning, saving, and spending.

Gifts, an allowance, the quarter she found in the parking lot—pooling and saving her money can show her how even small amounts can grow over time. Encourage her to make a practice of putting at least a part of her money aside each time she receives it. Not only will she develop good saving habits, her efforts will be rewarding!

Be willing to work (and have fun while doing it)

Help your girl think about what she’s good at, what she likes to do, and how she can turn her talents and interests into a money-making opportunity.

Show your girl how to keep track of how much money she earns or receives each month, how much she saves, and how much she spends—not just on big-ticket things she’s saved for, but on little things, like a pack of gum or a vending machine beverage, too. Have her start fresh each month, then help her compare, look for patterns, and find averages for each category: in, out, or saved. Equipped with that information, she can start to develop a plan for how she manages her money.

Know the difference between needs and wants

Your girl may want all kinds of things, but she may not necessarily need them. Encourage her to think about what’s optional—new sparkly lip gloss, perhaps? —and what’s not . . . like food for the hamster she agreed to take responsibility for if you’d “please, please” let her have a pet of her own.

By following these few simple principles, you and your girl will be amazed at how much easier it is for her to make good money decisions and feel great about her “money smarts.”