Five tips for teaching children responsible spending & saving habits

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Typically, money is an exchange of value, and children need to experience this to understand it as such. (Image: Pexels)
Typically, money is an exchange of value, and children need to experience this to understand it as such. (Image: Pexels)

With the consumer budget under more strain than ever before, it is increasingly important that South African consumers are exercising responsible spending and saving habits – and passing these on to their children from a young age. As a responsible retailer, Game stores is assisting parents in teaching children and teenagers responsible shopping habits this savings month – to curb issues like impulse buying, for example.

Game has developed a downloadable Shopping Agreement that children and their parents can edit and sign, which looks to ensure that responsible shopping and spending habits last beyond Saving Month.  The retailer has also partnered with Nicolette Mashile, author of Coco the Money Bunny – a children’s book that looks to teach children about money – as part of its Simply Save campaign. 

“An important part of teaching children about money and the best ways to make it work for them, is teaching them about how best to spend and save their money,” says Mashile. “This agreement is aimed at setting clear boundaries and expectations around shopping trips and ensuring that parents and their children are clear on the rules around spending and saving. This is a way to teach these lessons through positive reinforcement.”

Mashile has provided her top five tips around teaching children responsible shopping, spending and savings habits this Savings Month: 

Don’t use shopping as entertainment – “rather teach your children to save for a goal and only reward the achievement of the saving,” she says. Using the SMART goal system to save for financial goals is a good way to help your children to find the ‘win’ in saving for a certain item, rather than the short-lived euphoria of an impulse buy.

Don’t say “wait until the end of the month” – “This is destructive when attempting to foster a healthy savings culture in your household. Wants should not suddenly transform into needs when your salary is paid,” she advises. Rather, stick to what is budgeted and planned for. 

Stop giving children free money - Real life doesn’t happen that way. “I see many parents simply giving their children money, and then expecting them to have an understand of savings. If children aren’t taught the experience of earning, they will not see value in saving. Typically, money is an exchange of value, and children need to experience this to understand it as such.”

Don’t allow your emotions to be a disservice to your children - Allow them to make mistakes and face the consequences. If they spend all their money in the first week of the month, you must allow them to go through the rest of the month without it. Do not allow your emotions to get in the way of teaching them important lessons. If they grow up thinking there is always back up, for example, that could lead to an overreliance on credit in the future.

Lead by example – It is as simple as that. Most children learn from what their parents do and not what they say. Are you a saver? A visual and verbal saver? Do you talk to your children about spending, saving, and shopping wisely?

“In the last 18 months, we have seen a massive shift in the way our customers shop. Our 2021 price perception survey found that over 80% of shoppers were prioritising bargain hunting more so now than they did a year ago – largely due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” explains Katherine Madley, Vice President of Marketing at Game. “Game is focused on assisting our customers in ensuring they are shopping smart, spending responsibly and saving as much as they can.”

This post and content is sponsored, written and provided by Game Stores.

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