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Top 10 Tips for Talking to Your Elementary Student About Money

Teaching kids about money might seem daunting, but it's a crucial part of parenting that can set them up for financial success later in life. As an educator who focuses on helping parents teach their kids about personal finance, I've seen firsthand the benefits of starting these lessons early. In this post, I'm excited to share my top 10 tips for talking to your elementary student about money. By weaving these conversations into daily life, you can help your child develop a healthy relationship with money from a young age. Let's dive into how you can foster financial literacy for elementary schoolers with ease and fun!


Table of Contents


teaching the basics of personal finance to elementary kids

1. Start with the Basics

Understanding money is the foundation of financial literacy. Begin by explaining what money is, how it's earned, and the basics of spending and saving. Use coins and bills to make the concept tangible. Discussing income, expenses, and budget in simple terms can help your child grasp these essential concepts.

  • Key Point: Money is earned and can be used for spending, saving, and giving.

using the grocery store to teach money management to elementary kids

2. Use Everyday Experiences

Everyday activities are perfect opportunities for teaching moments. Whether it's a trip to the grocery store or saving up for a special toy, these experiences can help children learn about budgeting, making choices, and understanding value.

  • Key Point: Real-life experiences can teach kids about trade-offs and the value of money.

opening a savings account for financial literacy

3. Open a Savings Account Together

A visit to the bank to open a savings account can be an exciting adventure for a child. It's a practical way to show them how saving works and the concept of earning interest over time.

  • Key Point: Opening a savings account introduces the principle of saving for the future.

earning income for elementary kids

4. Implement an Earned Income System

Earning income can teach children about managing money. It's important they understand the difference between needs and wants, and how to make decisions with their money. Income can be tied to chores or other metrics around the house. 

Earning income is basically the same as allowance - but the key difference is that the kids understand that they won’t receive the income if they don’t complete the work.  We’ve found over the years that parents who use allowances generally give their kids that money, regardless of whether the agreed upon chores or items were completed.  Having your kids earn their income also emulates the real-world.  Most people don’t get allowances!

  • Key Point: Earning income teaches money management and differentiates between needs and wants.

goal seting for kids

5. Set Financial Goals

Setting financial goals helps children learn the value of saving over time. Whether it's a toy, a book, or a day out, working towards a goal teaches patience and the satisfaction of reaching a target.

  • Key Point: Financial goals teach planning, saving, and the joy of achievement.

starting a small business for elementary kids

6. Encourage Earning through Entrepreneurship

Help your kids start their own small business that caters to your community.  Maybe it’s a simple lemonade stand on the corner during the summer.  Or maybe they can clean trash cans for people in the neighborhood.  The possibilities are endless, and people love supporting young business owners!  Plus, they get to learn some real-world applications of money management.  Budgeting, buying supplies, hard work, and eventual profit, are all lessons to be learned!

  • Key Point: There are an incredible amount of money management lessons to be learned from starting a small “business”.

playing games to learn spending for kids

7. Teach Smart Spending

Smart spending is about making informed choices. Teach your child to compare prices, seek out deals, and understand the concept of quality over quantity. This is a key part of financial literacy that helps avoid impulse buying.

  • Key Point: Smart spending involves making informed choices and understanding value.

giving money to charity for elementary kids

8. Introduce Charitable Giving

Discussing charity and the importance of helping others can instill a sense of generosity and empathy. Encourage your child to set aside a part of their money for donations, teaching them about giving back to the community.

  • Key Point: Charitable giving teaches children about compassion and community responsibility.

reading finance books with elementary kids

9. Use Books and Games

There are many books and games designed to teach financial literacy in an engaging way. These resources can make learning about money fun and memorable for your child.

  • Key Point: Educational books and games can make learning about money fun and engaging.

showing young children financial literacy

10. Be a Role Model

Children learn a lot by observing their parents. Share your financial decisions with them, including how you save, spend, and give. Your actions can teach them about financial responsibility and decision-making.

  • Key Point: Leading by example is one of the best ways to teach children about money.


Starting conversations about money early in your child's life can pave the way for a lifetime of financial literacy and responsibility. By incorporating these tips into your daily life, you can make learning about money a natural and engaging part of your child's development. Remember, teaching financial literacy for elementary schoolers doesn't have to be complicated. It's about taking those small, everyday moments to discuss, explore, and understand money together. Patience, consistency, and being a good role model are key to making these lessons stick.


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