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Top 8 Tools and Resources for Teaching Budgeting to Kids

Updated: Dec 26, 2023

Teaching kids about budgeting and personal finance is crucial for their future financial well-being. As an educator, I've gathered some of the best types of tools and resources to make this task both fun and effective - and then made a quick recommendation for each. Whether you're a parent or educator, these tools will help instill essential money management skills in young minds.


If you're just starting out and looking for a way to introduce budgeting concepts to your kids, you can get some tips in our article "5 Creative Ways to Introduce Budgeting Concepts to Kids"!

 

Table of Contents

 

kids learning about budgeting with a sheet


1. Budgeting Apps for Kids


Friendly Apps That Make Finance Fun

Budgeting apps for kids offer an engaging way to teach the basics of money management. They often come with features like allowance tracking, savings goals, and educational content, packaged in a child-friendly interface. These apps are a modern approach to introducing kids to the concept of budgeting and financial responsibility.


Interactive Learning Experience:

  • Hands-On Approach: These apps provide a hands-on approach to learning. Kids can actively manage virtual money, which helps them understand budgeting concepts more concretely.

  • Instant Feedback: Many of these apps offer instant feedback on financial decisions, helping kids understand the consequences of their actions in a safe environment.


Features Tailored to Young Users:

  • Allowance Tracking: Features like allowance tracking encourage kids to manage their earnings, teaching them to budget and save for the things they want.

  • Savings Goals: By setting and working towards savings goals, kids learn the value of delayed gratification and the importance of saving for future needs or wants.

  • Educational Content: Many apps include educational content that is designed to be fun and engaging, often using games or challenges to teach financial concepts.


A Recommendation: GoHenry

  • GoHenry is an app designed to make learning about money fun for kids. It offers a prepaid debit card and an app with parental controls. Kids can complete tasks to earn their allowance, set savings goals, and learn about spending wisely.

  • Website: GoHenry




family budgeting together

2. Interactive Online Games and Simulations


Learning Through Play

Interactive online games and simulations are a compelling method to teach budgeting and financial literacy to kids. In a world where digital engagement is a significant part of children's lives, these tools stand out for their ability to blend education with entertainment. Here's why they are crucial in the journey of teaching kids about budgeting:


Engaging and Relatable Learning:

  • Fun Factor: Games transform learning about money from a potentially dry subject into an enjoyable activity. This fun factor increases a child’s willingness to learn and engage with financial concepts.

  • Immersive Experience: These games often simulate real-life financial situations, allowing kids to immerse themselves in scenarios where they must make financial decisions, teaching them about budgeting in a context they can understand and relate to.


Development of Critical Financial Skills:

  • Decision Making: Interactive games require children to make decisions, such as investing, saving, or spending, helping them understand the consequences of these choices in a virtual, risk-free environment.

  • Problem Solving: Many games are designed to challenge kids with financial problems to solve, enhancing their analytical and problem-solving skills.


Use of Technology for Education:

  • Digital Literacy: As kids navigate these online games, they also improve their computer and internet skills, which are essential in today's digital world.

  • Accessibility and Convenience: Online games can be accessed from various devices, making them a convenient tool for learning. They can be played at home, in classrooms, or on the go.


Real-World Application:

  • Practical Financial Insights: By managing finances in a game setting, children gain insights into budgeting, saving, and spending that can be applied in their real lives.

  • Foundation for Future Learning: These games lay a foundation for more advanced financial education as children grow older, making complex topics more approachable.


Parental and Educator Involvement:

  • Engagement Opportunity: These games provide a platform for parents and educators to discuss financial concepts with children, based on the scenarios encountered in the games.

  • Monitoring Progress: Many online games offer progress tracking, allowing adults to monitor how the child is doing, which concepts they’ve grasped, and where they might need more guidance.

  • If you want some more tips on this subject, take a look at our article "The Role of Parents in Cultivating Budgeting Skills in Children"!


A Recommendation: Peter Pig's Money Counter

  • Peter Pig's Money Counter is an interactive game designed to teach young children about counting and saving money. Created by Visa, it's part of their Practical Money Skills program.

  • In the game, children help Peter Pig count and save coins in various fun-filled activities, which makes learning about money engaging and enjoyable.

  • The game focuses on basic math skills, money recognition, and saving tips, making it ideal for younger kids who are just starting to learn about money.

  • The colorful graphics, friendly characters, and interactive gameplay ensure that children remain engaged and entertained while learning fundamental financial concepts.

  • Find it on the App Store here!




My First Finance Book curriculum for teaching kids to budget

3. Children’s Books on Money Management


Stories That Teach

Children's books on money management are a fundamental resource in teaching kids about finance. They introduce complex concepts in a manner that is both engaging and age-appropriate. Here's why incorporating these books into a child's financial education is so important:


Simplified Concepts in a Relatable Format:

  • Age-Appropriate Learning: These books break down financial concepts to a level that is understandable and relatable for children.

  • Storytelling: The use of stories and characters helps children connect with the material, making abstract concepts like budgeting more tangible and memorable.


Foundation for Financial Literacy:

  • Early Exposure: Introducing kids to money management through books at a young age lays the groundwork for more advanced financial understanding later in life.

  • Developing Healthy Money Habits: Stories about earning, saving, and spending teach children the basics of budgeting in a non-intimidating way.


Educational and Entertaining:

  • Engagement: Books with colorful illustrations and engaging narratives capture children’s attention, making learning about money enjoyable.

  • Diverse Perspectives: Different books offer various perspectives on money management, providing a well-rounded approach to financial education.


Family Interaction and Discussion:

  • Bonding Opportunity: Reading these books together can be a bonding activity, allowing for family discussions about money and personal values.

  • Parental Guidance: It offers an opportunity for parents to gauge their child’s understanding and answer questions in a comfortable setting.


Given the significance of children's books in teaching financial concepts, it's essential to choose titles that are both informative and appealing to young readers. Here's an updated recommendation:


A Recommendation: "If You Made a Million" by David M. Schwartz

  • "If You Made a Million" is a delightful and educational book that explores various aspects of money, from earning and saving to spending and even investing. Illustrated by Steven Kellogg, the book uses fun scenarios and vivid illustrations to make the concepts of money and finance accessible and interesting to children.

  • This book is especially effective in explaining how money accumulates over time, the concept of interest, and the value of saving – all crucial aspects of budgeting.

  • Purchase Link: Amazon - If You Made a Million


a child reading a book and learning to budget

4. Printable Budgeting Worksheets


Hands-On Learning Tools

Printable budgeting worksheets are an invaluable resource for teaching children about financial management. They provide a practical and interactive way to introduce and reinforce budgeting concepts. Here’s why they are so beneficial in the journey of financial education for kids:


Active Learning and Application:

  • Practical Engagement: Worksheets require active participation, encouraging kids to apply what they have learned about budgeting directly.

  • Reinforcement of Concepts: By filling out these worksheets, children reinforce their understanding of financial principles, solidifying their learning.


Customization and Flexibility:

  • Tailored to Different Ages and Abilities: Worksheets can be chosen or adapted to suit the child’s age and skill level, making them a versatile educational tool.

  • Diverse Financial Topics: They can cover a wide range of topics, from basic money recognition for younger children to more complex budget planning for older kids.


Visual and Tangible Learning:

  • Concrete Representation of Abstract Concepts: Worksheets provide a visual and tangible representation of budgeting concepts, helping to demystify abstract financial ideas.

  • Tracking Progress: They allow children (and parents or educators) to visually track progress and understanding over time.


Accessibility and Ease of Use:

  • Ease of Access: Printable worksheets are easily accessible online and can be used anywhere, fitting into various teaching settings - at home, in school, or even in community groups.

  • Cost-Effective: Most worksheets are available for free or at a low cost, making them an economical choice for budgeting education.


In light of these advantages, here's an updated recommendation for a source of printable budgeting worksheets:


A Recommendation: Kid's Budget Worksheets

  • Our friends over at Money Prodigy have assembled a list of engaging and educational worksheets designed specifically for children. These worksheets help kids learn about earning, saving, spending, and budgeting in a fun and interactive way.

  • The worksheets are designed with appealing graphics and child-friendly language to make the learning process enjoyable and effective.

  • They provide a practical tool for kids to practice budgeting skills, from planning a budget for a small project to understanding how to allocate their allowance.

  • Website: Kid's Budget Worksheets - Money Prodigy



Do you think opening investment accounts for your kids (529, etc) is a good idea?

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5. Educational Videos and Cartoons


Engaging Visual Content

Educational videos and cartoons are a dynamic and effective way to teach children about budgeting and money management. In today's visually oriented world, these mediums are particularly effective in capturing the attention of young learners and explaining financial concepts in an engaging and understandable manner. Here’s why they're so valuable:


Visual Learning and Retention:

  • Engagement for Visual Learners: Many children respond well to visual stimuli, making videos and cartoons an engaging method to teach budgeting and financial concepts.

  • Memorable Storytelling: Using stories and characters to illustrate financial lessons makes complex ideas more relatable and easier to remember for young minds.


Accessibility and Flexibility:

  • Easy to Access: With the widespread availability of the internet, educational videos are just a click away, making them a highly accessible learning tool.

  • Repeat Viewing: Videos can be replayed, allowing children to learn at their own pace and revisit concepts as needed for better understanding.


Broad Range of Topics:

  • Diverse Financial Concepts: These videos often cover a wide spectrum of topics, from basic money recognition and saving tips to more advanced ideas like budgeting and investing.

  • Inclusivity in Content: Educational videos can feature diverse characters and scenarios, promoting inclusivity and ensuring a wider appeal.


Complements Traditional Teaching:

  • Supports Classroom Learning: Videos and cartoons can supplement school curriculum, offering a refreshing break from traditional teaching methods.

  • Promotes Interactive Discussion: These resources can spark conversations between children, parents, and educators, encouraging deeper engagement and understanding.


Given the effectiveness of this medium, here's our recommendation for an educational video series that focuses on budgeting and financial literacy:


A Recommendation: Biz Kid$

  • Biz Kid$ is an Emmy Award-winning educational TV series that teaches kids about money management, entrepreneurship, and budgeting in a fun and engaging way.

  • The show combines real-life stories of young entrepreneurs with practical advice, making it a highly relatable and effective learning tool.

  • It's suitable for a wide age range, offering lessons for both younger children and teenagers.

  • Website: Biz Kid$



a savings goal sheet for teaching budgeting


6. Family Budgeting Projects


Learning Together

Involving kids in family budgeting projects is an invaluable way to teach them about managing money in a practical, real-world context. These activities not only educate children about financial responsibility but also foster a sense of teamwork and understanding of family finances. Here's why they are essential:


Real-Life Financial Involvement:

  • Hands-On Experience: Working on a family budget provides children with hands-on experience in managing money, making the learning experience more tangible and meaningful.

  • Understanding Household Economics: Participating in family budgeting helps children understand how money works within their household, including income, expenses, savings, and the necessity of making financial choices.


Developing Practical Skills:

  • Decision Making: Family budgeting projects involve making decisions together, which can teach children about compromise, prioritizing needs and wants, and the outcomes of financial decisions.

  • Financial Planning: These projects provide an opportunity for kids to learn about setting financial goals, planning for future expenses, and the importance of saving.


Family Collaboration and Communication:

  • Strengthening Family Bonds: Working together on budgeting strengthens family bonds and fosters open communication about money, which is often considered a taboo topic.

  • Shared Responsibility: It encourages a sense of shared responsibility and teamwork, as each family member, including the kids, contributes to the family’s financial health.


Lifelong Financial Habits:

  • Instilling Financial Responsibility: Engaging in family budgeting from a young age can instill a sense of financial responsibility and the importance of budgeting in children.

  • Foundation for Future Independence: These experiences lay the groundwork for financial independence and smart money management in adulthood.


Considering these benefits, it's essential to have tools that facilitate family budgeting projects effectively. Here's a recommendation for a tool that can help in this regard:


A Recommendation: YNAB (You Need A Budget)

  • YNAB (You Need A Budget) is a budgeting tool that's excellent for family use. It helps in creating a comprehensive family budget, tracking expenses, and planning for future financial goals.

  • The tool is user-friendly and can be a great way to involve kids in the budgeting process, showing them how to allocate funds and plan for various expenses.

  • It encourages a proactive approach to money management, emphasizing the importance of giving every dollar a job.

  • Website: YNAB - You Need A Budget


kids playing a board game that teaches budgeting

7. Board Games Focused on Money Management


Play and Learn

Board games that focus on money management are a fun and effective way to teach children about budgeting and financial planning. These games combine entertainment with educational value, providing a hands-on experience in managing money. Here’s why board games are an important tool in financial education for kids:


Interactive and Engaging Learning:

  • Hands-On Experience: Board games provide a tangible way for kids to engage with financial concepts, making abstract ideas like budgeting more concrete and understandable.

  • Strategic Thinking: They encourage strategic thinking and planning, as players must make decisions about spending, saving, and investing within the game.


Teaching Financial Concepts Through Play:

  • Simulating Real-Life Financial Scenarios: Many of these games simulate real-life financial situations, teaching children about the outcomes of different financial decisions in a safe and controlled environment.

  • Understanding Value and Trade-Offs: Playing these games helps children understand the value of money, the concept of trade-offs, and the importance of planning and saving.


Social Skills and Family Bonding:

  • Family Interaction: Board games provide a great opportunity for family bonding and interaction, fostering a shared learning experience.

  • Developing Social Skills: They also help in developing social skills like negotiation, cooperation, and sportsmanship.


Long-Term Financial Skills:

  • Instilling Financial Literacy: Regularly playing these games can help instill a basic understanding of financial literacy from a young age.

  • Foundation for Future Learning: The skills and concepts learned through these games provide a strong foundation for more complex financial learning in the future.


Given these benefits, here's a continued recommendation for a classic board game that teaches budgeting and financial planning:


A Recommendation: The Game of Life

  • The Game of Life is a classic board game that simulates a person's journey through life, including education, career, and financial decisions.

  • Players make decisions about their virtual life, including managing their finances, which can teach valuable lessons about budgeting, saving, and financial planning.

  • The game is engaging and suitable for a wide range of ages, making it a great tool for teaching children about the realities of financial decision-making in a fun and interactive way.

  • Purchase Link: Amazon - The Game of Life


kids watching a show that is teaching them to budget

8. Youth Savings Accounts


Real-World Experience

Youth savings accounts play a crucial role in teaching children about budgeting and financial responsibility. These accounts are specifically designed for young savers, offering a real-world platform for learning about money management. Here’s why youth savings accounts are a vital educational tool:


Practical Experience with Money:

  • Real Money Management: Having a savings account gives children the experience of managing real money, as opposed to theoretical concepts or simulations.

  • Understanding Savings and Interest: These accounts introduce the concept of interest, helping kids understand how their money can grow over time.


Building Financial Responsibility:

  • Sense of Ownership: A savings account provides children with a sense of ownership over their finances, encouraging them to take responsibility for their saving habits.

  • Long-Term Financial Habits: Regularly saving money in their account can instill important financial habits like discipline and long-term planning.


Educational and Family Involvement:

  • Learning Platform: Youth savings accounts often come with educational resources that teach various aspects of banking and saving.

  • Parental Involvement: These accounts usually allow for parental oversight, enabling parents to guide their children’s financial decisions and discuss the importance of budgeting and saving.


Preparing for the Future:

  • Financial Independence: Managing a savings account can prepare children for greater financial independence in the future.

  • Laying the Foundation: The skills and habits developed through using these accounts lay the foundation for more complex financial management in adulthood.



Given the significance of youth savings accounts in financial education, here's our continued recommendation for a suitable account:


A Recommendation: Capital One's KIDS Savings Account

  • Capital One's KIDS Savings Account is specifically designed for young savers. It's a fee-free online savings account that offers an excellent opportunity for kids to learn about saving money.

  • At the time of writing* Features include no minimum balance requirement, an attractive interest rate, and tools for parents to monitor and control the account.

  • This account can be an excellent way for children to learn about the principles of saving, the concept of interest, and to start developing good financial habits early.

  • Website: Capital One KIDS Savings Account



Conclusion


Teaching kids about budgeting and financial responsibility is a critical life skill. By utilizing these tools and resources, you can make learning about money an enjoyable and valuable experience. Budgeting for kids is not just about numbers; it’s about setting them up for financial success in the future.


Do you have any favorite tools or resources for teaching kids about budgeting? Share your experiences in the comments! For more insights and educational content, don’t forget to subscribe. Let's empower the next generation with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed financially!


 

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