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Teaching Smart Spending

Read about teaching smart spending on our Knowledge Hub.

April is Credit Union Youth Month! We’re matching the first $5 in deposits for youth accounts* and hosting free, no sales-pitch online financial education classes! Get started at

Plenty of young adults move out on their own and rack up debt because they don’t understand the principles behind smart spending. A recent report found that 1 in 5 young adults under 24 with a credit record have debt in collections.

That’s why it’s crucial to teach your kids the skills they’ll need to learn healthy financial habits and avoid debt from a young age. (We’ve provided several resources throughout this article that you can share with your kids to help them learn about money and budgeting!)

Setting a Good Example

Your kids are watching you and being shaped by your actions. That means that when you’re teaching them smart spending habits, you also need to be a smart spender yourself. Don’t be afraid to talk about your budget, especially when you’re not buying things your kids want because you’re saving for more important purchases.

Saving Before Buying

Your children should understand from a young age that if they don’t have the money to afford something, they can’t buy it. However, they’ll be able to afford it they’ve saved enough money for it first.

When your children ask for something they can’t afford yet, you have the perfect opportunity teach them how to develop a budget to make it happen. Sit down with them to discuss how much it costs, how much they want to save for it each week and how long it will take to have enough. We’ll help them get started saving by matching the first $5 in deposits this month!

Learning to Shop

Another aspect of smart spending is buying things at the right price and finding good sales. Before heading to the store, have your children scope out good sales for what you need to buy. Then when you’re at the store, ask for their help in finding the best deal among available brands.

As your kids grow older, you can start talking about credit cards and how to use them wisely. An easy pitfall young adults fall into is mistaking available credit as new purchasing power and quickly racking up unnecessary debt. Teach them that it’s important to not make purchases they can’t afford and to try to only use credit cards for emergencies, or to plan to pay the full bill when it comes.

Are you looking for extra resources to teach your kids the basics of money? Head to our Resource Center for videos, presentations, comics and fun activities for your kids to help them money basics! Also be sure to explore the topics of our Pop-Up classes this month for free, no sales pitch educational classes geared for both you and your young ones.