How to talk to kids about spending thoughtfully

Kids are bombarded with spending messages—from ads they see online to the new sneakers their friends wear to school. It’s important that they learn how to make careful choices.

Why it matters

Let’s use video games as an example. Players often buy or earn in-game currency, then spend it. Use this to draw parallels between the game’s economics and real life.

Start with something relatable

Continue the game example to show how goals shape spending. Does your child want to beat the boss? Build a house? Explore? Discuss what to buy to reach the goal.

Define priorities

As your child plays the game, they can buy

tools, gear or materials. Some are useful,

some just cool. Use this to talk about the

importance of having a spending strategy.

Connect priorities to spending

If your child buys clothes for their character, for example, they may not have enough for tools or gear. Explain that these types of choices apply to all spending decisions.

Illustrate trade-offs

Is your child pleased or disappointed with

how the game turned out? Ask how they’ll

play differently next time. And, as you would

in real life, encourage them to try again.

Talk about the outcome

Try again?

Deciding whether to buy one item over another

Researching family purchases, like a TV

Making shopping lists

Build skills by routinely involving your child in spending choices, such as:

Keep in mind it’s a journey

This material is for informational use only and is not intended for financial or investment advice. Bank of America Corporation and/or its affiliates assume no liability for one’s reliance on the material provided. This material is not updated regularly and may not be current. Consult a financial professional when making financial decisions. ©2024 Bank of America Corporation.

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