Talking $$ with kids:
1. Don't avoid talking about money just because kids are young. Simple money lessons should start early and become complex as a child matures.
2. Use everyday situations: driving in the car, grocery shopping, watching TV.
3. When clearing out closets or the garage, talk about whether the clutter is stuff you wanted but didn't really need.
4. Whether on TV or a billboard, discuss the marketing messages in ads: Why/what are they trying to sell? During shows, ask if the characters' lifestyles and spending match their jobs.
5. When shopping, talk about checking labels for quality ingredients or price per ounce. Check clothing labels; if an item must be dry-cleaned, is it still worth it?
Tips on age-appropriate ways to discuss savings with your kids:
Young child: Call it "extra money" that is there when you need it. Show how pocket change means you can buy a juice drink if you're thirsty.
Slightly older: Talk about "just-in-case" funds: "Good thing I had some money in my pocket because I couldn't find my movie ticket and had to buy another."
Preteen: Around 10, kids can understand that you save for unexpected events. If you get a flat tire that can't be fixed, savings let you buy a new one.
Teens: Savings can help avoid borrowing in an emergency. If the refrigerator dies and you immediately need a new one, you won't be paying years of loan interest on the new fridge.
College: Savings offer security in a world where anything can happen, including losing your job.