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Most children’s attitudes and actions are a reflection of what they have seen at home. You may not realise it, but they are watching how you manage your money and learning from you.

According to a study by Cambridge University, the majority of children’s financial habits are learnt by the age of seven. This can be a bad thing if you don’t have good money habits. If you are able to learn how to break these bad habits, not only will it help your kids down the track, but you may see an improvement in your own finances.

1. Ignoring bills

  • No one likes receiving bills, but if you continuously ignore or complain about them, your kids may start to associate negative feelings with paying bills, which is not a good thing at a young age.

  • With credit scores becoming even more important, your kids need to know that repaying bills should be made a priority and it is important to pay them on time.

  • To help your children learn about remembering to pay bills on time, have them write the due dates on the calendar or let them put reminders in your phone and even pay the bills together.

2. Spend, spend, spend

  • If you know that you are an over spender and have trouble saving money, chances are your kids will too.

  • The earlier you can start introducing good saving habits, the better. An activity you can try with your kids is giving them a piggy bank and if they are able to save a certain amount by a certain date, they can receive a reward.

  • It’s also important to focus on sticking to a budget while out shopping. Before going shopping, you can decide on a limit you can spend at the grocery store. This activity can also help educate your kids on learning the difference between wants and needs. The less you splash your cash in front of your children, the better.

3. Borrowing money is bad

  • There are different types of debt which can either help or hinder your financial situation and your kids need to know the difference. Bad debt is when you borrow money to purchase everyday items that don’t have any ongoing value or depreciate over time. Examples could include buying up big at the end of year sales and putting it all on credit or paying for a holiday on credit. After the initial satisfaction the value is then gone and you are left paying expensive credit card interest well into the future.

  • On the other hand, borrowing money for purchases such as property is considered good debt as the property will most likely increase in value over time. So, if you are borrowing money to purchase everyday items, your kids may start to think this is the norm.

  • Setting up a savings plan for large purchases like holidays or open a Christmas club account to save for end of year expenses, can help teach children a lot about saving first and then purchasing rather than using credit.