5 tips to help children master money management skills for new semester

Tips for parents
Teach your kids
Wants and needs

Author: Mrs Chin23/07/2023

While children are enjoying the summer break, parents are getting busier as they need to organise various activities for the children and help them get ready for a new school year. When it comes to the back-to-school preparation, children are probably excited about buying new stationery and school supplies.

Some children may not be able to clearly distinguish the difference between wants and needs, they would of course prefer everything to be nice and new. However, parents can use this opportunity to help the little ones take part in the process and learn to manage money responsibly. As they help develop the budget for the new semester and handle the shopping personally, they will understand that there are many expenses involved and that they should cherish what they have.

1. Develop a budget and checklist

Parents may come up with a checklist for school items and develop a budget with their children before creating a shopping list based on the budget and priorities of the items. This discussion process will make the children feel respected and allow them to learn good money management skills.

2. Check existing resources at home

Parents and children may take stock at home, such as new pencils and erasers. They should remove items that they don’t really need from the shopping list to teach the children about minimising waste. The young ones should also learn to keep their school supplies at a designated spot at home to keep track of them easily.

3. Distinguish “wants” and “needs”

Children should be encouraged to decide if an item on the list is a “want” or “need”. For example, if your child wants to buy a pencil case with his favourite cartoon character, parents may guide the child to think twice by asking questions like “what is so special about this pencil case?”, “is the old pencil case still working?” and “how can we afford a new pencil case with limited budget?”. This will help the child learn to spend sensibly.

4. Find ways to save more

Parents may invite children to explore different ways to save money, such as comparing the discounts and prices offered by different shops or choose second-hand school uniform and books.

5. Make the most of what you have

Parents and children may identify items to be reused, such as notebooks that still have some blank pages. Children can also upcycle existing resources creatively and turn them into fun and environmentally friendly home decorations.