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Money Management Lessons from Children’s Summer Activities

In “How to teach kids about money when school’s out,” LearnVest recommends ways you can offer money management lessons that are tied to your kids’ summer activities. As a parent, you may be too concerned with arranging these activities and figuring out the costs to take advantage of these teachable moments but don’t let them pass by.

You can involve your kids in the financial planning for the activities they do over the summer and the older they are, the more they can be involved in the decisions and perhaps even find ways to pay for the things they want to do.

Camp: Your children can get involved in choosing which camps they attend and thinking about what kind of camp would be a worthwhile investment of their time. If camps are already selected, they can think about next year. Older children can be part of discussions about cost—for example, which is more economical, a sleep-away camp or a day camp once you add in transportation costs?

Day Trips/Vacations: Many parents pack food to take on trips to local venues like the park or free summer concerts but you can also discuss the savings in bringing your own food. While you are setting an example by bringing food, actually discussing it will allow further reflection.

Middle school and high school students can help plan the family summer travel schedule. You can compare destinations and examine costs for accommodations or gas prices. Or you can get your kids involved in discussing whether it would be better to take one long trip or several short trips.

No matter where you go, you can always have your children budget some of their allowance or earnings to cover certain costs such as carnival games or souvenirs instead of paying for everything or denying them extra treats.

LearnVest also suggests something that many adults don’t do: have teenagers keep a spending diary for an entire summer. You may want to lead by example and keep a spending diary of our own to see just where your money goes throughout the summer too.

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