How to Include Your Kids in Your Budgeting Sessions


Photo courtesy of Rolands Lakis

Today I’ve asked my friend Laurie to share some of her thoughts on how she and her husband involve their kids in budgeting decisions.

Laurie is someone I’ve gotten to know over the past year and I have a TON of respect for her. She and her husband got themselves into a pretty bad financial situation and instead of running scared, they’re facing it head on. What I really love is how thoughtful and purposeful they’ve become with just about everything they do now. She really makes me think hard about how I’m doing things myself.

Laurie has just self-published a new ebook, How to Teach Your Kids About Money, and I asked her to share some of her thoughts today because I’ve read the book and it’s full of good, practical advice. There’s one idea in particular, which she shares in the post below, that blew my mind a little bit with its awesomeness. You’ll have to read on to find it!

Take it away, Laurie! 

Hello, Mom and Dad Money readers!

Matt’s been kind enough to let me talk today about my newest passion: educating your kids about money.  We’ve been working on educating people about how and when to introduce money concepts to your kids, and what are some of the more important money concepts you need to teach your kids.

Those of us who grew up without any teaching or guidance in the area of personal finance often wish we’d learned more about how to manage, save and invest money. I know that in our personal case, the lack of knowing how to manage money played a big part in causing us to get into lots of debt – debt we are currently working our way out of.

Because we were never taught about money as children, we’ve made it our mission to make sure our children leave the nest having a thorough understanding of basic money management strategies. Gone are the days when money is a taboo topic in the home. Financial literacy for children has now become a must-teach for many parents, and my new e-book will give you powerful and different tips on how to teach financial literacy to your kids.

One of the things we do in our quest to teach our children financial literacy is to include our kids in our budgeting sessions. If you want your children more involved in your family’s budgeting sessions, here are some things that you need to know.


Some might think that it’s inappropriate or unnecessary to involve their children in family budgeting sessions. However, the fact of the matter is that when your children are grown, they’ll do much better financially if they have a clear understanding of how to manage a budget.

Many kids are sent out on their own having never heard of or seen a budget, having never balanced a checkbook, and having never learned basic concepts about money management. Why are we then surprised when they return home from college with massive amounts of debt and no idea about how to move forward?

In order to set our children up for the best chance of financial success in their adult lives, we need to do what we can to show our children real-life examples of how to manage money. As a homeschooling family, one of the “classes” that’s on our oldest daughter’s transcript (she’ll enter high school next year) is a class in which she will, with our help, run the Frugal Farmer’s family finances for a period of one year. Maddie will be given the checkbook, and will enter in our income amounts, and decide what is paid, when it’s paid, and how much will be spent in each budget area.

We’re doing this with her so that when she’s out on her own, she’s not overwhelmed with the thought of running a budget for her own household, and so that she has the know-how to run that budget responsibly. And part of why she will be able to handle this class is because she is included each month in our family’s budget discussions.


It’s important when including your kids in your budgeting sessions that you keep it age-appropriate. Your 4-year-old can handle knowing that you’re spending $600 on groceries each month, but you might not want to share with him every minute detail about the ROI on your retirement accounts quite yet.  It’s important to teach your children how the budget works, without overwhelming them with details they’re too young to understand.

The goal is to make sure that budgeting sessions don’t become scary, overwhelming or simply boring to your kids simply because you’re giving them more information than they can handle.


Another thing it’s important to remember as you involve your kids in your budgeting sessions is that you and/or your partner are still in charge. As an example, let’s say your entertainment budget is $150 a month. It’s good to give your kids some input about how that money will be spent each month, and to ask for their opinions, however, the final decisions about how the entertainment money is spent belongs with the parent(s), and it’s important that kids learn to respect the place of authority their parents hold in that area. You want to teach your kids that while their opinions do matter, the money belongs to their parents, and as such, their parents will have the final say in how it’s spent.

Involving your kids in your budgeting sessions doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, it can be quite fun! In our own house, we’ve watched our children learn and grow in their financial knowledge as we’ve allowed them to share their opinions as to how we should manage certain areas of our budget, and often times, they’ll make smarter suggestions than we would’ve come up with on our own.

Consider including your kids in your family budgeting sessions. Not only will they learn some great financial literacy skills, you might learn something from them as well. 🙂

Have you or would you include your kids in your budgeting sessions? 

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4 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • Shannon Ryan May 5, 2014

    Teaching kids about budgets is one of the most valuable lessons you can give them. So many people today have no idea how to use one and avoid them like the plague. Budget have a bad rep that they frankly don’t deserve in my opinion. The girls have been in charge of their back-to-school and birthday budgets and it really changed how they handle money and view budgets. We always talk about what makes our heart’s the happiest and working on a budget really helped give them that perspective. They both want so much, more than they can afford, but when they are forced to slow down and really think about what makes them happiest, they realize they have lots of things on their “want” list that they don’t really want. Love that Maddie will be running the household budget with you and Rick’s supervision. It was be a great experience for all of you and will definitely help Maddie feel confident managing a budget on her own.

    • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer May 5, 2014

      “Budgets have a bad rep that they frankly don’t deserve…” I couldn’t agree more, Shannon. We used to associate budgets with punishment and restriction, but now that we’ve had and used one faithfully for nearly a year and a half, we see how very much freedom a budget does indeed grant!

  • LongTermMindset May 6, 2014

    I find that by giving them their own ‘budget’ to manage they can help to learn. Whenever the kids get money from holidays/birthdays, we always put that amount of money into their college fund. Then, we give them a small portion of the money in cash, and we ask them what they want to do with it. For my son, its always the same. A new buzz lightyear. He’s got 4, but its all he wants. Hence, we are teaching him to save to get what he wants. He doesn’t really understand the true numbers yet, but thats OK. Were trying to get him to the point where he understands you exchange money for things, and money is hard to come by. Thats a good start!

    • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer May 6, 2014

      LOL, Buzz Lightyear – funny! Seriously, though, we do the same here, and it’s worked out great for the kids. They put 10% into savings, 10% into a giving account, and spend (or not spend) the other 80% as they choose. When they were younger, they always wanted to head straight to the store to spend their money, but it’s fun watching them as they’re older now save the money until they’re really sure that they’re spending it on something that’s important to them. Thanks for the comment. 🙂

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