April is Youth Financial Education Month and a great time to discuss some of the money lessons learned and experienced during the past year of the Coronavirus with children.
Many families have faced financial challenges this past year they didn’t see coming and weren’t prepared for. Job loss. Hours cut at work resulting in smaller paychecks. Working from home. Add on top of that, home schooling kids and limited childcare options. Many families found they had to take a new approach to how they lived and their personal finances.
This past year has also provided opportunities to learn and share some important lessons about money with our kids that will serve them well throughout their lives.
Here are 10 money lessons the year of the Coronavirus has taught us.
It’s Good to Talk About Money – Family time together this past year provided the chance to talk about many things, including money. Involving children in honest and open age-appropriate conversations about family finances has showed them the importance of setting priorities and not to be afraid to ask questions.
Live Below Your Means – Economic challenges of the past year has shown the importance of spending less than we earn. When we do this, we create more room in our budget, can save more, build a buffer against sudden job loss, and eliminate a source of stress.
Know the Difference Between Needs and Wants – During tough times, prioritizing financial needs (housing, food, heat) over wants (ordering take-out, new television) may be obvious. Next time you look at making a purchase, why not ask yourself “Do I really need this?” and involve the family in the conversation. This can help teach discretionary spending should be based on what we can afford after our needs and savings are met.
Delay Gratification – The pandemic has forced families to postpone many plans often bringing disappointment. But it has provided a chance to teach children that while something may not happen today, it can still happen in the future. Getting the whole family involved in planning and saving for a special event will teach the value of having something to look forward to.
Expect the Unexpected – The pandemic has shown us emergencies can happen at any time. Having emergency savings with several months of living expenses can help a family get through an unforeseen event. Saving this kind of money for an unknown future event takes discipline and planning but is a good habit to develop and teach to kids.
You Don’t Have to Spend Money to Have Fun – Staying home during the pandemic gave families an opportunity to get creative with their entertainment and enjoy time together. Baking, pizza nights, home-made art projects, and movie nights with Netflix made for great memories and saved money, too. The whole family learned you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a good time.
Be Resourceful – With so much time around the house this past year, many people got creative and took on some DIY projects. Whether it was creating a home office space, building a study area for a home student, remodeling a bathroom, or repainting the kid’s bedroom, many families enjoyed working together on home projects while saving some money, too.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help – Many people struggled to pay the bills at some point during the past year and asked for financial help. Whether help came from family, friends, the government, a food pantry, or your credit union, showing your children you can ask for assistance during a time of need can be a lesson that goes beyond money. Getting the help you need when you need it then developing a plan to get back on your feet, teaches kids tough times can help build resilience.
Help Others Who May Need It – While the pandemic has been challenging for most people in some way, there are many who really struggled over the past year. Many families stepped up to help neighbors and family members in need with financial donations, grocery shopping, preparing meals and other acts of kindness providing invaluable lessons for children how they can make a difference to others.
Be Grateful for What You Have – The pandemic has taught us to be grateful for the simple things in our lives. We have learned to be thankful for family and friends and to be grateful for our health and safety. We have realized the importance of staying in touch and being there for others, even if we can’t be with them and how technology can keep us connected. We have learned some things simply have more value than money.
As a result of the financial challenges you and your family may have faced during the year of the pandemic, chances are you will be more prepared and able to take on most any future challenge with confidence.