Talking with Kids about Money


Budgeting Credit Debt disabilities Higher Education Homeownership Savings Tax Credits



  • Involve kids in the process of planning meals and grocery shopping. Show them how to compare prices or explain why certain products are chosen over others based on budget constraints.
  • Utilize games, such as setting up a mock store where they can "purchase" items within a budget or creating a savings challenge with rewards for reaching specific goals. Incorporating visuals, like charts or graphs, can also help children visualize their progress and understand the concept of saving and spending.
  • Read ‘Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday’ to find out what Alexander learns about self-control after he overspends.


  • Start with basics: Explain what credit is in simple terms. You could describe it as borrowing money with the promise to pay it back later, and highlight the importance of repaying on time.
  • Use everyday examples: Illustrate how credit works using relatable examples, like borrowing a book from the library and needing to return it by a certain date, or how a monthly phone bill works.
  • Explain the value of good credit: Discuss how having good credit can help them in the future, such as when buying a car, renting an apartment, or even getting a job.


  • Use Simple Terms: Start with a basic explanation of what debt is—owing money to someone else that must be paid back, often with extra (interest).
  • Illustrate with Examples: Use relatable examples to explain how debt works. For instance, compare it to borrowing a toy from a friend and needing to return it, perhaps with a small thank you note or treat for letting you borrow it (interest).
  • Discuss Good vs. Bad Debt: Explain that not all debt is bad. For instance, a mortgage can be considered good debt because it's for a home, potentially increasing in value. Conversely, high-interest credit card debt from unnecessary purchases is often seen as bad debt.


  • As you prepare kids to advocate for themselves and find support as they transition to higher education, it may help to discuss the following.
    • Work with your support team to make plans for schooling.
    • Find the Disability Resource Center at the school you want to go to.
    • You don’t have to report your disability if you don’t want to.
  • Consider discussing the possible meanings of the phrase, “Nothing about me, without me”.
    • This phrase supports the person, at the ‘center of the service’, to be involved in making decisions about their life and stay involved with their plan.
    • Consider each person’s life experience, age, gender, culture, heritage, language, beliefs and identity. Ask about flexible services and support to suit the person’s wishes and priorities.
    • This is a strengths-based approach where people are acknowledged as the experts in their life with a focus on what they can do first, and any help they need second.
    • Encourages considering the person’s support networks as partners.

Higher Education

  • Use this activity to help K-2nd graders and 3-6th graders learn different ways to pay for college.
  • Try ‘My Future, My Way: First Steps Toward College—Workbook’ for middle and junior high school students with information on how to prepare for and pay for education beyond high school.
  • Talk with your high school student about the videos found in this ‘Paying for College Toolkit’ playlist from the Utah College Awareness and Financial Aid YouTube channel.


  • Buying a home is a major financial decision that can result in some lifestyle changes. Creating a financial plan that includes a budget, earnings and savings goals, the establishment and protection of strong personal credit, and prioritizing buying what you need vs what you want are great steps to help youth develop financial discipline and prepare for managing their expenses to buy a home someday.


Tax Credits

  • Elementary School: Next time you're at a town or state park, you can mention that the taxes people pay help maintain it, making it enjoyable for everyone. Similarly, walking on sidewalks or going to public school are examples of how taxes are used, things that kids can easily understand.
  • Middle School: You may choose to deduct a portion of your child’s allowance as "taxes." Allocate a percentage of each dollar they receive to a family Tax Jar. Collectively decide on a family need to allocate the money towards, fostering a sense of achievement and instilling the importance of saving.
  • High School: Introduce real-life tax documents such as pay stubs. Guide your child through understanding tax brackets, FICA, deductions, and their functions. This equips them for their initial job experiences and enables them to comprehend and complete tax forms effectively.