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Teaching Your Kids How Money Works (Grades 6-8)

Financial Education graphic

Real Life Lessons to Teach and Inspire Better Money Habits for Kids

The practical, daily application of money habits is one of the best ways to teach your kids about the value of money and how to earn it. There are many ways to teach your kids about money, so we help break down some easy and actionable activities that you can use with your kids to prepare them to cultivate smart money management skills.

Show How Money is Earned and Valued

Start with how you make money. You can explain how your job requires you to do activities, or use your skills and knowledge, to benefit the company. Break down how your money is earned with daily, weekly and monthly income totals, and be sure to include what you have to pay each paycheck before you get your final pay.

Try to simplify how what you earn (gross) is further allocated into things like taxes, retirement, health premiums, and other paycheck allocations that are subtracted before you get your net pay. This will help position the concept of needs versus wants when you provide money earning opportunities for your kids, as well as lay the foundation for when they start their first job and what to expect to get from their hourly or salary pay.

Explaining the value of what you provide the company (skills, sales, service, etc.) and how that translates to the money the company pays, you start to build a real-life relationship between you and the money you earn. You can start by explaining how society used to use the “barter system” to trade goods and services, but then the invention of money became the new economic tool to reward employee skills and labor.

Your children can start to see how you work for your money and how this benefits the entire family (health premiums, savings for retirement and college, groceries, utilities, etc.)

Activities to Teach Kids How to Manage Money

Finding a Job

Help your kids find a job. It can start with simple chores around the house that are assigned a monetary value, then progress to jobs outside the house, such as babysitting or raking leaves for the neighbors.

Focus on how your kids are using their skills and knowledge with each job, and how, overtime, their pay scale will increase with experience and education.

Spending Money

Start with how your net pay is used from each paycheck. Explain how you have certain bills to pay (utilities, mortgage, insurance, groceries, etc.) and have them participate in your payment process. Have them help plan your grocery shopping list, then take them with you to the store price compare and use coupons. Show them how you can control your spending with smart choices.

Another concept you can teach at this point is “needs versus wants” and how to avoid impulse buys. Needs are necessities, like food and shelter, so paying for groceries and rent is absolutely necessary. This means paying for groceries, rent, and transit costs. On the other hand, wants are luxuries that are not necessary but make living more enjoyable.

Remind kids that money should be spent wisely and that they always have a choice about where, when, how, and why they spend their money. At this age, your kids should be able to weigh decisions and understand the possible outcomes and opportunity cost. “If you buy this video game, then you won’t have the money to buy that pair of shoes.”

Charity and giving are also an important concept of money. Teach them about giving by having them pick a charity or someone they know who needs a little help and giving a small percentage of their chore money away.

Saving Money

As just stated above, when showing the difference between needs versus wants, kids will start to understand that value of saving money for buying “luxury” items (like video games) and also save for longer-term goals, such as college.

Teach kids how savings works by breaking it down into simple math. If they save $5 a week, they will have $260 at the end of the year. Keep a clear record of their savings each week so they can stay focused and motivated on their savings goals.

Make Learning Money Management Fun with Games

Keeping it fun will always keep your kids motivated and engaged to learn. Here is an excellent list of online games and activities you can use to help develop and reinforce good money management habits in your children.

  • The Stock Market Game: Connect students to the global economy with virtual investing and real-world learning.
  • Building Wealth: Explore this interactive guide to learn how to set financial goals, budget, save and invest, build credit and manage debt, and protect wealth with basic insurance.
  • Escape from the Barter Islands: The Cleveland Fed’s interactive Escape from the Barter Islands teaches students the fundamentals of a barter system and the value of a uniform and acceptable currency. Players must help Robbie, who’s stranded on the Barter Islands, purchase a sail for his boat and return home by trading coconuts, apples, bananas, fish, bread, and more.
  • Learn the Biz: Click this resource to find tools and activities for young entrepreneurs.
  • Reality Check: Fill out the choices in this link to see if you can afford your dream life. You might be surprised at how much that life will cost.
  • Money Talks: Money Talks is a hands-on, interactive, on-line program, available in English and Spanish. Our resources consist of colorful learner guides, comprehensive leader’s guides, along with supplementary multimedia materials. Money Talks increases the financial literacy capability of youth and young adults (14-24) by giving them applied experiences that encourage fiscally sound decision-making in marketplace transactions.
  • Finance in the Classroom: Leverage the wealth of online resources available to anyone to teach kids K-12 learn money management skills that are directly applicable in real life.
  • Payback: Payback nudges students to think about how to succeed in college without taking on excessive student debt.
  • Stax: This game ignites the emotion that investors often feel while trading during turbulent times. Game players can compete against the computer or against one another. engaging, fast-paced interactive game that allows students to experience 20 years of investing in just 20 minutes.
  • Money Magic: Money Magic is designed to teach basic budgeting principles. The main character, Enzo, represents the human tendency to value short-term gratification. The game challenges students to balance immediate wants with long-term plans.
  • The Uber Game: In this game, students play the role of a full-time Uber driver—with two kids—who is trying to pay the mortgage. The interactive game, created by the Financial Times, challenges students to face life circumstances of those in the gig economy.
  • Clash Credit: Credit Clash is a fun and interactive way to learn about credit


Financial literacy is the ability to make sound financial decisions so you can confidently manage and grow your money. Empower your children build smart money habits. And remember, students can open a savings account at HOMEBANK with as little as $10. Stop by one of our branches today; our Customer Service Representatives will help make saving fun.