Keep your kids out of debt

5 tips for raising financially fit kids

how to raise money-saavy kids

When I was a child, I thought that just because there were checks in my parents' checkbook, there was plenty of money in the bank. How many kids these days think whipping out a credit card is the way to pay for items? As parents, we have a special opportunity to teach our kids about money and how they can handle it responsibly so they stay out of debt down the line and know how to save for their future needs and wants.

1. Saving money. For the elementary- age crowd, start with a simple piggy bank and teach about saving money in it until they have saved enough to buy something special.

2. The allowance issue: yes or no? Consider setting up a chore chart and giving a weekly allowance depending upon the age of the child. Then, have your child split their weekly earnings three ways: save, give and spend. This process teaches great lessons about saving for the future, giving to charity and holding onto some money for fun.

READ MORE: Tips for teaching kids money can't buy happiness

3. Go out and see it. A field trip to a bank or credit union is a great way for kids to see how money moves through the system. They also learn about concepts such as interest, loans, debit versus credit cards, among other things. This is also a good opportunity to have your children open up a savings account. Teach them that savings is a special kind of money that is only taken out for emergencies and is ideally saved for the future (college, starting a business, a car, etc.).

4. Let them watch you. Older kids can benefit greatly by watching you balance your checkbook, if you still do it that way. Most banking is done online these days, but it's still important to keep up with accounts, and your kids need to know that. Helping you with the monthly budget and subsequent bill-paying process is also something most kids don't get to see. Budgeting is such an important tool in avoiding debt that is imperative we teach this to our children when they are young. Check out for some fun budgeting and allowance printables for kids.

5. Lead by example. Obviously, you need to practice what you preach as far as financial matters go or your kids just won't grasp what you're trying to teach them. You don't have to be a financial wizard to raise fiscally-fit kids. If you are savvy with money, it will be pretty simply to get your kids on board. Teaching your kids some of these principles may help you get financially fit as well.

Kerrie McLoughlin is the mom of 5 money-savvy kids.