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Tools for teaching financial literacy skills

by Mary Mazzoni on October 29, 2012

Does your child have a working knowledge of budgeting, banking, credit, debit, saving, giving, and investing?

As our kids prepare for life on their own, they’ve got much to learn about money. Once they turn 18, they will be legally responsible for their financial actions.

What’s a parent to do?

Here are some free tools for teaching your child essential money management skills and habits. 

First, take time to consider…

Before we dive into the teaching tools, here are some articles that can help you clarify your own thinking about money and consider ways to use everyday opportunities to teach your child about personal finances.

Teaching your child about money

This article tackles topics such as allowances, bank accounts and setting financial goals. From 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy.

Teens and money

Here’s a link to short easy-to-read articles on a range of finance topics relevant to teens. From

Recommendations for parents of teens

This free e-book offers brief, practical articles by a variety of financial literacy experts and parents.  Download here: Recommendations for Parents of Teens-1st-edition. Published by

Reality check – lifestyle budget calculator

Since we pay the bills, our kids don’t have a realistic understanding of the cost of living.

The Reality Check by asks kids to answer questions about the lifestyle they envision for themselves after high school. Based on responses, a minimum income is calculated. As kids revise their lifestyle preferences, the income requirements are adjusted accordingly.


Click here to find links to a wide variety of free online interactive games that help kids of all ages build personal finance knowledge and skills.

You may also want to play the Smart Money Skills Quiz Show game with your child here.

Free Personal Finance Curricula

Choose from these learning modules to teach your child the essentials of personal finance.

Hands-on Banking

Online modules are available for kids and adults – with free “Instructor Guides” (for parents or teachers). Or – you can order free CD-Roms. Topics include saving, banking, budgeting, borrowing and more. There’s even an entrepreneurship module for starting a small business.

The “Young Adult” curriculum is for high school students – and the “Teen” program is really for ‘tweens. Videos and graphics engage kids in learning.

You can find a link to “Instructor Guides” and order free CD-Roms here.  On the same page, you can click on the icons for each program and enter into the online modules.

Here’s a link to take you right into the Young Adult module

Personal Money Skills for Life

This 22-lesson curriculum tackles saving, credit, budgeting, banking, and more. Lesson topics are listed here. Parent and/or teacher registration for free access to lessons can be found here.

Check out the large collection of free supplementary materials on a variety of personal finance topics here.

High School Financial Planning Program

This free curriculum includes modules on planning, saving, budgeting, borrowing, insurance and more. Learn more about the program here. If you register here as a “Home School Educator” – you’ll get free access to both teacher and student materials.

Managing money now

Does your child have access to money now – through gifts, allowance, odd-jobs or employment?  Help her put sound money management skills into practice!

Here are some ideas:

Virtual bank accounts

Click here and here to check out two free online “virtual banking” programs. Kids track and plan deposits and withdrawals. You hold the real money.

Real bank accounts

Click here for tips on helping your teen to open and learn from a real checking account.

Your turn

What strategies are you using to teach your child personal finance skills and habits? Please share your ideas in the comment section below. Let’s learn from one another!

Did you find this post helpful? Please share it with your friends. Thanks!

Photo credit – Oldmaison at Flickr

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Phyl November 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm

These are fabulous tools, ideas, and articles. Thanks so much for generously sharing these with us!


Mary Mazzoni November 1, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Thanks so much for your comment, Phyl. Glad you find the resources helpful! All the best to you and the youth you strive to empower!


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