Here's a kid-friendly budget template

I started my 6 year old on a budget while we shelter in place. No better time, since we have plenty of it. 

I asked him about the things he'd like to do. He began with physical items, then gradually moved towards experiences, which made me very proud.

His budget looks like this:

LONG TERM SAVINGS (5+ YEARS): 3 months of earnings (I chose this one), education, Paris

SHORT TERM SAVINGS (<5 YEARS): giving, gifts, toy/game he has an eye on, Disney World, CN Tower 

SPENDING: food, movie theatre, museums, free spending, books, drawing/colouring supplies

His earnings are evenly divided between the 3 groups; he realized very quickly that he didn't have enough to fund every category, so it was a great teaching moment. 

FYI he doesn't pay for every category himself! In most cases he contributes; he'll pay part of the checked baggage fee, buy his movie ticket, and get fries at McDonald's. For education, what he saves acts as a round up to what I put aside. The fact that he is an active contributer to his goals and that of the household's is empowering to him. 

Good luck if you give it a go!

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  • I forgot to add that we started budgeting when he kept asking to buy games or get takeout. He learned quickly how pricey life can be 馃馃槺馃く

    Like 3
    • Hi dangerosity !

      I love this set up and the different categories you let him choose! I think choosing your categories is the best part of setting up a budget, because you get to choose what you truly care about.

      I hope you don't mind me asking, but is he budgeting an allowance, or is this unscheduled income like birthday money or random gifts from relatives? Just curious if he budgets on a set schedule. I'm imagining a "Budget Day" and that's out right adorable. :)

      Like 1
      • dangerosity
      • Aquamarine_Piranha.9
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Faness until we made this budget, it was birthday money and what he earns from helping out (i.e. his grandpa gives him $10 for helping to rake leaves or shovel snow). When I tried the allowance route before, it got out of hand; he didn't understand why he couldn't spend the coins in his piggy bank. "IT'S MINE!" was very commonly heard 馃槵 so I stopped.

      Because of this budget, I now give him $30 per month. That seems excessive for his age, but hear me out!

      Since the two savings categories were my requirement but he chose thoughtful (and somewhat lofty) goals, I decided to offer him $10 per category. You can see how $10 doesn't stretch far in any group.

      The savings groups are supplemental to his education and our travel funds that I maintain, so I just dropped my contributions by $20 per month and shifted it to his budget, which means I only had to find an extra $10 in mine!

      He is coming to terms with having "a lot" of money but not being able to spend it freely. #score

      Like 2
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      dangerosity  My kids get 50 cents a week per year of age as allowance. We also contribute to their accounts in other ways separately, but even at their current ages of 13 and 10 they are not able to manage money in such larger amounts. The problem is that children aren't really capable of thinking in such long terms, because they don't have any long term experience yet. it takes time to grow into it. I'd rather not put my ideas into their heads about what is or isn't an appropriate long term savings goal.

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      • dangerosity
      • Aquamarine_Piranha.9
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule   thanks for sharing! I tried the dollar per age per week and found it too problematic for us as a tool for learning to managing money.  It's true that children don't have the life experience to think long-term, but they can be exposed to the idea: "if you buy those TicTacs today, you won't have enough to get the RC car next weekend, so are you sure you want to do it?"

      In regards to not putting ideas in children's heads about what is an appropriate savings goal, I disagree. I believe it's prudent to teach basics, like saving for future needs like school, building up a cash cushion, saving for things you want, and knowing that spending isn't bad. I agree that parents shouldn't dictate the details; that needs to be learned through experience.

      Aside from me choosing for him to save three months of earnings and for education, both of which I think are reasonable, he picked every other goal without my direction: Paris ("I want to see the Eiffel Tower when I'm old"), Disney 2022 spending money, our Toronto trip for his birthday, books, toys, games, all picked by him. I decided to run with his goals and show him how to hit them, and it's paid off wonderfully in such a short time.

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      • dangerosity
      • Aquamarine_Piranha.9
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      I should clarify: he does not get $30 physically to handle, he has $30 to allocate within a framework, $20 of which is managed by me, with the remaining $10 going to his piggy bank for spending.

      On a personal note, my parents started my siblings and I on an allowance when we were three.  75% had to go to education and we could spend or save the remaining 25%. I don't attribute this early start to my entire financial success, but it certainly helped introduce me to the concept of prioritizing. I've adapted this model to reflect mine and my son's current financial values, and I'm happy to say it's working.

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      dangerosity My kids know about the other money. We just don't include it as part of their budgeting.

      Like 1
      • dangerosity
      • Aquamarine_Piranha.9
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule That's fair. My motivation for budgeting like this for him partly comes from being a single parent on a single low income. Until I increase my salary substantially, I have to face the fact that my son will probably need loans to get through school, so it pays off (literally) to have him start handling a small amount now. Obviously, that's no guarantee that he won't struggle with money at any point in his life, but he'll have some guidance to go off of. 

      And if he develops an expensive shoe habit, he'll know how to fund it without puttering away his savings馃憤馃徎

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  • I WISH my parents had done something like this for me when I was younger. I might not be in the position I am now if they had.

    Like 2
      • dangerosity
      • Aquamarine_Piranha.9
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual it's a relief to me that he took the conversation so well. I had to be careful in presenting the idea; it's a necessary thing to do but there's more than one way to do it is the route I took in my explanation.

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    • dangerosity Have you seen the YNAB Kids series yet? The Kid Talk Editions bring me so much joy. 馃槀

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      • dangerosity
      • Aquamarine_Piranha.9
      • 4 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Nicole what a great idea! Thanks for letting me know!

      Like 1
  • We're doing a similar thing with our kids (14 and almost 12).  My kids get about 1/2 of what nolesrule said, because we give them $1.00 per year of age each month.  But in addition to this, I'm giving them the amount of their phone bills (14 year old has a smart phone, so his is a little more, with data plan, 12 year old, just a flip phone with a smaller monthly charge) a little for cosmetics, etc. and then they get to distribute in their budget how they see fit.  

    They have also set up a wish farm, which for the most part is Lego sets, but some of the more expensive ones, so they're seeing it gradually grow.  Plus any birthday/christmas/grandparents being nice money goes towards their choice as well.

    My sister actually Included clothing money for her kids.  I haven't gotten there yet, but I think it would be a good idea.  The more responsibility they have, and life experiences involving money that we can give them, the better off they'll be when they're on their own.

    Like 1
      • dangerosity
      • Aquamarine_Piranha.9
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Bruce that's a win to have them manage their phone bills and wish farm! I can see myself adding in clothing when my son is a teenager and he wants the expensive items, but I'll most likely still do the basics - new winter coat, new shirts when he outgrows them, that kind of thing.

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