When it comes to budgeting and kids, money-savvy parents and caregivers typically have a handle on teaching the basics: savings, income tracking, spending allocation, etc. Frequently left out of financial education for kids, however, is the concept of charity. Giving to a worthy cause should be part of budgeting for children not only for the money skills it introduces, but also for the social awareness and maturity it creates.
What’s so financially important about charity in a kid’s budget?
From the purely financial standpoint, once your child has a grasp of financial basics, introducing charitable giving into her budget expands money possibilities. For instance, a child learns that charitable contributions can be written off on taxes—she learns that giving actually can be a means of saving. Charitable giving within a child’s budget shows what is available should she run into her own money trouble later on, as well. In many cases, charities have to work on trimmed budgets, so having a child look at charities demonstrates what is truly necessary to keep an organization or personal account operational. Lastly, charities do not always show their immediate effects. An education-based charity, for example, may provide the funds to teach the next generation of lawyers, doctors, etc., but it takes years for students who receive funds to obtain a degree and start practicing. Charity within a child budget thus can be a way to get your child thinking about long-term investment, depending on the organization with which your child chooses to work.
What are the social effects of including charity in child budgets?
Including charity in a kid’s budget also has huge social ramifications. By having your child look at giving some of their available money away, you teach your kid to observe, to look outside himself to recognize what others need. This can build a sympathetic way of living and doing business, revealing gaps in the community or market and providing evidence that for-profit businesses alone do not always meet people’s needs. Of course, giving to charity also can build up your child’s self-esteem as he sees how he has helped others and made a difference. Your child might come to understand that including charity in his budget is a realistic way to enter others’ lives.
Quick Tips for Getting Your Child Started With Charity
- Be realistic – Your child might have the most generous heart in the world, but you still have to show him that he is obligated to pay his routine expenses or debts. Set up the budget so your child can give but doesn’t break the bank.
- Start small – Child budgets typically are fairly tiny compared to adult budgets, so you’ll need to find charities that accept small donations. Look for ones with no minimum donation amount and remind your child to see the charitable gift as a percentage of the whole budget instead of in a dollar value.
- Think routine – As your child matures, he’ll develop the cognitive abilities and financial strategies that allow for more spontaneous donations. When your child is just starting out, however, it’s better to make donations routine so your child learns contributions can be a regular part of a budget. A good place to start might be your local church, as religious institutions typically collect donations on a weekly basis during services.
- Get your child’s input – When you start teaching about charity, it’s easy to guide your child to give to charities that interest you. Avoid this if you can, instead really taking the opportunity to explore what your child supports. You can still show him what is available and why you give as you do during this process.
- Use technology to your advantage. – Websites such as bankaroo.altair-digital-solutions.com/wp/ and other mobile applications make it easier than ever for kids to find charities and track contributions; they eliminate the excuse that making a donation is a hassle.