It’s never too early to form good financial habits. Teaching children to save money doesn’t have to be tricky—just make it fun!
Money Management for Kids
Kids love stories. Why not use books to start teaching kids money habits they’ll use for the rest of their lives?
April is Teach Your Children to Save Month and the perfect opportunity to use story time to teach your little ones about the value of money. They’ll be so engaged they won’t even know they’re learning!
6 Books That Focus on Financial Literacy for Kids
1. Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday – written by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Ray Cruz
This book is full of tips on money management for kids. They’ll learn about:
- How to save
- The discipline it takes to save successfully
- Types of coins and their value
- How to control impulse spending
Alexander gets a dollar from his grandparents—a dollar that quickly burns a hole in his pocket. After a spending spree, losing silly bets and renting a snake among other things, he goes from feeling rich to feeling regretful. In the end he’s left with some bus tokens and a serious case of buyer’s remorse.
2. Bunny Money – written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells
After listening to this delightful story, kids will understand:
- The importance of tracking expenses
- How to set and reach a savings goal
- How to compromise on purchases when it comes to affordability
This is the story of Max and Ruby, two bunnies who set out with a wallet full of cash they had saved to buy a music box—a birthday gift for grandma. Along the way, some unexpected emergencies paired with caving into temptation threaten their original plan.
Bonus lesson: Kids will see a great role model in Ruby when it comes to taking care of their younger siblings.
3. The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money – written and illustrated by Stan and Jan Berenstain
This classic book teaches kids multiple lessons about money:
- How to make it and how to save it
- A basic explanation of how banks work
- A few idioms to use when talking about money
While Brother and Sister Bear are very knowledgeable about the ways of the world, they’re not so good at managing their piggy bank. Worried about their careless spending, Mama and Papa Bear suggest they earn money to learn the real value of saving and planning. The cubs turn into industrious little entrepreneurs but quickly go from caring too little about money to caring too much.
4. Those Shoes – written by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Noah Z. Jones
This book emphasizes:
- The difference between wants and needs
- The power of kindness
- To help others in need
Everywhere he looks, Jeremy sees those shoes. Everyone at school has them, and all of his friends are boasting about theirs. But the shoes are expensive, so he and his grandma go hunting for them in thrift stores and purchase a pair that’s a bit too small. In a display of empathy and generosity, though, Jeremy ends up offering his pair to a friend who needs them more.
5. Benny’s Pennies – written by Pat Brisson and illustrated by Bob Barner
This book teaches young kids:
- How to count money
- How to subtract
- How to give thoughtful gifts and the joy that comes from generosity
Benny McBride sets out to buy something for himself with his five new and shiny pennies. He finds it tough that it’s more fun to buy gifts he thinks others might enjoy. In the end, he buys flowers for his mom, cookies for his brother and a paper hat for his sister. Even his pets get some presents.
6. A Bargain for Frances – written by Russell Hoban and illustrated by Lillian Hoban
Let these characters teach your kids how to:
- Overcome the temptation to spend all their money
- Be assertive and aware as a consumer
Frances is tricked by her friend Thelma into buying something she doesn’t need when Thelma manipulates Frances into buying her old tea set. Eventually, Frances get smarter about money, and tricks Thelma into taking back the tea set. In the end, though, the two discover that their friendship is more important than material possessions.
There are plenty of great books to teach money management to kids. The most important part is to choose an age-appropriate reading level and then keep it fun and engaging. Consider discussing the lessons with your child after reading, and look for ways to bring these lessons into their own experiences.