How to educate your children on the cost of living

For most teens, the promise of independence is exciting - moving away from their parents gives them the freedom to rule their own roost.

However, like everything else in life it comes at a cost. Whether they are planning on getting a room in University halls of residence, renting their first shared house or even buying their first flat.

You might have heard that our kids are waiting for longer than ever to move out with more than a quarter of 20 - 34-year olds still living with their parents, which is a record high. In part, this is probably due to the massive increase in the cost of renting. Although of course, it could just be that they can’t stand the thought of missing mum’s Sunday roast.

Cost-of-living

We all want our kids to be ready to deal with the costs of flying the nest. The question is - how can we help prepare them? We’ve been having a think about the practical ways to encourage your kids to think about the cost of living so they learn by doing.

Here’s a few ideas we came up with:

    1

    Set your kids a challenge. Ask them to list how much they think all the household bills cost each month… though you might need to offer them a reward to get them interested. Keep it simple, try using a template and look at their answers at the end. How close are they? After a few attempts, chances are their guesses will be on the money.

      2

      Set them the task to find you a cheaper energy provider online. Sure, it’s not the most exciting task in the world, spice it up for them. Transfer the anticipated annual costs (based on previous years) into their bank account and tell them that they can keep anything they manage to save by shopping around - it’ll be worth their while! The sooner they learn to navigate comparison websites and getting familiar with finding the best deals online, the more they’ll save over the course of the lifetime.

      3

        See if you can convince them to do the weekly shop for a few weeks by incentivising it in a similar way - tell them if they can make any savings without compromising on quality they can keep the leftovers for themselves.

        4

          Tell them when your insurance policies are up for renewal and see if they can make a saving. This is a particularly interesting way to teach your kids about the costs of living because they may not profit immediately. Instead, it will reward them for setting a reminder that your policy is coming to an end later in the year - so long as they put in the effort and find a better deal.

          5

          Encourage them to create a monthly report or spreadsheet to keep track of all the bills. Try and position this in a way which emphasizes how much it will help you, rather than them - this way it seems more like a valuable family responsibility and less like extra homework.

          Whether it’s offering an incentive to help out with household bills or simply having a chat to encourage good habits, there’s plenty we can do to help our kids understand the cost of living. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Giving them responsibility will be both rewarding and educational. They’ll thank you in the long term - well, if they ever move out…

          Further reading

          Find more about
          Child Trust Funds

          Are we ready for a
          cashless society?

          Encouraging a balanced
          attitude towards money