create a budget with your kids

The times they are a changing – in a good way. Recent studies show that an increasing number of kids in Canada are eager to learn more about how credit cards work, what things cost, and why. They also want to know about how to save money and create budget. That’s a far cry from a generation ago when kids didn’t give much thought to money aside from how much they could spend.

Teaching children to live within their means, set savings goals, and spend wisely is as important to education as any subject supporting life skills.

It’s encouraging to know that financial literacy is growing among kids because the more money smarts they have, the less likely they’ll be to experience debt problems later in life. Truth is, curiosity about money – and openly sharing financial information and knowledge – is healthy for all family members at all times. Teaching children to live within their means, set savings goals, and spend wisely is as important to education as any subject supporting life skills. After all, financial literacy and budget creation affords kids wisdom for practical application every day of their lives.

It’s true Canada still has work to do to get more kids on the financial literacy bandwagon. But the growth trend for more knowledge shows we’re on the right track. At this rate, who knows where we may end up. Imagine if Canada could boast of having the most financially literate kids in the world? It would only add to the country’s current reputation for having one of the best banking systems and soundest economies on the planet.

For parents seeking tools to help teach kids about money, there’s a great book called Money Savvy Kids.

Programs dedicated to smart personal money management and budget creation are now being added to school curricula. So parents continue to play the main role in teaching their kids about subjects such as creating a budget, tracking spending, and taking steps to save in the context of short term, mid-term, and long- term goals.

For parents seeking step-by-step tools to help teach kids about money, there is a great book to explore called Money Savvy Kids, authored by personal finance expert Gordon Pape and his daughter, Deborah Kerbel. The book offers financial lessons applicable to youngsters from age five to 17, with the father-daughter team taking a fun approach to the learning process. As well, the two provide plenty of information about online resources and books for thoughtful parents.

In terms of financial coaching for kids, parents need to practice what they preach because that’s what children absorb most.

You should also check out a great book by Robin Taub called A Parent’s Guide to Raising Money-Smart Kids, published by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants. The book explores why it’s important to help children become financially literate and describes methods for educating children about money.

In terms of financial coaching for kids, parents need to practice what they preach because that’s what children absorb most. Meanwhile, parents have to be aware of their own limitations regarding what they know about money and its many ins and outs. Parents should be confident about their knowledge of personal finance. At the very least, basics relating to budgeting, goal setting, and credit management should be understood by all givers of financial advice.

Beyond these matters, parents can turn themselves into financial wizards by taking advantage of financial literacy pro- grams such as Credit Canada’s Financial Coaching Series. Through the program, parents can become experts in personal financial management. No matter how much or how little you make as a working person, you can create a budget, save, and invest money like a pro – and set a great example for your kids.

* Blog content provided through the support of platinum sponsors of Credit Education Week Canada’s Focus Magazine.


debt problems online tools

Debt problems often start due to a lack of financial literacy. Financial literacy is the key to making every dollar count in life. And thanks to the Internet, fun and informative educational tools are readily available to students, parents, seniors, and teachers everywhere in Canada. Here’s a list of online destinations that are helping to improve financial literacy at home, in the classroom, and throughout our communities so you can avoid debt problems.

  • Cranial Cash Clash – This is a fun site, which may appeal in particular to money-minded students. Cranial Cash Clash is an interactive game that tests and assesses your financial smarts against other people playing online. You simply select a money-themed, multiple-choice quiz with scores based on how quickly you provide correct answers. Adding to the fun is the fact that your scores can be shared and tracked through online social networks, allowing you to pit your financial savvy against the world, and see how you rank globally.
  • Make it Count – Parents and teachers alike can make use of the Make It Count program, which encompasses online activities, tips and lessons that are a breeze to follow and simple for instructors to teach. Worth noting in particular is the program’s online daily budgeting feature highlighting practical real-world situations that frame money management in ways likely to engage youngsters. Included in the program are parent and teacher guides. A mobile app is available through the iTunes store. Thanks go to the Canadian Securities Administrators for creating Make It Count.
  • My Money $ My Future – Here’s another site with youthful appeal, brought to all young Canadians by the Certified General Accountants of Alberta. The site serves as a promising tool for improving financial literacy among high school students. My Money $ My Future highlights a quiz to determine money saving and spending habits, plus there’s a handy debt calculator, along with smart tips about earning money and saving it. Download a free workbook that’s supplied too and sign up for monthly financial tips.
  • Your Money – Here’s a site offering extensive money management resources to teachers, parents, and students. Students and seniors get special focus.  Created by the Canadian Bankers’ Association, Your Money is impressive for its in-depth and tailored approach to serving the three audiences. Students will find plenty of links covering budgeting, saving, and investing. Teachers can put together in-class seminars with the help of banker volunteers. Parents can make use of tools for teaching financial literacy at home. Your Money includes plenty of programs and partnerships that banks lead or support.
  • Learning Money with Leo – Created by Royal Bank of Canada, this is a free iPad application to help families teach children the value of money.
  • Bank the Rest – This savings program allows you to automatically round up purchases made using The Bank of Nova Scotia debit card to the next multiple of $1 or $5. The difference between the purchase total and the rounded up amount is then transferred to a savings account.
  • Junior Achievement Programs – These popular programs are offered in schools and teach money management business and entrepreneurship skills. Several banks in Canada are supporters of Junior Achievement including CIBC, RBC, TD Bank Group, HSBC Bank Canada, The Bank of Nova Scotia, and BMO Financial Group.
  • Clearfacts – This financial literacy website, sponsored by National Bank, offers articles and information for families, homeowners, students, and business owners.
  • PracticalMoneySkills – Visa Canada also has created a splendid site devoted to financial literacy called Practical Money Skills. It’s designed to help Canadians – young and old – improve personal money management skills. It includes elements such as calculators, games, and lesson plans tailored for use by families and educators. The site includes a fun game called Peter Pig’s Money Counter (go online to:, which teaches children aged four to seven the value of money through counting and sorting challenges.
  • Credit Canada – Credit Canada offers all kinds of information about debt management, particularly concerning problem debt and smart ways to budget and track spending. Aside from site content and helpful aids such as Monthly Budget Tracker and Debt Calculator (among other online tools), you can access an extensive library of booklets – for young and old alike – that are available through downloading or in hard copy form.

* Blog content provided through the support of platinum sponsors of Credit Education Week Canada’s Focus Magazine.


Navigating life’s financial passages. Credit counselling can help.

by Credit Canada July 15, 2015

Life over the long run needs a financial compass that always shows you where you’re at. That’s very important in relation to the major life passages we all experience as we set course as young adults, as we mature, and as we grow old. Some of us never launch by putting a financial compass to […]

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Life Support. How To Create A Budget For Emergencies.

by Credit Canada July 8, 2015

The old saying is as true today as it ever was: it’s wise to save for a rainy day. Yet more and more of us in Canada are failing to create a budget that includes money for financial emergencies, which maybe shows that we’ve grown too comfortable with free-spending consumerism and credit on demand. Not so […]

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Someday is not a day of the week. Notes on procrastination.

by Credit Canada July 1, 2015

We hear a lot of jokes about procrastination. For instance, “One of these days I’m going to get help for my procrastination problem.” Or how about, “One of the greatest labour-saving inventions of today is tomorrow.” Then there’s the famous, “Procrastination always gives me something to look forward to.” Unfortunately, while the witty remarks bring […]

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Track your cash and credit-card-debt outlays.

by Credit Canada June 24, 2015

Off the top of your head, can you come up with a figure for what you spent on gas, groceries, shopping, drinks with friends, etc. last month? Include little things such as coffee, candy, pop, magazines, what have you. Chances are you don’t know what you spent. The amount would probably surprise you. Tracking your […]

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Avoid debt problems through smart monthly budgeting.

by Credit Canada June 17, 2015

Creating a monthly budget can bring calm to financially stormy lives. It’s a proven way to avoid debt problems. But those troubled by finances have to be willing to make the effort to improve their financial knowledge and skills. Once that decision is made, there are steps that can help you achieve financial peace of […]

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Couples and financial planning. Avoid the pitfalls.

by Credit Canada June 10, 2015

It’s said that money is at the centre of most troubled relationships between couples. But there’s another side to the coin. Bonds between couples and family members can be strengthened through a smart approach to financial planning. Rarely is money a home wrecker among couples who practice open communication, honesty, and fair play. If two […]

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Quiz time. Have you got what it takes to get financially motivated?

by Credit Canada June 3, 2015

Credit Canada’s credit counselling experts want to know: Are you financially motivated? Do you disappoint yourself by putting things off? Does procrastination ever worry you particularly in relation to financial planning? If so what do you imagine your best course of action might be to get motivated and achieve success? Take this quiz. It offers […]

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Students and debt problems. Finding free money gets high marks.

by Credit Canada May 27, 2015

What’s the outlook for students and young adults who want to launch for financial success in life? Well, interesting news about the matter comes by way of studies conducted by yconic and Abacus Data, which have looked into the financial health of Canadian millennials. As recently as 2014, a staggering 79 per cent of Canadians […]

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