How I talk to my children about cost of living rises

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Ricky is an award-winning blogger who runs the money-saving site, along with his wife Naomi Willis, Skint Dad – where they teach their followers how they can make every penny count.  

“Just pay for it on your card, Daddy,” my youngest daughter suggested when I said I didn’t have the cash to pay for whatever it was she wanted. 
 
Considering most purchases now mean transferring numbers from one computer to another, and you rarely see the money disappearing from your purse, it’s not as easy to show kids how fast money goes. 
 
Even still, I find that moments like this are the perfect time to talk about money with kids. It gives them real-life examples to prevent overspending, how to budget or even the differences between cash and credit. 
 
And there’s always something happening that we can’t control around money and finances, particularly now with the cost of living getting higher and higher. All over the news are talks of war and its impacts on the price of fuel and food. 
 
This allows us to talk about energy bills and make it relatable to things they’ve seen. Depending on their age, we can discuss how direct debits work, debit and credit on bills during different times of the year, as well as how to cut back on usage (so we have more money left over to buy sweets (definitely important to the youngest)). 
 
With food shopping, we ask them to help come up with ideas for family meals, set a budget, and add up how much we spend. It doesn’t even need to take place in a supermarket. Getting kids to help with an online shop or using comparison tools like trolley.co.uk can help them see how to shop for deals. I’ve found it easier for younger children to plan one favourite meal as there is less for them to shop for and add up. Then, a month later, we can buy the same foods and check receipts to see how much prices change. 
 
Randomly bringing up money in a conversation may come across as a little weird, but you can slip in chats to teach them along the way. Even Monopoly now has a digital version where you use a bank card instead of cash to buy property, which they find more relevant to how most people spend money today. 
 
While we can do practical things to show how to budget and be wise with money, we find having conversations regularly with kids can help break down any taboos as early as possible.

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