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Ask the Expert: How Can You Teach Your Kids About Money? 10 Moms Will Win!

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Do you want to teach your kids how to live frugally and save money?

Learn how to approach financial topics with your kids with our guest expert Beth Kobliner. Beth is a personal finance author, a member of the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability, and a content advisor for Sesame Street's Financial Education Initiative, for which she teaches Elmo about money in their outreach videos.

Beth will be in Frugalistas the week of May 9 to answer YOUR questions. You can ask questions about when to start talking about finances with your kids, how to get them to become good savers, or any other kids & money or personal finance questions you have! Please post your questions as a reply to this post. Beth will post her responses here as well.

Post your questions now and you could win a copy of Beth's book, "Get a Financial Life," plus a set of Sesame Street Finger Puppets! 10 moms will win a prize set!

Thank you for joining us, Beth Kobliner!


You can find out more about Beth and follow her work on her website,, and on her Facebook page and Twitter feed.

The Official Rules
To enter the contest, reply to this post. Click on the 'reply to post' button at the top (or bottom) of that post. When the text box opens, add your reply. Once you've added your reply, click on the "Add Reply' button.


  • Posts must be made between Thursday, May 5 at 4pm EST and Friday, May 13 at 11:59 pm EST.  
  • This contest will end on Friday, May 13, 2011 at 11:59 pm EST
  • Ten winners will be selected randomly.
  • The winners will be posted on this thread and will be notified via CafeMom PM.
  • Multiple replies are allowed and will increase  your chances of winning.
  • Prizes are only available to members who live in the US or Canada (excluding Quebec).
  • Ten winners will receive copy of "Get a Financial Life" and a set of Sesame Street Finger Puppets.
by on May. 5, 2011 at 4:39 PM
Replies (61-70):
by on May. 12, 2011 at 6:32 PM

Quoting arose74:

Do you know any websites with money counting worksheets for preschoolers?

Sesame Street's website offers online games about numbers and counting: You can also print play money there and practice with your child that way:

by on May. 12, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Quoting arose74:

What is the best way to start a college fund if your savings is limited?

If you're one of the rare few who have maxed out your retirement plans, then you could consider opening a 529 plan, a program that helps you save long-term for your child's college education – for this option, you can learn more at But if not, you need to prioritize your retirement savings over your child's education, since your child can borrow for college, but you can't borrow for retirement. Trust me, the best gift you can give your kid is your own financial security!

by on May. 12, 2011 at 7:01 PM

Quoting jridgill:

How do I explain to my 10 year old that just because she has money in her savings account doesn't mean she should try to find something to spend it on.

Great question. Here's another case where parents may have to lead by example. Next time you go shopping with your daughter, purposefully choose to not buy anything. You can explain that window shopping or spending time together is fun regardless of whether you bring home any bags.

by on May. 12, 2011 at 7:08 PM

Quoting floridagal:

What age should you start with an allowance, how much per age and how often - weekly?  And do you tie the allowance to chores or just have a set amount each week.  Our biggest challenge is the peer pressure from just about every single kid in class who all seem to get a wii game the very first day it is released - $50, and do you cave in and do the same thing or do you force your child to save up for it on his or her own for a month or two prior?!  Some kids seem to get anything they want and others only get presents for their birthdays and Christmas and no other times during the year, not even small trinkets.  How do you strike a happy medium between the two extremes.

Lots of good questions here! I believe chores are about being part of the family, and should be separate from allowance. Instead, I suggest giving kids a reasonable weekly wage, like 50 cents to a dollar for every year of your child's age. If your kids are comparing themselves to other kids (or you're comparing yourself to other parents), explain to your child that every family makes choices about how to spend money. Even though another family chose to spend their money on a Wii game, you can explain that you as a family are saving money for other choices. Depending on how old your kids are, Sesame Street has some great materials for kids and parents at

by on May. 12, 2011 at 7:15 PM

Quoting Beth100:

    Beth Koblinger:    I would love to teach my youngest daughter how to live more frugally.  How to save money and bank it would be a miracle !  She is bi-polar to the point of being disabled, lives on SSI, does not have transportation or a job and is getting a divorce from the spouse who kept her transportation!  It's not a good scene.  Any help you could give me would be so much appreciated.  Beth100   By the daughter is 36, so it is a big job!

Glad to meet another Beth! I am sorry to hear you and your daughter are having a tough time. Have you tried sitting down and talking to your daughter about her finances? Perhaps you can help her draw up a budget (I have a free budget tool on my website: If she is struggling with debt, she could talk to a debt counselor. You can find a reliable counselor for free or at a low cost at the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC).

by Member on May. 13, 2011 at 8:43 AM

I actually don't have a question because they've all been asked (and well answered!)...BUT...I want to say a BIG THANK YOU for this!!!  It's crucial to learn about money (some of us started late and are still finding our way!) and to have these resources available to help our children and ourselves is, simply, perfect!

thank you

by on May. 13, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Quoting AnB68:

when do you teach budgeting to a child/teen 

This can start when children are very young. In Sesame Street's "For Me, for You, for Later" financial literacy initiative (, they advise parents to explain that as a family, you spend some of your money on needs, such as your home and food. And you spend some money on wants, like games and activities. And you also save money for things you may need or want in the future. When children reach tween/teen years, they may want to create a budget for themselves, which they can easily do on or on the budget calculator on my website:

by on May. 13, 2011 at 10:51 AM

Quoting AnB68:

 how to get a child to be happy with what they have and not "compare" them selves in the material world to their peers??

Always one of the toughest for us parents! I think you can boil it down to two concepts: choices and values. Every family must make choices on how to spend their money. And every family must decide what they value and what something is worth. It's important to have an open dialogue with your children about these topics.

by on May. 13, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Quoting MommaClark3:

We teach our kids to have three seperate ways.... Savings (they all have a savings account), Charity, and spending cash... however, they lean towards the first two, and we the parents spend on them! But when the two smaller ones get bigger they'll get to spend their money... it is theirs not mine

We have a chore board... mainly manners, nice to brother, writing, picking up toys, and things for their age... they also recycle bottles and cans and stick that into savings...


What great tips for everyone here! Thank you for sharing.

by on May. 13, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Quoting AnB68:

 answer this question to a 16yr old--

is $120 expensive for jeans?

I love this question-maybe because I have a teenage daughter and can relate! Even though the Sesame Street project I worked on is intended for little kids, I think the lessons in it apply to older kids and even to us parents. When your daughter asks you that question, explain that spending money is about making choices, having values, and saving for a goal. How do those $120 jeans compare to another pair for $80 or another pair for $40? Are they worth that much more money? In addition, how much does she value jeans compared to other items, like shoes or going to the movies? Which item or activity does she value most? That's where her money should go. You can also encourage her to save money until she can afford the jeans, reinforcing that sometimes we have to wait for something we really want.

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