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Budgeting for Kids

Budgets may seem boring, but they help you afford all the toys and fun things you want!


Certain things in life are considered limitless. Like, your ability to think, dream, and accomplish greatness immeasurably. 

What’s also thought to be without bounds is your parents’ love for you! 

Did I hear a virtual crowd say, “Aww”?

My sentiments exactly.

Or take, for instance, the motion picture film, Limitless (2011) with actor Bradley Cooper, which brought us closer to understanding how and why humans want what they want. (Speaking of “wants,” I’m sure your parents would be thrilled if you decided to reciprocate the kissy-faced, long-drawn-out text to show your love in return, but we totally get why you wouldn’t.)

In the movie, Bradleys’ character takes a mysterious pill that turns him into a financial wizard overnight, creating a life of infinite opportunity paired with endless money. 

Then finally, everything goes haywire – the side effects of the pill become hard to manage, the pill supply runs low and what seemed like a promising and everlasting future, comes to an abrupt end. We quickly learn that there are only a few things in life that are considered to be without limits, and money isn’t one of them. 

In fact, money has a reputation of being hard to keep and easy to lose. 

Don’t get me wrong, if your goal is to amass a quadrillion dollars at some point in life, don’t let anyone tell you you can’t. Discipline, focus, dedication, strategic planning, and even at times, a little blood, sweat, and tears are what it takes to get a firm grip on money. For those of us, like your emoji-prone, heart-felt grownups who understand this, it’s not to be taken lightly. 

So how can you take control to get the best hold on money possible? The short answer is by budgeting it.

In this article, we will cover why budgeting money is important, how to create a budget as a kid, and how to ask your parents to help you with budgeting. We will also provide you with useful budgeting definitions and games and other resources to help you learn about budgeting. Let’s get down to business!

Why Budgeting Money Is Important

Since you now have an idea of how NOT to let money get up and pull a gingerbread man fast one on you, let’s begin to think of some ways to keep money on a sweet-tasting leash that is at your edible disposal. 

To keep and retain money, you have to have a plan. A plan will allow you to decide when money comes and when it goes. This same plan will also show you ways of growing the money that stays with you.

Let’s take a closer look at why budgeting your money benefits you and why it’s important:

  • Creates financial control/stability/freedom – You can never go wrong with this game plan. Budgeting your money effectively is going to ensure you never come up short, especially when you need money the most. 
  • Prepare for emergencies – Your parents can get you out of the worst situations, but wouldn’t it be empowering of you to say, “Thanks Mom/Dad, but I got this.”
  • The ultimate self-control – This can work in your favor in more ways than you think. Building up self-control means you know how to resist things that aren’t in your best interest or aren’t a part of your future plan. Take for example, a pair of $250 shoes that you saw and fell in love with only because they have scuff marks already built-in and engraved for you (pass on them and go get your shoes hit by a bus), or the friend you wanted to lend money to who doesn’t know exactly how they plan on paying you back because they’ve never had a job (*cough* you can do bad all by yourself). These bullets alone are worth dodging.

How to Create A Budget as A Kid

Your parents may feel obligated at times to help you pay for things, earn money solely through an allowance and even save through their own savings plans, but when you are responsible enough and have already found yourself in situations where you control how your money is spent, earned, and saved, you can now begin to budget and maintain it. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make that happen:

  1. Gather financial information – How much cash do you have on hand? How about the money in your piggy bank, safe, or checking/savings/investing accounts? Write down each and every source of money you have. 
  2. Figure out income – Do you currently have an income source from babysitting or working on a job? What about allowance? Fixed money from relatives? Write down all current sources of income.
  3. Jot down expenses – What are the things you consistently find yourself buying? Are they “wants” or “needs”? Are you responsible for buying your own lunch twice within the week? Do you pay for one extracurricular once a month? Do you contribute in bi-weekly donations with your parents? Do you pay your monthly cell phone bill? Write out every expense that you have to worry about.
  4. Lastly, focus on goals – Is your lofty goal to save 1 million dollars before age 25? Are you looking to buy your first car? Is paying college tuition in full your ultimate goal? You don’t have to have just one. Write them all down. 
  5. Create the master budgeting plan – Now for the best part. Take the time and ask yourself how you plan to work towards achieving your goals while also having money to maintain ongoing expenses. Your parents will be so impressed you took up the initiative to start budgeting your money, they’ll want to help you any way they can.

Use these budgeting tools and resources to help you get started:

Budgeting apps – when technology and convenience are your top priority, an app built for helping kids like you and families like yours with their budgeting goals could be well worth it.

Check out these top budgeting apps according to parents to download and get started with budgeting and planning for your own future!

Spreadsheets – Essentially, a spreadsheet takes the place of a paper worksheet, and is much quicker to fill out and to go back and make necessary changes to. If you are not familiar with using spreadsheets, click here for a rundown. You can create a simple spreadsheet on Excel, Google Sheets, Apple Sheets, and more!

Budget Planner – Budget planners are perfect for those of you who are most fond of notebooks, diaries, and journals. You can carry this planner wherever you go, but just be sure to keep it in a safe and private place to avoid disclosing your financial information to unwanted friends or foes. 

Budget planners come in the form of templates or notebooks, so you can decide which is best for you. Here are some cool, easy-to-use planners that are available for purchase:

How to Ask Your Parents to Help

The hardest part of getting your parents involved is not asking for help, but instead trying to do it all on your own, then hitting that potential road bump down the line, forcing them to get involved once the damage is done. 

Tell your parents what you plan to get out of budgeting and how you think it will benefit you over time. The guarantee is that they will want to help more than you envisioned, making the process a lot easier for you. Talk to grownups over dinner, on the weekend when it’s just you and them running errands or going to play tennis, or sitting down right before bedtime. The quiet one-on-one time is important so all messages are put across effectively, allowing you all to be on the same page. Remember, these are your parents, not the superpower-possessing life coach who decides your fate. Give it a go!

Budgeting Definitions

  • Budget: A plan for managing your money
  • Income: The money you receive from different sources 
  • Expense: Money spent on items or services
  • Savings: Money left over after all expenses are subtracted
  • Discount: To lower the amount of a bill, debt, or price

Books and Resources To Help You Budget

Here are some of our favorite books on budgeting. Head over to our kids’ money book collection for more great reads!

Financial Peace Junior Kit – Teaching kids foundational principles on winning with money. This kit includes four basic concepts: working, spending, saving, and giving. It also offers add-on sibling options and a bundle package that includes a storytime book set and a smart saver bank!

The Budgeting Bear Book – This friendly picture book gives financial budgeting advice through a money-savvy bears’ perspective who knows all about learning lessons from the past and forming new money habits.

Lights, Camera, Budget! Online Game – This online game is designed to help middle and high school students learn, study, and review financial literacy topics while also practicing their budgeting skills.

Budget Board Game – Players of this board game experience the realities of real-life economics as they buy a home or rent an apartment, pay insurance costs, make investments, buy groceries and clothing, repair fire damage, collect commissions, etc. If the budget projection is reasonably accurate, the player collects a bonus on payday! The winner is the player who has the greatest wealth at the end of play.

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About the Author

Christina Ezeagwuna

Christina is a professional writer with 7+ years in entrepreneurship, opening a rental baby furniture business in 2016 that she still runs today. Christina is a mom of three budding, financially savvy kids and works as a content manager for the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement.

Last updated on: March 27, 2022