Parents play a crucial role in helping their children develop healthy saving and spending habits. In this blog post, we’ll explore a question from a concerned parent about striking a balance between allowing their 15-year-old daughter to make her own spending decisions and instilling healthy financial habits. Drawing from personal experiences and practical advice, we’ll delve into the power of experiencing the internal battle of money choices, the importance of delayed gratification, and effective strategies for guiding children towards a healthy relationship with money.

Kids & Spending Habits

One of my Inner Circle members wrote to me asking for advice on how to help her daughter develop healthy spending habits:

“My 15 year old daughter is starting her very first job this summer. She wants to use the money for back to school clothes but I want her to start practicing healthy saving/spending habits. What advice would you give a 15 year old girl who just wants the cute $90 jeans?”

Here’s my advice:

  1. Let Your Daughter Work for Her Money: Encourage your daughter to take up a summer job or do chores to earn money. This empowers her to take ownership of her earnings and understand the value of money.
  2. Set a Budget and Initiate Conversations: Establish a budget for back-to-school clothes and engage in conversations with your daughter about her options. Encourage her to consider factors like quality, price, and personal preferences. These discussions help develop her critical thinking and decision-making skills.
  3. Teach Savings Goals and Budgeting: Assist your daughter in setting savings goals and creating a budget or spending plan. This enables her to prioritize her spending and understand that she can’t have everything. Explain that a budget is a tool for making intentional decisions about money allocation.
  4. Experience Delayed Gratification: Encourage your daughter to practice delayed gratification by waiting and saving for something she truly wants. Help her understand that immediate purchases may not bring long-term satisfaction. By cultivating this skill, she’ll be better equipped to make informed choices and avoid impulsive spending or accumulating debt.
A mother and two children online shopping

Using Tools like Green Light

Introducing your child to tools like Green Light, a debit card system for kids, can greatly aid in money management. Platforms like Green Light allow parents to assign tasks and pay their children for completing them, providing a tangible experience of earning, spending, and saving money. Teach them to allocate percentages of their earnings to spending, saving, and giving, fostering well-rounded financial habits.

Teaching Phases and Setting Realistic Goals

Breaking down savings goals into phases makes them more manageable and achievable. The author suggests using their own child’s goal of buying a gaming computer as an example. By researching affordable options, comparing prices, and prioritizing essential components, such as purchasing a monitor and essential accessories first, children learn to make informed decisions and prioritize their spending.

Responding with Empathy and Building Financial Foundations

As children navigate their own money choices, it’s crucial for parents to respond with empathy. Mistakes and regrets are part of the learning process, and these situations provide an opportunity for open conversations about financial decisions. By providing guidance and understanding, parents can help their children develop a strong financial foundation for the future.


Helping children develop healthy saving and spending habits is a vital aspect of parenting. By allowing them to experience the internal battle of money choices, teaching delayed gratification, and providing guidance and support, parents can empower their children with essential financial skills. Remember that mistakes are part of the learning process, and by responding with empathy and understanding, parents can set their children on a path towards financial wellness.