Kids and Credit Cards (The Magic Money)

Every child has wanted to help me ‘pay’ for groceries at the store. I say ‘pay;’ because I know a credit card does not actually purchase our milk, bread, and cereal. I know that piece of plastic will only work if there’s money to pay for it -even if it’s a tight month.


But do my kids know that?

I try to turn every moment into a learning one; to bring up Life Lessons when my boys are a captive audience in the car:

Driving a car is really fun, but it’s more expensive that many people think. I know I thought I’d just get a license and that was that; but there’s the cost of the car, then insurance…

When you boys grow up you’ll need to pick a career that pays for your lifestyle…

Make sure you treat the woman you marry well, and that she treats you well in return…

It wasn’t until I watched my children playing ‘Store’ that I realized they didn’t quite understand money. It wasn’t until I talked to them about “where Daddy goes” that I realized they didn’t understand a job. It wasn’t until I overheard one of them explaining how jobs make credit cards work that I realized they didn’t quite have the process right.


So that captive car lecture turned out as Dad goes to work all day. His company pays him every two weeks, but they put the money right into our bank account. Then, when we go to the store, the credit card takes some money out of our account to pay for the food. If we don’t have money in the bank, we can’t pay for the food.

I know; I know: credit works a little differently than that. As they get older, I’ll explain a few more details about birds and bees as needed. For now, the simple explanation should suffice.

The bonus part is that, when my kids get wide-eyed over impulse buys at the checkout, they now remember that candy bars have numbers printed next to them for a reason. Those numbers are a cost, and that cost is paid by Dad’s hard work.


Photo Credits:
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay
Image by Виктория Бородинова from Pixabay


©2019 Chelsea Owens

9 thoughts on “Kids and Credit Cards (The Magic Money)

  1. Good message. Right now Declan wants a toy really bad from the store and he keeps asking to see my card so he can see how much money the card is. He just stares at the card, but makes the assertion there is enough of the card to buy the toy. I’m going to have to use your tactics on him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😀 Try having him ‘earn’ money, and give him play money, then ‘buy’ something from you a few times.
      Or, actually pay him for little jobs.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I’m glad my 5 year old is really quick. After just a couple of discussions on why we couldn’t go to Disneyland 100 times in a year, he figured out daddy goes to work to make money so we can go, but it takes time. Now he’ll sometimes tell me he wants me to go to work so he can get something expensive, but, when I remind him it means he’ll be in school and then day care all day, he says, “That’s okay. You don’t have to work.” I’m kind of wondering what kind of employee he’ll be.

    Liked by 1 person

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