It’s a great idea to teach your children to budget, but if all your children ever do is use a pencil and paper, they won’t get any practical experience. For practical experience managing money, have them purchase the food and prepare a meal.
Start by setting a budget for the family meal, so $10 or $20, or whatever is appropriate for your size family. A Saturday night meal may work best. On Friday night your kids can decide what the meal will be, and then on Saturday you can take them shopping for the food. If they wanted steaks for everyone, they will blow their budget very quickly.
Everything for the meal should be included: the main meal, the side dishes, the desert, and even the drinks. Can they buy the meal within budget?
If they are successful, as a reward on the following Saturday take them out for dinner to a restaurant. Once they know that a meal can be prepared at home for $10, they will realize why you don’t go to a restaurant every night for $100! It’s a great life lesson.
You may also find that your children are much more willing to have “macaroni and cheese” day every Tuesday night to keep the food budget reasonable. They may even be willing to help plan and work in the family garden. It will save money, and it’s a lot easier to get children to eat their vegetables when they were the ones that had to work to grow them.
Set a goal that the first Saturday night of every month, or whatever day each month you want to pick, is “children plan, buy and prepare the meal night.”