money inside a glass jar
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There are many different aspects of money management you can & should tell your children about, especially your ASD children (depending on where they are on the spectrum). Most autistic children don’t have a firm grasp of how to spend money and/or the proper change as well. Here I will share what I believe are seven of the most important principles.

  1. Money can be exchanged for goods or services. This is one of the first few lessons you should teach your child once they are old enough to understand – usually around the age of 8 years(this concept would probably be a bit later in an ASD child that is a bit lower on the spectrum, but make it work for you and your situation). Next time you go down to the store to purchase anything, let your ASD child hand the money to the cashier. This will help your young ASD child gain a better appreciation of the concept of being able to exchange money for things you may want or need.

2. One should be careful with money.
Some people I know, seem to think that any coins with a value under 50 cents are just too small to be bothered using, and so when cleaning out their loose change from around the house will simply throw these smaller coins in the bin. What a waste! Encourage your ASD child to be careful with all denominations of money and show them how small coins can add up, by starting a family small coins box. Maybe you could use the money to fund small family outings (like a trip to Dairy Queen to get ice cream).

3. Money has to be earned. Unfortunately, there are lots of people in the world that have not learned this lesson yet. They sit at home and expect handouts so they can live or turn to a life of crime just to fund their existence. Be careful not to give your ASD child money every time he or she asks, without expecting anything in return i.e., completion of household chores.

4. Avoid borrowing money wherever possible.
It is so much harder to repay money back that has been borrowed, than saving your money. Some loans, such as home loans, tend to be unavoidable though. A good rule of thumb is if you don’t have the cash to buy it, you can’t afford it!

two ice cream cups
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5. Money isn’t your best friend so don’t let it control your life. Quite simply, try not to become so over committed with finances, that you are forced to work 60 to 70 hours a week to continue the lifestyle. If you do, then you are letting the money control your life. You don’t usually need the fancy car (and car loan) or holiday pay (and personal loan). All these things are nice, but only if you can easily afford them!

6. Show Your ASD Kids How to Live Within their Means.
This is one of the most important skills that your child(ren) must know, that so many people just don’t seem to know how to do. Recent surveys have shown that people are spending 10% to 20% above what they earn. They are earning enough money to fund their lifestyle, but they simply aren’t budgeting for it, then in turn wasting large amounts of money.

With these six life lessons under their belt, they will be off to a great start, but there are many more money skills that your ASD child could benefit enormously from learning.