Children learn best from example — and financial lessons are no exception to the rule. Even if your own money habits have not been the best, it's never too late to start educating your children (and yourself!) about money. You can use your own habits as the conversation starter — and begin learning better financial habits alongside your children.

Get the Kids Involved

Whenever possible, get the kids involved with household activities and family finances. Use your grocery shopping as an opportunity to teach about planning: from deciding what meals to prepare to coupons and sale items — grocery shopping offers a number of educational opportunities that will help your children understand money better.

If you're planning a beef dish for Tuesday night's dinner, why wouldn't you choose the store brand whole boneless NY strip steak on sale for $4.99 a pound over the fancy strip steaks at regular price for $7.99 a pound?

Give Children an Allowance

As your children get older, you may begin to feel like their personal ATM. If you find your kids holding out their hands for cash for snacks, school activities, CDs, movies or other activities regularly, it may be time for an allowance.

Some financial experts recommend starting the allowance amount at $1 per year of age per week — and then adjusting the amount based on your unique situation and child. You can offer allowance every week, or give it in exchange for helping with household chores and responsibilities. Many families require their children do some chores without payment to make sure they understand the need for everyone to contribute to the household, while other families assign specific earnings to each household chore and add up what the child completed each week to calculate their allowance. The method you use to calculate the amount of the allowance and how it is distributed is a personal family choice — but the goal is to use the allowance to show your children how to manage their “income.”

Teach Saving

One of the most effective financial lessons for children is to teach them how to save a portion of all money they receive — whether the money comes from gifts or allowance. You can decide whether or not to introduce different types of savings: perhaps a short-term savings that children can use to purchase items they want (a new video game, for example) or a long-term savings that is to be used for a teenager's first car.

As adults, one of the more common financial mistakes is living beyond our means. Our expenses increase in proportion with the amount of money we earn — and many of us never learn to save a percentage of all income that comes in, leaving us without an emergency fund or access to cash when needed because we live paycheck to paycheck. Teaching children to save a percentage of all incoming money from a young age will make it a habit they continue into their adult years.