“Do as I say, not as I do.”

Ever said that before?

Kids learn not only from hearing, but also by watching what their parents do. You might be surprised to find that your kids think some crazy things about money just by watching others.

Here are a few lessons you may not want to pass along:

Money really does grow on trees. Parents may tell their kids that money doesn’t grow on trees, but when kids get what they want without having to pay, it is probably a little confusing. Just a simple conversation about how everything in the store costs money could go a long way.

Cash is old school. If your kids see that everything you buy can be bought with a plastic card, it seems useless to them to learn to handle cash. Cash can be a great budgeting tool and could really help kids see that once it’s gone, it’s really gone.

We can always buy what we want when we want it. When kids see parents deciding to buy a bigger, better TV or a fancy new car at the drop of a hat, they may start to believe that planning and saving isn’t important. It’s important to show your kids how to get into the habit of saving for big purchases.

The ATM gives free money. Talking through the process of managing an account is an important step in learning financial basics. Kids have a tendency to believe the ATM is a free money machine or that plastic cards have endless amounts of money on them unless you teach them otherwise.

Water and power is free. Kids may have the idea that the power will always be on and the water will always run if they’ve never seen you pay the bills. This lesson can be a great time to encourage them to turn off lights they aren’t using or using less water in order to save money and resources.