Money matters are increasingly being discussed in front of children
Children in England are to have lessons in how to manage their finances, under a new £11.5m government scheme.
The My Money programme will be rolled out to primary and secondary school pupils, covering topics such as how money is used and debt.
The Personal Finance Education Group charity is leading the programme.
A survey it commissioned to mark the launch suggests children are becoming more aware of the credit crunch as parents discuss finances more openly.
The Populus poll of 1,000 parents and children, aged seven to 15, at the end of August found 70% were discussing money more than at the same time last year.
A third of families had opted not to take a holiday this year and 62% had stopped having takeaways and meals out.
A third of parents (36%) had already switched to doing their weekly shopping at a value supermarket, with a further 19% planning to do so in the future.
Over half (56%) had stopped trips to the cinema and other entertainment-related trips.
The increase in conversations about money at home was often taking parents into new territory.
More than three-quarters (77%) said they would normally try to avoid exposing their children to money concerns.
Almost a third (30%) avoided the topic of money at home and a quarter of these said that was because childhood should be a carefree time.
Speaking ahead of the launch of My Money, Mr Balls said: "Financial capability education has always been high on the government's agenda.
"This research demonstrates that it is more crucial than ever that young people are fully equipped with the confidence, skills and knowledge to manage their money effectively both now and when they become adults."
Chief executive of the Personal Finance Education Group Wendy van den Hende said: "The spending changes that many families are making can actually provide an opportunity to get conversations started at home and talk about practical ways of managing money.
"Delivering money lessons with real-life relevance is central to the My Money financial education programme launching today."
The My Money programme is in its research phase and is currently making an audit of what aspects of finance are currently covered in schools.
Similar lessons will be introduced to schools across Scotland from next year, as part of the Scottish Government's Curriculum for Excellence programme.