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Money Management for Kids 101
I know, I know, somewhere buried not-too-very-far from the surface is my former self. My TEACHER self. The one that tends to find teachable moments everywhere and anywhere. And even though I don’t use those skills in a classroom these days, they are put to good use with my kids. Lily started Kindergarten last month and prior to her first day she already had a decent age-appropriate concept of money and telling time. At the ripe old age of 6 she already understands (not saying she likes it, but who does?) that both money and time are limited, always.
Some of the best lessons ever taught are those that make the learning come to life… the ones that make them really really REAL and that show real-life situations.
Last week we shopped half off day at the JBF sale. Lily is a consignment sale veteran at this point. She loves them! What’s not to love? Tons and tons and TONS of toys, books and movies… and she understands that the prices are decent enough that mom usually says, “YES” to buying at least something while we shop.
So for this sale, Bob and I decided to have a little (educational) fun with her. We told Lily that she was going to get to buy something at the sale. We reminded her that she had received $6 for her 6th birthday (get it?) from her Great Grandma. We told her that she could take that $6 to the sale and make a purchase. Then we challenged her to see how many things she could buy with that $6!
This lesson was multi-faceted. She was able to read the price tags on her own but since it was half off day, we had to help her to figure out what the new prices were. This was fairly easy for her to do with whole dollar amounts but the half dollar amounts were challenging. There was much back and forth and she hemmed and hawed over what she wanted to buy. Many things were picked up only to be put back down when she figured out the price or found something else that caught her eye.
I think she did pretty great! She learned early on that the tags with stars on them were still full price and she wasn’t willing to consider most full price items… except for one thing – a Frozen hat. For that hat she was willing to shell out face value. :D
Take a look at all of the treasures she came home with:
Minnie Mouse art supply travel organizer – $.50
Pack of animal cookie cutters for baking or Play-doh – $.75
Wizard of Oz witch doll – $.50
American Girl activity book – $.50
American Girl Julie activity book – $.75
Frozen winter hat – $2.50 (only full price item purchased)
Total spent: $5.50 (50 cents under budget!)
I really enjoyed watching her mind work as she shopped. Her money had value to her which is something that I think we sometimes take for granted thanks to credit cards, etc. She understood that she had to decide which items she wanted more than others. She had to compute (with some help) discounted prices to figure out what she could afford to buy.
Giving Lily this challenge took such little effort on our behalf. We simply incorporated the math lesson into our everyday lives.
How do you use everyday life to teach money skills to your kid(s)?