Money doesn’t grow on trees. It is a phrase many adults say to let kids know that money requires effort. The sooner this concept is introduced to your students, the better. Education about finances are ever growing and can be incorporated into their daily life. Lessons on money can be fun especially if you turn it into a game or an activity. Students may not be aware that you are teaching especially if it is entertaining.
Shopping is the best place to start teaching children about money and financial stability. Students shop with their parents, for themselves, and at school. (i.e., lunch and book fairs)
One concept to instill is “needs” versus “wants”. Many students are highly attracted to social media, marketing ads, and Tik Tok. Everything looks good so they “want” it. While shopping at a grocery or clothing store, explain how the choices you make affect your finances. Educate and explain they may “want” the new Jordans, but they may only have enough to buy a shoe they “need.” They may “want” ice cream, but they “need” to only buy eggs, bread, and meat. Some items are needed to live while others can wait to be purchased at a later date.
While shopping, teach students how to compare labels and learn the value of a dollar. For sure, the name brand package looks impressive and everyone wants them, but the store brand is sold at a lesser price and better value sometimes. Have them compare pricing at different stores to see how much money they are able to save, then give them a small reward for their hard work. These lessons can be taught in an actual store or online.
Lastly, be sure to explain the difference between shopping with cash versus a card whether debit or credit. They should learn early on that the card being used to make purchases is not “free money”. If it is a debit card, it is money coming from their account and if it is a credit card, it has to be repaid. All three ways of handling money (cash, debit, or credit) should be tracked and budgeted to learn good financial responsibility.
The overall goal is to help kids understand that money doesn’t grow on trees so you have to manage it carefully. Teaching good money habits is a start to becoming financially free adults!