Budgeting… is that a bad word?  It might seem like that to some of us, but it certainly comes in handy when we stick to a budget.  Budgets help limit impulse shopping and teach us self-control.  Children can understand spending too.

Playing with pretend money is usually fun for kids.  One of my favorite quotes from my 7-year-old was, “Dad, did you know five $20 bills makes $100? Do you know how I knew that?  Monopoly!”

I hope we can give kids more opportunity to play with money and give them a hands-on experience of budgeting.  Here are a few ways kids can use budgets…

  • Kids get to earn play money based on task performances in the classroom or turning in homework.  They can use their money in a classroom store or auction.
  • Play pretend restaurant where the kids have a certain amount of money to pay for meals for the group.  Can they stay within their budget?
  • Plan a grocery store trip with a list of items to buy to prepare a meal.  How much does each serving of the meal cost?  What it a good price?  How does that compare if you went out to a restaurant and got the same type of food?
  • Have the kids realize how much basic bills take away from free spending.  Give the children the amount of play money they might typically earn as a working adult in your area.  Have them pay the monthly bills (rent/mortgage, utilities, clothes, food, car payments, etc.) and see how much money is left over for spending on other things.  This was eye-opening for my own kids when I did this with them.
How do you teach budgeting?  Is it ever taught in school anymore?

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