Shopping and Money Sense – Blog Blast

23 Aug

This weekend’s Parent Bloggers Network blog blast asks the question:  How can we teach our kids fiscal responsibility while shopping for school?

Since we homeschool, we don’t have to worry about “school clothes” or – luckily for me! – “cool clothes.”  Both kids are perfectly happy with our regular mix of hand-me-downs, thrift store purchases, and a few special new pieces.  I don’t feel any pressure at all to be buying a whole bunch of new clothes in August – I raid my storage closet to see what I have put away for this fall, and pick up a few bits here and there to fill out their dressers, but with no pressing September deadline.

We do use the school supply specials to talk about saving money, though.  We look in the ads and hit our favorite stores for 25 cent crayons and glue or 1 cent folders and pencils, and talk about how much money we are saving by buying crayons now and pulling them out all year as we need them.  We talk about why all these other people suddenly need crayons and glue and pencils, and how the stores discount a few items, hoping to get lots of shoppers there who will buy regularly-priced items as well.

The most interesting money-sense learning we’ve been doing this year is giving JediBoy an allowance of $7 a week (because he’s 7), which he splits into Spend, Save and Give accounts in his bank book.  At least $1 has to go into each account, but he can decide how to split it up.  Most weeks he has put $4 in Spend, $2 in Save and $1 in Give.

He can spend from his Spend account anytime, anywhere, on anything.  It has helped him to start to understand that although the dollar store toys or checkout-aisle treats are very tempting, they’re really not worth it.  He quickly started being more picky about his Spend account, and last week he bought a $25 Lego set (he just couldn’t resist that Lego Tauntaun!).

If he wants to spend his Save money, he has to give us one week’s notice for the item he wants to buy.  For our part, we give him 10% interest compounded weekly.  It’s our hope that over the year he realizes how valuable that interest can be, and that he starts to put a greater share of his money into that Save account.  It has also been a great lesson in computing percentages, of course!

The Give money can be used any time, for any giving reason – a charity request, the Salvation Army bell-ringer, a friend’s birthday present, or anything else he can think up.

There are tons more ideas about teaching fiscal responsibility at this time of year – you’ll be able to find a list of Blog Blast posts over at the Parent Bloggers Network site.  You can also find lots of great tools and lessons online, including at the MoneyWise learning tool, which is aimed mostly at adults but includes a section on teaching kids about responsibility.

One Response to “Shopping and Money Sense – Blog Blast”

  1. Amanda Rush August 28, 2009 at 6:58 am #

    Shopping and saving money are the exact opposites but it is kind of ironic to think that you can save on shopping. Ironic but true.

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