It’s that time of the year again when we focus on getting our kids back into the swing of school, learning, schedules and structure after yet another crazy busy summer has gone by way to fast. What a better time for your kids to use this opportunity to learn about finances as well. Financial Adventure’s Back To School Activity will have your kids learning about budgeting, cutting costs, saving and sharing.
Whether your kids are going back to school, you are homeschooling or utilizing online school, there are always new supplies, clothes and other items to purchase for the new school year. For this Back To School Activity take a look at the items you have yet to purchase and let your kids handle some of the purchases. This might seem a bit intimidating for you at first, but you can do as many or as few items as you would like. Younger kids may only need one or two items for this activity, while older kids could try to do most of the purchasing to help get them ready for the real world in their near future.
After you decide which items you would like your kids to take over purchasing, set a budget for those items. Have a discussion with your kids about how you would like them to purchase their items with money you give to them and how important it is to stay within the set budget. If possible try to let your kids use cash when they make their purchases. Using cash really helps kids to visualize exactly how much they have to spend and what is left after making their purchases.
Put a fun spin on this activity by letting your kids keep any additional money they don’t spend, but do enforce they are required get all the items you’ve selected. This will really get them thinking about the quality or brand of items they are purchasing. Are they looking for sales? Did they buy in bulk and share with a sibling or friend if possible? Did they do trade-offs by purchasing an item less expensive so they could put more money toward another more expensive item? Did they even have an item from last year that would work perfectly fine for this year?
It’s fun to see how opinions change when kids are in charge of how to spend money…especially if they are able to keep any remaining funds. When the purchases are done be sure to have a conversation about how their shopping spree went. If they have money left over, what will they do with it? Talk about other ways they could have done their shopping, and always remember that now is the best time to start teaching your kids about money. Don’t worry if they are making wrong decisions – help them to see how they could have made a better decision whenever possible. It is much easier to let them learn from these actions now when there is not much money at risk than later in life when the consequences are much greater.
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