Learning how to read a menu and deciding what to order can be a great way to teach your kids & teens about financial literacy without them even realizing they are learning a skill they will use throughout their lives.
It is always fun to go out to eat, so we are bringing that same fun into this Mindful Menu Activity.
You will first want to find a menu to work with. You can do a Google search for menu and view the images for some great examples.
Next decide what you would set for a budget if you were going to that restaurant. Would it be an individual or group budget? This is a good way to talk about how you can get separate checks when dining with friends.
Once you have your budget in mind have them start looking at the menu. Talk about all of their options…appetizers, main meal and of course dessert. With the budget they have can they afford to get all three options or do they need to narrow it down? What about their beverage option…would water be a good idea if their budget is a small one?
When they decide what they would order make sure to talk about tax if needed as well as what a tip is and how they should take these items into consideration when budgeting their amounts.
Have some conversations about how you might have a lower budget for some outings and how you might want to splurge a little if they can afford it at other times such as a birthday dinner. After going through this activity a few times it might be a good idea to set a budget and have your child use their knowledge at your next restaurant visit. They could either bring money they have saved up to the restaurant or maybe you could set the budget for them and give them their “allotted” amount to pay for their meal on their own. Real life experiences are always a great way to teach your kids & teens about financial literacy.
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