Use these engaging activities to help your middle schooler establish and maintain financial goals that will help them now and in the future.
May 19 20206 minute read
More and more, your young teenager wants to figure things out on their own. They are leading busy lives, starting to earn their first income and wanting to become more self-sufficient when it comes to managing their money. So, it’s even more important to help your middle schooler establish and maintain financial goals that can help them now and as they progress towards long-term financial success.
Start with these engaging activities that can be done at home
Learning how to spend and when to save – the 20% rule
Budgeting is a core financial literacy skill, and it’s a skill that middle-school-aged kids can immediately put into practice. Start with a pen and paper or a spreadsheet program.
Design 4 columns.
In the first column, have your young teenager write down or enter the money they make in a given month. For example: money earned from employment, babysitting or allowance.
The second column should be filled with all their fixed expenses like their cell phone, transit fare or streaming service.
In the third column, have them write down or enter their discretionary expenses; those “want” purchases such as the latest online game or designer hoodie.
Finally, have them calculate how much money they have left over after subtracting their fixed and discretionary expenses from their income and put the result of this calculation in the fourth column.
Your young teen should be aiming to save at least 20% of their income. If they are saving less, ask them to look at their discretionary expenses to see what could be reduced to hit their goal.
It’s important for middle schoolers to learn that saving isn’t a chore. Rather, saving gives them money to make large purchases they otherwise couldn’t afford. Sticking to the 20% savings rule will help them achieve their ambitions.
Help accelerate savings
Saving $200 can seem like an insurmountable obstacle to a young teen who gets a small allowance each week. Keep them motivated and focused on saving for longer-term goals by offering a matching grant for certain purchases if they can tell you why a particular purchase is important to them and good for the family. This is good practice for the day when they want to save for a down payment for a major purchase, like their first car.
Online research – comparing prices
An effective way to teach your son or daughter about the value of money and the cost of purchases is to help them understand through online research.
Choose an item; it can be something large like a laptop or something small like toothpaste.
Ask your child how expensive they think that item would be to purchase.
Then ask them to research the item online and find 3 different sellers of the item. Look at whether the prices or service options are different.
Together, discuss whether the original assumption of cost was correct and how prices online can fluctuate depending on the design, make or model of the item they choose.
Use this opportunity to explain to your child why some things are worth buying and others aren’t. Suggest that it’s good practice to research 3 cost options and compare prices when looking to purchase an item.
For more financial literacy games and activities for children of all ages, visit Financial Education
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