It’s no surprise that one in five American teens lack basic financial literacy skills – and considering that only 17 states across the nation mandate personal finance courses in schools, it’s up to parents to ensure their children understand how to properly manage their finances.*
This year, take charge when preparing to send your children back to school and make talking to them about money matters as much of a household priority as any back-to-school checklist item. This time of year is ripe with reasons to talk about personal finance, so be sure to take advantage of the opportunities when they arise.
Here is a way to incorporate finances into activities you and your child(ren) will probably already be doing together to prepare to go back to school:
Make a back-to-school supplies list. Use the list your child’s school provides and add other items you know they’ll need to create a master back-to-school list. Help your child guess how much each item costs and then look up the real costs and compare.
Make an inventory of what you already have. Decide from your list what you already have and what you’ll need to buy. Deduct the costs of what you have (and what you’ll save) from your list.
Set a budget. Determine how much you can spend for the items on your list you’ll need to purchase. Let your child know the money has to come from somewhere, so if you are moving money from your regular household budget to cover back-to-school necessities, don’t keep them in the dark.
Go shopping and save. Take your list to the store (or to the internet) and let your child help select items with the goal of saving the most money. Once you’ve crossed all the items of your list, buy your child a special treat with whatever money you’ve saved and pat yourself on the back for imparting a crucial money lesson they probably wouldn’t have learned in school.
BusinessInsider.com, “Financial Literacy is a Basic Life Skill,” April 20, 2018