I have two children that were getting ready for Back to School. New clothes, shoes and school supplies were needed to start the new school year off right. As many parents know, Back to School shopping can be expensive, so we decided to budget this year.
When my kids were younger, I would do all the shopping for them, but this year I decided it would be smart to start teaching my kids in a more hands on way. Both my children were given $150 budget to use for their Back to School shopping. The initial reaction from both of my children was excitement that they were being put in charge of spending their own money this year.
I decided to take each child out on their own shopping day. They were handed their $150 in cash and I reminded of the items that they had to buy. The each chose out the mandatory school supplies – pencils, binders, rulers, glue and so on. Once all items were in the cart, we were ready for checkout. Both children were in charge of their money – which included going through the checkout line. They would have to count out their money and get their own change. That way they would know first hand how much money they had spent and how much money was left. Once the supply shopping was done, we headed off to stores to purchase clothing.
Shopping with my son was easy. He quickly chose out shirts, pants and shoes that he wanted. We added up the totals before going to the register to make sure that he would have enough money to pay for all the items he had chose. He ended up staying $20 under budget and was able to keep the extra money for a future purchase.
My daughter was a little more difficult. Being a tween, her fashion wants are more pricey. She started out shopping thinking she wanted an $80 pair of shoes. Once she realized how quickly that was going to deplete her budget – her priorities changed. After several hours and several stores later the purchases were finally done. She ended up spending her entire budget.
After shopping and handling money all day, she mentioned in the car “I’m only going to have 1 kid when I grow up” I asked her why, and she responded “Because kids are EXPENSIVE”
That’s when I realized that my budget shopping had actually worked. The light went on, and she realized first hand how expensive things really are and how to be effective in making smart decisions.
I’m glad that my kids can grasp the concept and realize how purchases quickly add up and how much things actually cost. It was a Budget Back to School that worked out really well for our family.
Try teaching your kids how to budget! It’s a life long skill that can really help your kids.
Do you have ways you teach your kids how to use money and budget? If so, I’d love to hear about it.