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Kids back to school? Introduce money lessons

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Aug. 24, 2016

It’s that time of year, when activities pick up and homework kicks in. In between the hustle and bustle of the new school season, why not initiate conversations with the kids in your life about how money works?

“Kids need to have some form of economic and personal finance understanding, they need a foundation for future money lessons,” said Melissa Libert, Financial Education Program Manager at COUNTRY Financial. “In the midst of all their other learning and extracurricular activities, why not pull money into the mix?”

Financial lessons in the classroom and beyond

No matter their age or grade level, different levels of money lessons can be introduced and shared. One way that can be done is through curriculum from our partner organization, Financial Beginnings. It’s a group geared toward increasing the financial literacy of youth and young adults. They educate young people using COUNTRY Financial sponsored materials that can be ordered online from our website, for free to be used in classrooms, by youth groups and more.

No time for workbooks?

If you’re too swamped to take on another workbook, don’t sweat it. Just start a conversation with your kids about money, keep it simple and casual.

The following are themes you can use to get the conversation going:

Travel agent in training: Encourage your kids to plan a weekend family outing. Help them set a budget and guidelines. Then work with your kids to execute their plan within the budget provided (e.g., pay for gas, purchase tickets, food, etc.) for the day and help them keep track of expenses along the way.

To market with money: During your weekly trips to the grocery store, set aside a small budget just for your child. Encourage them to pick out something new and healthy to try. Use dollars and coins for the sales transaction and let them count out the money needed to cover the cost.

Chef du jour: Let your kids be executive chefs! Help them set a budget for a home cooked meal, select a menu and grocery list and then shop for ingredients. Guide them in the measuring and counting process as they prepare a one-of-a-kind family meal.

Save for a rainy day: Inspire your kids to save their pennies. Track their growing pool of coins on a chart inside your home. Offer them an incentive, consider matching whatever they save.

“Without even the smallest grasp of these concepts, kids become at risk of failing to fully participate in their financial health, and of being easily overwhelmed by the complexities of today’s economy,” said Melody Bell, Executive Director at Financial Beginnings. “It’s crucial they learn early on how money comes and goes in their household.” 

Keep the learning going with these easy ideas and you’re sure to have a money smart kid on your hands in no time! To order free materials to help inspire and guide lessons, head to In the meantime, follow other personal finance topics COUNTRY Financial is covering by heading to Twitter @helloCOUNTRY.