Tis the season to SPEND MONEY. November and December are two of the most stressful months of the year. Although you would love to blame it on family commitments or work obligations, it really comes down to the COST of the season. Each year the holidays seem to become more and more commercialized. Instead of finding one special, heartfelt present to show your loved one how you feel about them, the trend moves towards more expensive and superficial presents. When your children are wishing for the latest gaming system (Approx $400) and your other son is expecting a new computer ($500+) how do you stay on budget and make sure everyone’s happy Christmas morning. Although, I love seeing the joy on my children’s faces on Christmas morning, there has to be a better way to do it then with a large credit card debt.
Give the Gift of Financial Literacy
Financial literacy is the ability to use knowledge and skills to make informed financial decisions. From every day skills such as learning how to save for that much anticipated video game to balancing their incoming and outgoing money, kids need to learn how to manage their money. Many college grads graduate with Masters and Bachelor Degrees, but when it comes to balancing their paycheck, they often struggle. Teaching your children now how to manage money will set them up with a valuable skill that they will use for the rest of their life.
How to teach kids about Financial Literacy
- You need to see it to believe it – Piggy banks are a great way to save money, but it doesn’t give you a visual representation of what you have accomplished. By using something as simple as a glass jar, your child will actually ‘see’ the growth they make.
- Lead by Good Example – Children are always watching what their parents are doing, whether they appear to or not. If you are always purchasing things on your credit card, then arguing with your spouse at the end of the month about having no money, they aren’t learning the lessons they need to. Try including them in money decisions such as grocery shopping. Give them a budget for a meal and have them look around the store for the ingredients. You can discuss the differences between no name and branded products and how to spot a sale.
- Encourage Long Term Goal Setting – Have your child decided on a toy or game they want that will take time to earn. Create a bar graph and help them keep track of money coming in (birthdays, allowances, etc.). Allow them to see that if they give up small things (like treats and small toys), they can achieve their big goal faster.
- See if they can Survive the Financial Wild – Northern Credit Union has been one of the leading advocates of financial literacy for its members and the public since 1957. They realize that there is a large gap in literacy education when it comes to money. To help out they paired up with the Sault Ste. Marie hometown curling heroes, TEAM JACOBS, and have unveiled a financial literacy initiative for grades nine and ten students in Northern’s region. The goal is teach children the importance of financial literacy. Through this initiative, a financial literacy tool kit, delivered to schools across Ontario that includes a board-game version of Surviving the Financial Wild, Financial Survival Guidebooks, and financial trivia questions to help teach students the principles of financial literacy.
Surviving the Financial Wild -help students learn and navigate personal financial challenges and opportunities. Through a series of timed multiple choice questions, students will learn financial terms and what they mean. The faster you answer the question right, the more coins you get as your navigate through the game board. The questions covers a wide arrangement of topics from investments to mortgages to budgeting and debt. The end goal is to eventually earn enough points to be a Money Master (2960-3700). They have also launched a financial literacy website with videos and other resources to help students and teachers alike learn how to succeed.
During this financial literacy initiative, three students and their respective schools, will win prizes from Northern (a $250 gift card for each winning student, and $2,000 for each of the winners’ schools). To enter, students simply play the Surviving the Wild online game and their names will be entered in a random draw at the end of the month.
Can you survive the Financial Wild?