When my kids were in 5th and 6th grade I was having a hard time getting them to understand that money doesn’t grow on trees.
One day I decided maybe if they could SEE the money they would better understand. So I cashed my paycheck into all one dollar bills. (FYI, call the bank ahead of time. They will appreciate it. Oops!) Anyway, I came home with quite the stack of one dollar bills.
Then I took each bill I had to pay and laid it out on the floor. Things I did not have an actual bill for I made a pretend bill, ie: food, fuel, entertainment... Then I called my kids into the front room.
I had them read each bill aloud, and the amount. We talked about what each bill was for such as T-Mobile was for our phone, and Dominion was for gas to keep the house warm/cool.
Don’t forget to make a bill for savings.
Then I took out the giant stack of $1 bills. Their eyes exploded. My son exclaimed “We are rich!” We talked about how many quarters in one dollar and what you could buy for one dollar. Next I had them “pay the bills” by counting out dollar bills in the amount we owed and placing them on top of each bill that needed to be paid.
Once all the bills were paid I had them count what was left. We had $14 left over. My son didn’t look nearly as excited as before. He looked at me and said “We aren’t rich are we Mom?” But I smiled and said, “Yes we are! Look at all the bills we were able to pay. We have a warm house, food, happy dogs and even pizza money. And after all that we even have $14 left over!”
I gave each kid $1 bill and told them to go “pay their bills.” They both ran and put them into their piggy banks. While it was a great exercise in money and math for my kids it was also a perfect reminder to me that I really am rich. I have two healthy kids, a warm house, happy dogs, pizza, and now I had $12 left over.
image courtesy of Sharon McCutcheon