Fun Family Finances
Easy ways for students to pitch in and help their families spend less
PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12
There are many simple steps students can take to help their families spend less. And they might actually have some fun while doing it. After discussing money-saving tips in the classroom, encourage conversation at home with parents. Here are just some of the ways they can pitch in:
Encourage students to look around their homes. There are so many things plugged into the sockets: Lights, TVs, DVD players, video game consoles, computers, and much more. It can be their job to make sure everything is turned off when it’s not being used. By reducing power use, the electric bill will be lower. There is an added bonus to cutting electricity use: helping the environment! How? Oil and coal are used to produce electricity, and that creates pollution. By reducing electricity, we also reduce this sort of pollution.
Food prices rise each year. That’s no fun for parents when they go to the supermarket. Kids can help by becoming a bargain hunter. Before going food shopping, tell students to look through the advertisements from different supermarkets. They will see which store offers a lower price on items from the family's shopping list. There might also be coupons to clip. That’s a great way to save money. When at the supermarket, become a unit-price explorer. What is a unit-price? It’s simple — it’s the price for one unit (pound, gallon, ounce, etc.) of an item. The unit price is almost always listed on the little tag below an item on the supermarket shelves. Looking at the unit price is the best way to see if you’re getting a good deal. So, for each item looked for in the supermarket, see which brand and size has the lowest unit price. That one is the best bargain. Many times, the supermarket has its own brands. Remind students that while the package might not look as fancy, what’s inside is often just as good as a famous brand. And the price is usually much cheaper.
Taking the whole family to the movies can be super expensive. And that's before the cost of popcorn, candy, and sodas. Students can help plan a much cheaper Family Movie Night at home. Suggest students rent a DVD the whole family would like to see. (Better yet, borrow one from the local library for free). Microwave some popcorn, turn out the lights, and it’s show time. Wow, you just saved more electricity when you turned off the lights.
Dive Into the (Car)pool
Gas is expensive. Sure, kids still need to get around to team practices, rehearsals, scouts, and other after-school activities. But not every parent has to drive every day. Students can help organize a “carpool” with a few local friends, so parents can take turns driving kids to the event. Parents will spend less on gasoline, and once again, you’re helping the environment. (Cars create pollution, too).
Nix Text Tricks
Kids are bombarded with special offers for everything: ringtones, horoscopes, jokes of the day, videogames, text-message contests, and more. You can’t look at the Internet or turn on the TV without seeing one of these too-good-to-be-true offers. They usually really are too good to be true: There are often hidden fees or subscription costs. Avoid these offers, and save parents the surprise of huge charges on the cell phone bill.
This holiday season, suggest students exchange homemade gifts with their family members. It can be totally fun to make a gift, and they’ll remember it forever. Or, if they're buying gifts, have them agree to stick to a certain price limit. The holidays will still be happy, and more money will be saved for the New Year.
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