Think back to your math class days. Remember that moment when you threw back your head and exclaimed, “Why do I need to learn this? When will I ever use this in the real world?” Today, let’s talk about the ultimate real-world math skill – using money responsibly and effectively. Whether your kids are in Kindergarten or about to graduate, teaching age-appropriate money-management lessons will keep them engaged with math while preparing them for adulthood.
BUDGETING FOR ALL AGES
Making a budget, and planning how to make enough money to stick to it, is a great math lesson.
- For younger kids, brainstorm the things they’d like to spend and save on, from money for Christmas presents and tithing to saving up for a trip to the theme park.
- Older kids might budget for their cell phone, gas, clothes or, if they are really ambitious, their future college textbooks.
- Once they’ve created their list, have them add it up and divide the result to see how much money they’ll need to earn every month, week or day.
Once the budget is in place, put it into action.
- Help younger kids deposit cash from gifts at an ATM and directly transfer allowance/chores money into their Start Young account at ECCU.
- Bank side-by-side using the app and allow them to see how their balance grows and changes as they deposit and withdraw money.
- Older kids can use their debit card to pay expenses and even set up direct bill pay from their Start Young accounts.
- Make sure you check in regularly to make sure they’re sticking with the budget.
REAL WORLD SOLUTIONS
Money math lessons shouldn’t be confined to the classroom, so include your children in your financial life.
From simple counting and addition to division and fractions, money management and budgeting is a perfect way to teach basic math.
- If you use a card to pay, look over the receipt and ask them how many bills and coins they would need to pay the same amount.
- Share your budgeting decisions at the grocery store. Teach them to compare the price per unit on price tags and ask them to recommend the best deal.
- Use “fun” purchases to teach. If they want a particular toy, set a date to buy it. Offer them options to earn and/or save the money and help them deposit it in their Start Young account. Check their account regularly, and help them calculate how much more money they’ll need to save.
As your kid’s math skills improve, money lessons can be more complex. Their future credit score will thank you!
- If you’re financing a purchase, bring them into the process. Have them calculate how much interest you’ll pay on a large purchase like a car.
- Help them calculate compounding interest. How much can they earn with the money in their Start Young savings account?
- Teach taxes. If they have a part-time job, examine their pay stub and have them calculate their effective tax rate. If they don’t, turn doing your family’s taxes into an epic math lesson!
Teaching money management in both math class and the real world is a surefire way to keep your child’s interest. There is no substitute for hands-on experience, which is why a Start Young account is the perfect way to prepare them for a financially literate, responsible adulthood.
Want more ideas for money-based math lessons? Check out the ECCU Blog.
To open a Start Young account for your children, visit: ECCU.org/Start-Young
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