Teaching Money

The kids know that I’m a closet economics geek.  But being an economics geek doesn’t help me since personal finance can be a world away from economics and that’s especially true for kids with minimal experience.  So I grab the opportunities to bring a point about savings and shopping home to them.

Tonight was a case in point.  We’re in a different state attending a family wedding when my wife asked that I somehow find her some decaffeinated Diet Coke.  Because we have a room refrigerator and are here for more than one night, it made more sense to go out for it.  Middle went along with me to a nearby Walmart for a twelve pack and asked why we didn’t just go to the vending machine instead?  This led to a conversation about the cost of a soda from a vending machine versus the per soda cost from a twelve pack.  In the hotel vending machine, a single soda is $1.25 while the cost per can in the twelve pack – not on sale – came to about $.33.

Do the math.  How much more expensive is it?  With twelve cans at that difference, how much would that be?  Most importantly, what else could you do with the money?  In Middle’s case, it’s about several comic books.

Much of being a father – parent, actually – revolves around talking and finding ways to shrink the wider world down to a kid’s viewpoint.  There are days that it seems that all I do is talk, and there are days when I tell the kids that I’ll get back to them once I figure out how to answer the question or discuss the issue.  And then, I have to make sure that I get back to it.

But look for the moments and grab them when you can.  What they learn most about money and finances is going to come from you.

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