Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Money, Money, Money: Using Gift Cards to Teach Money Management

The boys were all very happy when I discovered they each had a $25 gift card to Toys R Us that they had gotten for Christmas and we had never used.  I promised if they were good at the store while I was running errands we could stop at Toys R Us on the way home. 


   
I think I have to buy gift cards for the kids more often.  Not only were they very well behaved, but every time they asked for something at any store I was able to say "oh, maybe that's something you can buy at Toys R Us with your gift card then."

They all learned such great lessons today!:

  • How to budget their money
  • To look for sales and coupons
  • To prioritize what they wanted
  • Comparing prices
  • Evaluating choices and making good decisions

We did have a long talk on the way to the toy store that they had $25 only and had to be sure to spend a little less than $25 so that they would have enough money left of the gift card for tax too.

I also reminded them that it's a good idea to think about how long and how often they'll play with whatever they pick out.

But I did promise not to tell them they couldn't buy something they had enough money for.  It is their money to spend how they want. 
    
They all wanted Lego's so that's the first isle we went to.

 I had cautioned them that Lego's were very expensive and they might not be able to buy much; they were so disappointed to see what tiny sets were available and balked at the idea of only getting one small set and already being out of money.

By the end of the first isle they were grumbling that toys were very expensive and that $25 doesn't buy you very much.  I couldn't argue!

They're completely right, but I thought it was a great lesson!

 I explained that there are many things I'd like to have too, but that we always have to make choices.  We don't have an endless supply of money and so it's best to think about how you can get the most for your money.

Ian was very excited when he found a Beyblade that was on clearance for only $5 when it would normally have been $20!  That allowed him to buy a large pack of Pokemon cards and a candy bar too.

Evan decided on a small pack of Lego's and a stuffed animal.

Alec had the hardest time deciding; he always has a hard time making choices.  He thinks long and hard about everything.  He was debating between two very large Pokemon packs that came with a mini figure too.  He was the only one who seemed genuinely sad he didn't have enough money to buy both sets.  The other two were disappointed when they couldn't buy their absolute favorite toy in the store too but they soon focused on what they could buy and were happy with what they got.

I'm not sure how to help Alec focus on what he has rather than what he left behind, but I did tell him I thought he should be happy and grateful he was able to buy anything at all.   Unfortunately, that didn't seem to faze him. 
     
 Once home Alec helped Evan put his Lego set together and then all the boys battled Beyblades so Ian could use his new one.  Ian was very excited when he won!


These small lessons add up to great money management lessons!

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10 comments :

  1. Good idea.... and so important, especially in these times of such easy credit....

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    1. We talk a lot about credit cards, mortgages, and buying on credit. I love finding simple lessons that help them learn to budget and learn to live on what they have.

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  2. Thank you for sharing this post at the #WednesdayAIM #LinkUp #BlogParty. I shared it on social media.

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    1. Thanks for hosting and thanks for the share.

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  3. I loved this post! Especially when they realized toys are very expensive and $25 doesn't go very far. What a brilliant idea! Thank you for sharing.

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  4. Just shared this on Twitter but couldn't find you there. Are you on Twitter?

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