Category: Teach Money

Classroom expenses got you down?

Are Out-of-Pocket Classroom Expenses Dragging You Down? A Helping Hand May Be Just a Click Away

You Get Out of It What You Put Into It

Keeping your body in shape and keeping your personal budget in shape have a couple of things in common. Both are a struggle to stay on top of, and both are a matter of input and output. If you want a lean body, cut back on the food and crank up the exercise. If you want a fat wallet, increase the revenue and decrease the expenses. It’s pretty simple math.

While physical fitness is more a matter of willpower, fiscal fitness is another issue. It’s one thing to say no to the Krispy Kremes in the lounge and say yes to a stop at the gym (in spite of the stack of ungraded papers on the passenger seat), but when times are tight, you can’t just say no to your bills, and simply saying “Yes, please!” to more money doesn’t mean it’s going to show up in your account.

It helps when you don’t have to go it alone. A workout partner in the gym or a friend to question whether you really need a second helping of mashed potatoes can be just what you need to get through a moment of indecision. But when times get tough with your budget, the friend that might be happy to go for a run with you has a habit of running away when you start talking about needing help with your cash flow.

So, if you’re feeling alone in the battle of the bulge in your wallet, maybe the solution lies in finding some new friends. Where am I going to find friends who are going to want to help me with my budget woes, you ask? Trust me, they’re out there; you just haven’t met them yet.

Eager Donor, Meet Worthwhile Cause

Increasing revenue is a tough task for a teacher during the school year. You work long hours outside of the school day – don’t forget the stack of papers you carpool with – and finding outside work that fits your school schedule can be next to impossible. Well, if you can’t increase your revenue, your only other option is to cut your expenses, and getting a little help from “friends” through a crowdfunding source like Donors Choose can be just the boost that you need.

There are many crowdfunding sources available, but Donors Choose is one that is specifically for teachers and one that teachers and students at our school have benefited from numerous times. At Donors Choose, teachers can ask for help to cover the out-of-pocket costs for classroom items that are not covered in the school’s budget – the essential non-essentials, so to speak – that make a significant dent in a teacher’s wallet but are critical to creating a classroom atmosphere that is warm, comfortable, and conducive to learning. In the past few years, funded projects at our school have ranged from classroom sets of books for young adult readers, to comfy furniture for a cozy learning center, to a classroom pet.

Ask and There Is a Good Chance You Will Receive

Donors Choose was created in 2000, and it is a free service for full-time teachers at U.S. public or public charter schools. As of this writing, 276,186 teachers have received funding for 687,627 projects. These projects have benefited 17,579,385 students thanks to the generosity of more than two million donors. The Donors Choose website says that 75% of the proposed projects reach their funding goals.

Once you open an account with Donors Choose, you are able to post a project. To post a project, you will have to answer a few short essay questions and provide details about your project. Once it is funded, the materials are sent to you and all you have to do is provide the thank you cards and the photos of the happy students (and teacher).

A Friend in Need …

In South Carolina, the State Department of Education gives each of our teachers a $250 stipend to cover classroom purchases which is usually gone before the first child steps in the door in August. After that, if it is not included in a line item in the school’s budget, it is coming out of the teacher’s pocket. Fortunately, sites like Donors Choose provide an opportunity for teachers to tap into a network of donors who value public education and are looking for ways to help financially. Who knows, you might catch a break like we South Carolinians did when native son, Stephen Colbert, picked up the tab for over 1000 projects worth more than $800,000 in May of 2015.

Those are the kinds of friends that teachers need.

Please Share!
7 Money Myths Kids Believe & How to Correct Them

7 Money Myths Kids Believe & How to Correct Them

In modern society, cash is no longer king.

With debit cards in every wallet, companies paying with direct deposit, and people taking advantage of online banking, it’s no wonder kids today don’t have a clear understanding of money.

With our current digital economy, many people no longer carry cash, opting to use debit or credit cards instead. That means the current generation of children see less and less physical cash, making money seem like an almost abstract concept. And with most parents not sharing much about finances with their kids to protect them from money woes, children are learning less and less of the information they need to prepare for life as a responsible and productive adult.

Here are seven common money myths kids believe and what teachers can do to correct them.

Myth #1: Money Is Only Used to Buy Stuff

Ask a child what money is used for, and he’ll tell you it’s for buying stuff. While that’s true, most children see people spending money only on things like food, gas, and clothing. When it comes to things like electricity, water, heat, internet, and phone service, a surprising amount of children think these things are free. And if a kid has never seen his parents going through the process of buying a house or car, he may not realize the extent of money these things cost.

 Teacher Fix: When teaching money lessons in primary school, do more than just teach kids to count and buy trucks and dolls. Give examples of other things money is used for and how much things like utilities cost. Have older students detail what it costs to get an apartment to help them understand the bills they’ll someday have.

Myth #2: There Is No Budget

Many kids don’t know that money has to be budgeted. Families on television don’t have to wait until payday to buy new shoes or worry about how to pay the fuel bill, but those in real life do. Because of this omission from what kids perceive, there’s a lack of understanding that each person only has a limited amount of funds that must be used to cover all his or her expenses.

 Teacher Fix: Kids off all ages should be exposed to budgets and how to use them in the classroom. For young children, pretend grocery shopping gives teachers the opportunity to teach how to make decisions on what to buy, while those in high school are old enough to understand full household budgets.

Myth #3: Plastic Money Is Endless

To kids, debit and credit cards must seem like magic. It’s a small piece of plastic that’s used to buy things and this same card can be put in an ATM to get money. And that’s all they see. Children don’t know that mom or dad’s paycheck gets deposited and that the card is attached to a bank account. They only know that the card can seemingly be used whenever to get whatever they want, so it’s easy to understand how kids gain this misperception.

 Teacher Fix: Give lessons on debit cards, checkbook balancing, FICO scores, and good credit management. Explain how to build positive credit, the consequences of making bad credit choices, and how credit scores impact buying decisions. 

Myth #4: There’s No Reason to Save for Retirement

Many children don’t understand that it’s an individual’s responsibility to save for retirement. Many children think things are just taken care of and that once a home is paid for and someone has what they need, there’s no longer a need to have money, especially when the person in question is older.

 Teacher Fix: Introduce school-aged children to different types of retirement savings such as pensions, IRAs, and 401(k)s. With high school students, discuss social security and how it works, as well as how much money is needed for retirement and the best ways to save.

Myth #5: Taxes Must Be Paid

When a child sees a toy that costs $29.95, they assume they only need $29.95 to buy it. Taxes are a hard concept for children of all ages to understand, from the seven-year old wanting to buy a new game to the teenager who gets her first paycheck and realizes there’s an employment tax.

 Teacher Fix: To help kids gain a better understanding of taxes, teachers should incorporate lessons on different types of taxes and what this money is used for. With high schoolers, teachers can have mock tax forms that need to be completed every April to teach students how they’re done. 

Myth #6: Things Are Affordable

When it comes to how much things cost, most kids are clueless. Children in primary school may think a gallon of milk costs $20 and that a house only costs $100. Even as they age and the concept of money grows, many kids don’t fully understand the cost of the things from their Xbox 360 to a trip to Disney.

 Teacher Fix: Get a class piggy bank and have children save for a specific goal, like a class party. Saving their own money and determining the cost of what the class purchases gives kids a more realistic view and appreciation of what is affordable and what’s not. 

Myth #7: Money Can Buy Happiness

For children who’ve witnessed their parents struggle financially, and for many of those who haven’t, it’s easy to believe that money solves problems and buys happiness. Kids think that if only they could buy whatever they wanted, everything would be perfect. While research shows that money can make a difference in happiness, it only works to a certain extent. Once a person makes enough money that there are no issues paying bills, the amount of money she makes no longer has an impact on happiness. For most people, that magic number is around $75,000 a year.

 Teacher Fix: Instead of focusing happiness and self-worth around things, show kids how to find happiness in other areas of their lives. Teach how things like mindfulness and volunteering time to help others increases these feelings more so than any dollar bill ever will. 

Please Share!
Boardgames to Teach Money Skills

4 Great Board Games to Teach Money Skills

Great board games are fun, engaging and can be wonderful learning tools! Here we share 4 of the top rated board games to teach money skills to young children.

1) Cashflow for Kids

Cashflow for Kids for Teaching Money Skills

Cashflow for Kids was developed by Robert Kiyosaki, author of the #1 selling personal finance book of all time, Rich Dad Poor Dad. He considers the game the realization of his vision for an interactive tool for financial education for children.

This highly engaging board game simulates real life situations and financial strategies in ways that both children and adults love. Through this game, your kids/students will gain insight into how money and investing work.


Cashflow for Kids – Sample Amazon Review

“Cannot rate this game highly enough. Kids love it, adults learn from it, and the kids get a real concept of return on investment and “doodad” spending (the latter to be avoided…). Have enough now for children, grand/great children(future). As long as I don’t keep giving it away to every child who plays it at my home and wants to take it back to THEIR home…”

2-6 Players, Suggested for Ages 6+. Learn More About Cashflow for Kids on Amazon HERE

2) The Allowance Game

The Allowance Game for Teaching Kids Money Skills

The Allowance Game is an involving, skill-building game where players race around the board while doing “chores” to earn their “allowance”. After earning money, they can then spend it on things they want or save it. As children play, they learn to make change, handle money and more!


The Allowance Game – Sample Amazon Review

“We’ve been playing this game from when kids were 4 and still playing it regularly now that youngest is 8. Very fun. Teaches money in ways kids can understand (ie: allowance, buying ice cream vs buying houses, losing your money vs. taking out mortgages). The coins are the real shape and color of coins, so kids really learn the difference between them. And the paper money is real money colored so the same applies there. Parents enjoy playing it too.”

2-4 Players, Suggested for Ages 5-11. Learn More About The Allowance Game on Amazon HERE

3) Money Bags – A Crazy Coin Counting Game

Money Bags - Board Games to Teach Money Skills to Kids

As the name suggests, Money Bags – A Crazy Coin Counting Game offers a fun way to teach children money-counting and combining skills.

The object of this game is to earn money while winding along a cartoon path. Money is earned by landing on “chore” square, labeled with a practical task, such as setting the table or an entrepreneurial endeavor such as opening a lemonade stand.

To collect money, the spinner determines which coins can or cannot be used, an excellent element to the game that encourages problem-solving and critical thinking.

Money Bags – A Crazy Coin Counting Game – Sample Amazon Review

“I use this game in the classroom as a math support teacher and at home with my kids. All of the kids love it and it moves at a good pace. I appreciate how the game doesn’t just let the kids always decide what combination of coins they’ll use to represent a certain value. When they spin the spinner, it will sometimes land on no dimes or no nickels, and so on. So they need to figure out how to make a certain amount without those coins.”

For 2-4 Players, Suggested for Ages 7+. Learn More About Money Bags on Amazon HERE

4) Exact Change

exact-change-board-gameOur final game in our list of the best board games to teach money skills is Exact Change, which is similar to UNO in that the goal of the game is to play all of your cards first. You can discard cards by matching the color of the last card, its value, ($1.00 on $1.00, etc.), or by making EXACT CHANGE.

For example, if the last card played was a quarter, and you had two dime cards and a nickel card, you would be able to combine and discard all three of them at once!


Exact Change – Sample Amazon Review

“I bought this a few months ago when our middle daughter was having trouble learning about money in school. The UNO-like color/card match aspect of the game has reinforced that for her, while the plays to count out exact change is helping my older daughter with adding up larger numbers (up to $1 and beyond). I think this would be a fun game to play even without kids. The only thing that seems to discourage the kids is the “keep drawing until you play” rule. Sometimes they have drawn 10 or more cards in a row and gotten upset that they would have no way of winning the game. Some reassurance and skillful play of larger denominations has helped them get rid of several cards at once, but if you have a sensitive child, it is something to be aware of.”

2-6 Players, Suggested for Ages 6+. Learn More About Exact Change

Other Great Board Games to Teach Money Skills?

I hope you will try some of these games with your children and/or students! If you know of any other great board games to teach money skills to children or would like to comment on the games above, please leave your comments below!

Please Share!