Saving is Important

A little background: I work with 10-11 year old girls for something called Activity Days. (I'll keep the explanation short) I came up with the idea this week to do a little course on budgets. It was almost as fun to prepare for, as do with the actual kids.

I started off by asking them what they wanted to be when they "grew up." (I use that in quotes because I don't consider myself "grown up" in the least) Most answered teachers, one a singer, vets, and dance instructors. These girls are hilarious. Love them and their answers to random questions.

So I told them, voila! You've finished your education,  and got your first job! And here's your first paycheck! A whole $1,500.00! They also thought this was a lot of money and fantasized about what could be done with that much cash.

Then I started passing around the "bills." You want to live somewhere, right? (I handed them a picture of a reasonably nice apartment complex- complete with pool!)  Well, here's your rent! You'll have to get a roommate to afford it! Next, do you want electricity? Like air conditioning in the summer? And light when it's dark? Yes? Well, here's the bill. That's only half of your bill, because remember, you have a roommate to pay the other half!

It went on like that until I got to the transportation portion of the budget. Congratulations! During college, your parents bought you a CAR! Then I held up a picture of a 1993 Chevy Prizm. They were less than impressed. But I continued. It's completely paid for! All you have to pay is the insurance!
I heard a bit of balking from the table about the car. It was just a white sedan. Could they paint it purple? With stars? (I imagined giving these kids a couple cans of spray paint and a white "canvas." The outcome in my head made me giggle)

That's when I whipped out a picture of my first car, (although of a much more recent vintage) a Volkswagen New Beetle. The crowd erupted in excitement. Just what they'd always wanted.
However. That car came with a hefty payment each month. (I also talked to them  a bit about loans and interest- blew them away that the bank asked for more money back) Some took the new car, some didn't.

Then we got to the savings part. I showed them a list of things they could save for: the new iphone, a nice plasma TV, an Apple Laptop, or a beach vacation! (some of the things I've been salivating over)
Everybody wanted everything. I outlined how much they would have to save each month and for how long, to purchase these items. (stretching everywhere from 4 mos. to an entire year! Can you believe it?! A year!)

We totaled it all up. The bills, the savings, the extra things (like cell phone service, cable TV, and eating out) The results were quite entertaining! Some of the girls were quite thrifty! Having $300+ after all it was said and done. I was impressed. Others found their spending far exceeded their income! (the outcome I was more expecting) Sadly, some of the niceties were crossed off the list. Down went the beach vacation, the cable TV, and so on. Until everyone was at least in the black, not one penny over $1,500.

That's when "life" started to happen. Oh no! Your car needs repair! And it's gonna cost $300! Who has an  extra $300?
And what now?! You've been laid off? If you worked there for 3 years and had been saving the same amount consistently, how long could you pay your bills? I think I got the point across. Saving your money is important. I also reminded them, the majority of girls having their own cellphones, (most of which are nicer than mine- not fair, world! Not fair! Pouty, pout, pout) maybe giving your parents a thank you and a hug once in a while wouldn't be a bad idea?  They agreed. They're really sweet girls- not at all the stereotype of spoiled, snobby tweens I see in the media today. (I wish I would have given my parents a couple more props for the cool stuff they did for me growing up- thanks Mom and Dad. That Beetle was the freaking cat's meow!)

The project? Decorating adorable savings banks: 

There were a couple extras left. So, much to the girls' delight, I prettied a couple up for them too. 

The Husband thinks Little Man's is too girly. It's just stars! Blue and green! On a kitty! Sure, the stickers are sparkly. But well, that's how we are around here; Enamored with sparkly stickers. 

The girls' banks feature butterflies. I feel my restraint for leaving off blue butterflies from The Boy's was at least commendable! 


  1. Love the lesson! It never ceases to amaze me how many unexpected things arise each month when all I want to do is shop with that extra money left at the end.

  2. I love it! That's such a good idea, and a very important lesson for kids to learn...the younger, the better! I love the banks. Now you've got me thinking about doing a similar project with my youth group when they come over for a night at our house soon....

  3. AWE-SOME! What a great and useful lesson. I think there are some adults that could use the same. Great job! I think the bank screams big guy saving for a mission... hehe!