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The Spend Bank: Be Smart

A Wish list

List the things you want to buy. Kids want so many things. Help your child think through what is reasonable and what he or she can afford. Making a wish list helps kids stay focused. Next, approximate the price of the things on the list.

Can’t have it all

Understand that some items are more important than others. Explain to your child why he or she probably cannot buy all the things on the wish list at once. Here’s a chance to talk about basic concepts in money management:

  • Making choices
  • Evaluating cost – what’s affordable or reasonable
  • Weighing tradeoffs in a purchase decision
  • Delaying purchases
  • Dealing with opportunity cost – whenever you buy one thing, you’ve eliminated the possibility of buying something else

Work with your child to rank the items on the wish list – what to buy first, second, third, etc. Help your child go over the list every few weeks to see if new things should be added, or old ones dropped, or items moved up or down on the list.

Wise shoppers

Look for good deals. Before a purchase, help your child “price shop.” Compare prices from store to store. Or scout out prices in newspaper ads or on the Internet. Teach your child the value of doing pricing homework before spending.

Stretching your dollars

Count up the savings. If your child is able to buy an item on sale or find a better price at one store than another, count up the money saved. Drop the saved money in the Spend bank and talk about how that money is already giving your child a head start toward saving for the next item on the wish list.

Decorate the bank

Stay focused. Cut out or draw pictures of the #1 item on your child’s wish list.

More ideas

For more ideas about being a smart shopper, explore Spending under the Fun for Kids tab. It’s full of great tips for saving while spending.