5 Meaningful Examples of a Money Teachable Moment from Parents in Real Life (IRL)

Teachable Moments about money for kids always seem to pop up and fade away before I figure out what to say to help my kids' learning about money. I love how she gives 5 real examples of actual parents, the teachable moments about money that popped up in their lives, and what they said. #teachablemoments #learning #quotes #kids | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/5-teachable-moment-money/

A money teachable moment may not be easy to identify in your own life, so I’m sharing 5 real-life examples of other parents who saw an opportunity and seized it to teach their kiddo something important.

Have you ever heard the phrase Teachable Moment?

A Teachable Moment is a specific time that is ripe for a conversation or lesson because your kid(dos)’ interest about a subject is peaked.

Why would that moment in time be the right one to give a lesson?

Well, when your child is highly interested in something – either because a situation has presented itself in real life (IRL), or because they’re just into it (you know how kids go through crazy phases!) –then they’re way more likely to not only listen, but to absorb what you’re saying.

For example, if you’re on a nature walk and your kiddo becomes highly fascinated/upset about all of the pieces of trash everywhere…you could start a conversation about recycling, trash pick-ups, taking care of your trash and how it ends up in beautiful places like this when people don’t, etc.

But if you’re walking into a restaurant for dinner and your child happens to chuck a piece of trash on the way in instead of putting it in the trash can, then you’re likely to experience an eye-roll or a half-hearted “sure” when you point out what they’ve done wrong and how bad that is for the environment.

Lucky for us, life takes money. Which means money situations are all around us. So teachable money moments are everywhere – both in your own life and in your child’s life.

Yet, it’s not exactly second nature for all of us to identify these moments and capitalize on them to teach our children something.

So, I wanted to offer up 5 examples from my blogging friends about actual moments they took to teach money lessons to their kids, IRL.

Teachable Moment #1: Consider Spending Alternatives, from Ordering Mac ‘N Cheese at the Whole Foods Prepared Section
Kiddo’s Name (real or anonymous): Bash
Age: 14

Stephen Chen from New Retirement says that a teachable money moment, “happened this evening after we were headed back from playing basketball. He was hungry and wanted to grab something at Whole Foods – macaroni and cheese from the prepared foods section.

He thought it would be < $5. I thought it would be a lot more since it was dense and this is not a great thing to buy by weight from Whole Foods…

Turns out it was $10.50. I ended up buying it since it would have gotten tossed but we had a good discussion about being thoughtful about spending and considering alternatives.”

I asked Stephen to follow-up on what, if any, his child took from his efforts to impart some money wisdom in this teachable moment.

Stephen said, “he understood that it was a lot to pay for a food choice that is normally inexpensive (and not that nutritious) and that there were lower cost options (frozen or stove top). He did get that there are better value ways to spend dollars when buying things by weight – ex. mashed potatoes vs. raspberries. Also discussed that different retailers have different price points and types of customers (whole food/paycheck vs Safeway – regional California chain). Would he have spent that much if it was his money vs. mine? What else could be get for $10.50?”

Teachable Moment #2: A Loan is Never Guaranteed to be Repaid, from a Hasty, $5 Yard-Sale-Teddy-Bear
Kiddo’s Name (real or anonymous): Anonymous
Age: 6

Kate Horrell of Paycheck Chronicles writes about how her child, who normally receives $1.50/week in allowance, asked for an allowance advance on the remaining $6.00 one month after learning that her big sister gets their entire months’ allowance in one fell swoop.

But what happened?

Well, her daughter turned up crying in a very short amount of time. It turns out her big sister had said she “might” pay for a teddy bear the little girl wanted at a yard sale ($5.00). The big sis paid, and then told her little sister that she now owed her the $5.00 because by her paying for the teddy bear for her little sister it meant that she had taken out a loan (with the “gotcha” being that she said “might” and not that she actually, 100%, would).

What an interesting situation!

Mama Bear Kate took the situation as a teachable moment for several different kinds of lessons, such as the perils of lending/borrowing with friends and family, fully outlining and understanding financial negotiations before entering into them, loans aren’t always repaid, etc.

But of course, all these teachable moments from this one incident didn’t happen at once. That would be a little overwhelming even to an adult!

Kate says, “In my experience, they each learn a little bit every year (just like us adults.) I think they have definitely learned that a loan is never guaranteed to be repaid:).”

Teachable Moment #3: Thinking through The Free Toy Sales Gimmick from his Kid’s Candy-Toy Addiction
Kiddo’s Name (real or anonymous): Michael
Age: 5

Joseph, who has curated a big collection of tips from financial bloggers on how to teach kids money-saving tips, shares, “My son Michael just turned 5 years old. He’s completely hooked on the candies with little toys inside – the chocolate eggs or the cups of yogurt with the plastic toys in the bottom of the cup. Of course, the toy really isn’t worth much and they mark up the candy because they know kids will pressure their parents to buy.

Trying to ween my son off these, I told him that instead of buying one or two of these a week as we normally did, he could spend half the amount on anything he wanted. I helped him see choices between buying the one candy/toy combination or buying a much better toy by itself.

Not only was I trying to get him off the candy treats but also wanted to help him see through the commercialized sales pitch, i.e. see through the candy/toy gimmick.

He still asks for the candy every once in a while, but not as often as before. Hopefully it will help him be a better consumer, not so easily persuaded by gimmicks and sales pitches, when he’s older.”

Teachable Moment #4: Loan Spawned from Broken Laptop Makes Child More Responsible
Kiddo’s Name (real or anonymous): Anonymous
Age: teen

William H. Dwight of FamZoo offers up the following teachable money moment he used in his own household with his son, the heavy metal drummer:

William, a self-proclaimed “nerdy computer science Dad,” bought his son a fancy Mac laptop to record music with his buddies. He wanted to support his child’s creative pursuits, especially since it was being encouraged by his son’s music teacher.

Except that then, six months later, he learned it had been trashed. Not only did his child show complete disregard for this really expensive gift from his father, but he casually announced, “my music teacher says I need a new one.”

As if laptops fall out of the sky!

William said, “Here’s the deal: I’m not going to buy you one, but I’ll give you a loan, and I’m going to garnish your wages for the next year and a half to pay this thing back.”

This resulted in 40% of his weekly allowance disappearing to pay for an item he really wanted. Subsequently, he took a LOT better care of the second laptop than he did the first.

William recalls, “He took really good care of that thing. He had that computer longer than any computer I could remember. It was a total game changer.”

Teachable Moment #5: How to Start a Business and Create a Business Plan from Daughter’s Idea
Kiddo’s Name (real or anonymous): Sienna Jaye
Age: 11

Small-biz-owner Jennifer Franklin shares, “My 11-year-old daughter recently came to me with an idea for her own business. She told me her idea to start an online apparel store for young girls like herself. We talked about a business plan and how she was going to fund her business.”

I was super curious to hear what they talked about during this business plan conversation. Jennifer shares the following points:

Business Plan:

1 | We talked about what she would need to get started. She made a list of things she would need that included: logo, website, designs, apparel, heat press.

2 | We also talked about how she was going to get started. She made a to-do list.

3 | Her original idea was to print the shirts herself, but soon found out the initial cost was going to be more than she could invest.

4 | She researched and found a company online that will print her designs for her. The company she found would not have been my first choice because the profits are smaller and she has to send her customers to their website to make the purchase. I gave her my advice, but in the end she chose to go with her original decision. The reasons she gave were: the apparel options are “cooler” and it was easier for her to create and upload her designs.

How to Fund Business:

1 | We talked about how much money she had on hand and in the bank. And how she probably didn’t want to use it all up front.

2 | We also talked about who she could ask for a loan if she needed more money to get started. Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa were some of her answers.

3 | She also brought up that she could ask Grandma if she had any jobs for her to do. (Grandma sometimes “hires” her to help out with odd jobs.)

4 | Her initial investment was only $51.51 to get started. We used a coupon code from GoDaddy to set up a domain and a managed WordPress website for only $12 for the year. She purchased one of her designs to make sure the quality was what she was looking for and used a 30% coupon code. The hoodie cost $39.51.

This talk really got the ball rolling. Jennifer says, “Over the weekend, she put her plan in action all on her own: designed her logo, created apparel designs on a website she found and set up her website (she had a little direction from me on how to set up the website.) She has told her friends at school and has already sold a few items. It was pretty cool to see her in action.

Love that we can inspire a whole new generation of girl bosses!:)”

And a little cherry on top? Her daughter left the following note on her mother’s desk (*heart melting*):

Wow. These are some powerful money teachable moments that could have passed by as so many other moments do in our lives.

Instead, these mothers and fathers seized the opportunity and decided to create a lesson from it that their kids are not likely to forget.

Now it’s your turn! What teachable moments have you taken advantage of in your own life? How did they crop up? Any inspiration from the moments above? Please share!

9 Money Educational Toys for Kids this Christmas

I love these educational toys for kids! Great ideas for holiday gifts. #educationaltoysforkids #educationaltoys #kids #christmasgiftsforkids | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/9-money-educational-toys-for-kids/

Money educational toys for kids provide the best of both worlds — fun for now, and lessons that will stay with them into adulthood when they’ll need those important life skills.

I’ve got an idea. This year, instead of gifting money to your nieces, nephews, and other kid(dos) your life, why not gift money educational toys for kids?

Not only will they have fun playing with them now, but they’ll learn some valuable money lessons. If nothing else, then they’ll get more exposure to the super-important life skill of dealing with money.

Whether you’ve got a budding kidpreneur, or someone who has yet to ask about money, here are 9 educational toys for kids to put under your tree.

Money Gift #1: Play & Learn Cash Register by The Learning Journey

Age Range: 3+ years

This cash register comes with 12 different food options and 12 different price options. Your child can mix and match between the two to price their inventory.

There are 3 slots in the drawer, and it comes furnished with $1’s, $5’s, $10’s, and $20’s.

Pssst: And with your kid(dos) new cash register? Don’t forget your free money play starter kit.

Money Gift #2: Moonjar Classic Piggy Bank

Age Range: 5-12 years

This award-winning savings jar allows kids to divvy up their money between saving, spending, and sharing. A Family Guidebook and Passbook are included, and the individual compartments can be taken out, or kept together in one bundle.

Money Gift #3: Big Money – 3D Magnetic Coins and Bills

Age Range: 5+ years

Is it just me, or does blowing something up in size make it seem less intimidating?

Take the mystery out of dollars and coins for your kids by using this batch of magnetic currency. How fun would it be to put them on your fridge one morning before your kid(dos) come down?

It also comes with an 8-page activity guide detailing several activities you can do with your magnetized, oversized currency, such as:

  • Teaching Money with Dates
  • Showing Equivalent Values (for example, two dimes and one nickel is the same as one quarter)
  • More, Less, or Equal?
  • Reducing a Group Down to One
  • Classroom-specific activities

How else could you use this? You could use the magnetic coins for The Penny Method, a behavioral changing system Thrift Diving uses with her children.

Or how about having your child tally up their earnings or “commissions” throughout the week on the fridge using these magnets, then giving you the total on payday to pay them out in real money? This will give them more exposure to actual money denominations in a plastic world.

Money Gift #4: Quick Pix Money

Age Range: 7+ years

2-6 Players

Getting tired of Go Fish or Uno on family game night? Here’s a wonderful alternative, with a real money lesson to boot.

You deal out five cards per player from the “Answer” deck, then turn over the top card on the problem deck. The winner is the first person to win five matched sets by correctly (and quickly) placing the right answer onto the problem card. Problem cards have a group of coins on them, and it’s your job to match the correct coins layout with the values on an answer card (so if you don’t have the right answer, you don’t play a card that time).

Of course, multiple players may have the right answer at the same time, so the quickest person to identify + place their correct answer card down will win the match!

Money Book #5: The Lemonade War, Jacqueline Davies

Age Range: 7-10 years

I absolutely adored this book.

Jessie and her brother, Evan, love each other. Deep down. And usually they function well as a brother/sister unit. But when Evan finds out that his very intelligent sister is going to be skipping ahead to his own grade, his bad emotions come out of nowhere.

They begin selling lemonade together, and end up starting an all-out lemonade war due to lots of miscommunication that escalate things (gee, that never happens in real life!). And who wins? The person who makes a profit of $100 by the end of the week.

The Money Lesson(s): One of the great money lessons in this book is how it’s geared towards making big business concepts understandable in terms of something your tween gets — a lemonade stand. So, they learn about things like Underselling, Value-Added, Profit Margin, and Franchises. An overall highly valuable money lesson is how to take an idea you have to make money, and see it through. These two really know how to implement, and that’s where the rubber meets the road.

Life Lesson(s): I think one of the best life lessons in this book that isn’t necessarily pointed out is that each person, no matter what their skills or capabilities, can bring valuable assets to the table. Jessie is a whiz when it comes to math, calculations, and ideas for how to increase profits. Evan is more of a people person, which is hugely important in a business.

Money Gift #6: Moneywise Kids

Age Range: 6-12 years

2 Players

An award-winning Money Math Game, Moneywise Kids seeks to teach kids the idea that bills are monthly through one of two games:

  • Game 1 – Bill Maker: You each take turn rolling the dice and collecting money. Then each turn you trade up your money to the highest denomination you can get. So, for example, if you have five $1-bills, then you can trade it in for a $5-bill. Then when you get two $5-bills, you can trade them in with the banker for a $10-bill. The goal here is to work up to a $100 bill first.
  • Game 2 – Bill Breaker: The goal here is to buy all 6 markers (each marker is a monthly bill, such as “A Place to Live,” “Something to Wear,” and “Medical Care,”) PLUS put $100 into your savings. The first person to do so, wins.

I really like the back of the boards, where the game-maker gives you concrete ways to make real-world connections for each of the monthly bills discussed in the Bill Breaker game.

Money Book #7: Lawn Boy, Gary Paulsen

Age Range: 8-12

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: financial limits and boundaries breed creativity. In this case, being a broke kid bred a whole business!

Lawn Boy is a pretty great book about a kid who started an entire lawn-mowing business − complete with workers − all because his parents didn’t have enough money to help him buy a new bike inner tube.

While this book is bent towards economics, it’s also great for making entrepreneurship seem a bit more accessible. It gives your kiddo a look into how another kid their age filled a demand for a service, and in the meantime, earned lots of money.

The Money Lesson(s): Get this book for your kiddo for the business and entrepreneur lessons. However, warn your kid about the use of penny stocks and investing their money with random people. Yes, Lawn Boy makes a small fortune when his stockbroker neighbor-turned business manager invests his money into penny stocks. But that’s not likely to happen.

Life Lesson(s): Keep your eyes open for opportunities. And sometimes? It comes in the form of work. A lot of work.

Money Gift #8: Coin Collecting for Kids

Age Range: 8-12 years

This is an impressive, sturdy (it’s board book material), coin collecting kit for kids for coins through 2020.

Kids can scour the coin jar, the streets, the couch cushions, etc. to fill out the following collections (slots for over 150 coins):

  • 50 State Quarters
  • Presidential $1 Coins
  • Westward Journey Nickel Series
  • Birth Year Coins
  • Indian Head Cent
  • Franklin Half Dollar

Not only is it a helpful holding place for each of these coins, but it also teaches your child about coin collection and mints. Don’t be surprised if they start talking to you about reeding (the tiny grooves around the edges), or start grading the coins that come across their path from uncirculated all the way up to Very Good.

The only problem? You might not have any more change around your home once your kids get their hands on whatever they can to fill it up!

Who knows what their coin collection could be worth one day?

Money Gift #9: Bulls & Bears: The Game of Booms and Busts

Age Range: 13+ years

Looking for a robust game that will teach your kid(dos) about investing, stock market risks, and really important things like investing for their retirement?

This is it.

It’s so robust – think the complexity of Monopoly, but with the goal of teaching investing –that you might want to have your child review the free online guidebook provided by game-maker to get their investing sea-legs.

Some really interesting + priceless lessons built into this game:

  • Importance of Diversification: Player’s portfolios are assessed periodically by banks to make sure they’re diversified.
  • Current Events’ Influence on the Market: Stock purchase decisions are based on how they think the market will react to different news flashes (talk about great prep for investing in the real world!).
  • How to Calculate Net Worth: Having the players calculate their net worth (sum of all cash and investments minus any mortgage or other debts owed).
  • 3 Key Investments to Make for Long-Term Financial Security: Goal of the game is to acquire a net worth of $200,000 while owning these three key assets – a retirement plan, a home, and health/property insurance.

You’ve now got a list of 9 money educational tools for kids. Make use of them! Your kid(dos) will thank you.

Genius Hack to Get Your Kid to Take Better Care of their Belongings

Wondering how to get kids to listen, Mom (hint: WITHOUT yelling)? While I certainly don't have a parenting handbook, I did happen to run across this genius hack for getting your kids to listen to you about taking care of their belongings. |

Child not listening? Here’s a genius hack I ran across for how to get your kid(dos) to listen – without yelling – when it comes to taking care of their belongings.

I know a mom who used to be really frustrated with her son’s lackluster care + enthusiasm for his belongings. She would buy him nice gifts at Christmas and for birthdays. But what would he do?

When her son was a tween, he would give his toys away to his friends. Anyone who asked him, he’d just give them to them. She would find out weeks later that he had gifted his electronic, or video game, or Lego set to someone who had grown wise to her child’s giving nature.

Of course, this represents a different kind of “not taking care of your belongings” (and an extreme example at that).

But it does raise the issue that so many parents are facing:

How do you get your child to care about their belongings?

You know, actually maintain + put them where they belong (most) nights?

While reading the other day, I came across one man’s genius hack that aligns pretty well with natural human behavior.

It’s to give your child a financial stake in doing so.

Let’s discuss the reason why David Owen decided to do this, and how it impacted his kids.

One of the Values Owen Wanted to Teach his Children

David Owen, author of The First National Bank of Dad – an excellent read, by the way – valued teaching his children a sense of ownership over their lives. When reading his book, you can see how he does that at a very early age by allowing them almost complete autonomy over their money.

Owen writes, “One of the most valuable lifelong financial services that you can perform for your children, I believe, is to help them begin to think of themselves as the owners of their lives, rather than renters or squatters – in other words, to help them begin to take personal responsibility in the broadest possible sense.”

He found an opportunity to further teach this value when the popular platform, eBay, came online.

How eBay Helped Owen Discover this Genius Parenting Hack

Owen raised his kids just as eBay was making selling and purchasing things like toothbrushes from a woman in Kansas feasible.

And his son definitely took notice of this potential.

Owen writes, “eBay, by providing an accessible and convenient marketplace in which things like old CDs and video games have genuine monetary value, has transformed my son’s relationship to his possessions. By giving him an incentive for behaving responsibly, eBay has increased his personal sense of responsibility. That’s good!”

Once his child made the association between the “stuff” in his bedroom and being able to actually reap money from it down the road, his behavior changed.

And it was a natural change, not one his parents had to force on him.

His son handled his video games very carefully and put them away so that their resale value wouldn’t drop. He had an incentive that the parent didn’t even need to be part of. How nice is that? eBay “opened his eyes to the cash value of the junk cluttering his room. He quickly sold off a substantial portion of his private cache of old video games, unwanted CDs, and outgrown toys. His previously vague sense of the value of his possessions was transformed.”

How Can You Give Your Child a Stake in Maintaining their Belongings?

This was a really great example to show how giving ownership over to children + giving them a financial stake in their lives can change their behavior without parents having to preach or press their views onto them.

Can you do something similar in your own child’s life, just like Bill did with his own son + his Apple iPhone 7 after reading this post?

While your solution might look a little different, here’s the basics of what you’ll need to solve the problem of your child not taking care of their belongings:

  • An Agreement to Hand the Proceeds Over to Your Child: Will your child get 50% of the cash they make back? 100%? It doesn’t matter how much, it only matters that your child knows that this incentive exists. If you’re not comfortable handing over the money to your child, then can you agree to use the money gained towards purchasing something new that they’ll want/need in the future? You can explain to them that the more money you can get, the better the item you can afford to purchase for them.
  • Education on the Resale Value of Well-Kept Items Vs. Not-So-Well-Kept-Items: You’ve set up the financial incentive and probably made your kid’s eyes pop out of their heads (at least a little). Now you need to show them that maintaining their belongings will bring the highest resale price. Here’s an excellent article about how to maintain value on video games. Another way you could help them understand condition of the item in direct relation to how much you’ll earn back is by pricing your used car on Kelley Blue Book. You can choose different “conditions” the car is in, and this directly affects the price you should list it. Here’s a condition quiz you go through with your child to see the true condition of your car. For electronics such as smartphones and tablets, you can use a site like Gazelle.com to get the point across (conditions are, “Broken, Good, and Flawless,” each increasing in cash you can earn back).
  • A Platform for Selling Your Child Can Use: You’ll need to pick a selling platform for your child to reap back cash from their belongings when they are finished using them. For example, can your family hold a yard sale next spring or summer? Can you offer to list their items for sale on a local Facebook Mom Group (with their help)? What about trading in video games using programs like GameStop’s? Of course, eBay is still an option as well.

Now it’s your turn.

Are you inspired to do this with your kid(dos)? How will you experiment with introducing this incentive program into your household? Please share in the comments below!

Wondering How to teach Kids About Money? Fill their Reading List with these 23 Money Books

Parents: Stop wondering how to teach kids about money management, and instead fill your child's reading list with these money books. Includes bonus money activities to expand the learning in these books! | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/wondering-how-to-teach-kids-about-money-23-books/

How to teach kids about money using books + bonus money lessons I’ve added in. Broken down by age.

Earlier this year I went through a research project of sorts. I wanted to read tons of children’s books about money to see what materials are out there.

But I wanted to take it a step further. See, you’re a busy parent. And you don’t necessarily have time to read all of the books that your child is going to read.

So, for each of the 23 books that made the cut below, I’ve added in:

  • the age range
  • what money lesson(s) your child will learn from reading this book
  • what life lesson(s) they’ll learn

I’ve even included a bunch of bonus money activity ideas to use after reading specific books!

Money Books for Kids Under 5

Money Book #1: Sheep in a Shop, Nancy Shaw

Ages: 2-3 years old

Stores are a great place to help with how to teach kids about money. And this is the perfect book to show your very young kiddo what the purpose of a store is for: to go with money with something specific in mind that you want to buy. A group of sheep are on the mission to purchase a birthday gift. Unfortunately, they don’t have enough in their piggy bank for what they want to buy. So they learn to barter for it!

The Money Lesson(s): Sheep can’t count. Haha − just kidding. The real money lesson here is that things in stores are not free. Also, saving up to buy something is best…or else you might have to barter something like your own fur!

Life Lesson(s): It’s nice to both have fun while shopping, as well as to put some thought and energy into someone’s birthday.

Bonus Money Activity: For the next birthday-buying occasion in your household, walk your child through the process of buying a gift for someone. It doesn’t have to be from their money, or it could be − the point to this exercise is for them to be part of the money transaction. Set a budget for what they can spend on the gift, then brainstorm several ideas with them before heading to the store. Once you get to the store, walk them through the process. Let them choose from the shelf something close to one of the brainstormed ideas, as well as price compare if there are similar items. Ask them if the item is under the agreed-upon budget. If not, look around for another item. Have them put the item up on the counter at the cashier, and if you’re ready for it, have them hand over the money. Walk them through accepting the change, getting a receipt, and picking up the bag.

Money Book #2: Bunny Money, Rosemary Wells

Ages: 3-5

Bunnies Ruby and Max want to buy the perfect birthday gift for their grandmother: a beautiful music box with skating ballerinas. They’ve saved up their own money to do so, and head to the store for this one purpose. However, things start happening, and temptations arise that cost them some of their money. Also, they didn’t research the cost of what they wanted ahead of time, so they didn’t have enough money to buy it to begin with.

They end up making a pretty bad spending decision − purchasing glow-in-the-dark vampire fangs that cost them their bus ride fare home. In the end they spend their last $0.25 calling their grandmother to come and pick them up.

The Money Lesson(s): Researching what you want to buy before you head to the store is a good idea so that you can make sure you have enough money. There are almost always less expensive alternative options for when you can’t afford what you originally wanted. You need to prioritize your spending for needs first (bus far home), then wants. Otherwise you might get stuck somewhere!

Life Lesson(s): Your family will be there for you, just as you should be there for your family. And sometimes you’ll make mistakes! It happens. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you do.

Bonus Money Activity: Have your child go through each item the bunnies spent their money on, and tell you whether it was a want or a need. Let them defend their answers before telling them your answer.

Money Book #3: The Ant and the Grasshopper, Amy Lowry Poole

Ages:  4+ years

This is probably one of the oldest examples of parents figuring out how to teach kids about money through storytelling. This particular version of the classic Aesop’s fable offers a twist, where the ants consistently, and without hesitation, prepare for the winter months while the grasshopper focuses on games + entertainment in the Chinese Emperor’s Summer Palace.

The Money Lesson(s): Consistent, and sometimes hard, work pays off. Preparation for tough times to come − financially or otherwise − is a good idea.

Life Lesson(s): The ants may be super prepared for winter while the grasshopper is out in the cold, but there is something to be said for enjoying life more. The lesson here is somewhere along the lines of “work hard, but don’t forget to play hard. Play hard, but don’t forget to leave time for work.”

Bonus Money Activity: Relate this lesson to something in your own household that you do throughout the year in financial preparation. For example, when my sister worked for a school bus company she did not receive a paycheck during the summer months. So throughout the year she would need to save extra each month to make up for having no paycheck for 2.5 months.

Money Book #4: Paddy’s Payday, Alexandra Day

Ages: 3-8 years

Wondering how to teach kids about money? A great introduction to the most common way for money to get into a person’s hands is a good place to start. Paddy is an Irish Terrier who performs for a living. It’s his payday, and he’s got a long list of ways to spend his money.

The message that I don’t like in this book is to spend, spend, spend on your payday.

However, you could turn this around by opening a discussion about which of the things Paddy spends on that are needs versus wants. Think: Boston Cream donuts, haircut, movie ticket, dinner at a restaurant, a bouquet of flowers (Paddy’s on track to be poor before his next payday!).

The Money Lesson(s): Payday means you have money to spend on both needs and wants. To truly get this lesson, you’d have to add that in, though, because Paddy seems to spend, spend, spend (without any remark on how he’s spending his paycheck away!).

Life Lesson(s): It’s important to play as well as work, not just one without the other. Paddy works for a living, so it’s nice to see him take some time off and enjoy himself.

Bonus Money Activity: Take a few minutes to discuss with your little one where you and/or your spouse work. Discuss some of the ways you use the money you get on payday to keep the household going.

Money Book #5: Apple Farmer Annie, Monica Wellington

Ages: 3-7 years

I get exhausted just thinking back to my cow-milking, hay-making, silo-filling days.

What I like about this book is that your child will start to get an idea of the process involved in farming and turning it into an end product − dipping their toes in entrepreneurship. Annie, an orchard farmer, takes your child through (though in a really cursory way) picking apples, sorting them, producing sweet apple cider, applesauce, various baked goods, and then selling the most beautiful of all of them at the farmer’s market.

The Money Lesson(s): When you grow your own food, you can keep some for yourself to munch on (or bake really yummy things with), and then you can sell the excess and make some money. This is also a great opener for discussing with your child your own job and how it enables you to earn money.

Life Lesson(s): All throughout the book you can feel Annie’ s enthusiasm for what she does. It’s nice to show kids that you can love what you do in life.

Bonus Money Activity: there are Annie’s recipes in the back. So you could extend the study by picking your own apples, sorting them, then making a recipe together with your child. To add money flair to it, calculate the cost to create the recipe, and how much you could earn if you sold it for X amount of dollars.

Money Book #6: Pigs Will Be Pigs, Amy Axelrod

Ages: 5-8 years

The Pigs will be Pigs series, including this book, has been designed around the National Council of teachers of Mathematics’ Thirteen Standards.

But that’s not the fun part about this book (nor did that sound fun, right?).

This pig family has eaten through all their groceries from the morning (yes, pigs will be pigs!), and they’re hungry for a snack. The problem? There’s only a dollar between the lot of them. So, they go about hunting for money in all kinds of peculiar places around their home. What I like is they don’t give the dollar denominations, but just the kinds of coins found, so that your child can do the math and add things up for themselves.

They are presented with a menu with prices, and so your child gets a chance at the end to figure out what else they could have bought from that menu. A very interactive book (probably not best for bedtime, as you’ll want them to break out a pencil and piece of paper to work on a few things).

The Money Lesson(s): Use the resources you’ve got at your hands (such as finding change in your own home versus going to the bank to get money out). Also, your child will get a bit more comfy with adding up different coins and dollar denominations, then trying to figure out what they can buy from it.

Life Lesson(s): Working together as a family means you’ll get to the goal that you want quicker. Plus it’s kinda fun!

Bonus Money Activity: At your family’s next restaurant visit, have your child choose something based on price. Give them a budget to work with, then ask them how many different combinations they can come up with from the menu and still stay under that budget.

Money Book #7: Follow the Money, Loreen Leedy

Ages 4-8

George is a newly minted quarter that gets used in a variety of ways. This book will give your child a great overview of money circulation + different ways that money can be used (like in a vending machine or as a donation).

The Money Lesson(s): There are a few calculations your kiddo is asked to make, such as how much change a customer should receive. This is also a great lesson in different ways money is used, and how far it can “travel”. It will answer the question of where money comes from, and what happens to it once it leaves their hands.

Bonus Money Activity: Have your child follow up reading this by going on a Virtual Money Field Trip to The U.S. Mint. This will show them where George the quarter came from!

Money Book #8: Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday, Judith Viorst

Ages: 4-8 years

You remember Alexander, the kid who had that terrible, horrible, no-good day? Well, the poor guy can’t catch a break. Reading about his life is like watching the many trials and tribulations of Greg Focker in the movie Meet the Parents all over again (hmmm…I think I just figured out Alexander’s adult avatar?).

Can’t this poor kid have a GOOD day?

In this book your child will see that Alexander used to be rich (and by rich, he means he used to have $1 his grandparents gave him) until he spent his money a bit foolishly. Honestly, what barely-out-of-a-car-seat-kid wouldn’t?

The Money Lesson(s): There are always “opportunities” to buy things with your money. But sometimes, they’re not opportunities at all. Like a one-eyed teddy bear.

Life Lesson(s): Hmmm…maybe don’t make friends with this Alexander kid? Haha:). For real though, spending choices are your own, and no one else’s. So make them wisely! (Wait…that’s another money lesson. Oh well).

Bonus Money Activity:  Have your child identify what they think are “wants” that he spends his money on. Now, add up how much each of these wants cost Alexander. How much money would he still have if he had not spent on all his wants? What else could he have done with that money?

Money Books for Kids 5 to 10 Years Old

Money Book #1: Those Shoes, Maribeth Boelts

Ages: 5-8 years

How to teach kids about money without including this timeless issue: peer pressure. Whether we like to remember this happened to us as tweens/teens or not, there is a lot of peer pressure when it comes to having “cool” clothes. And often the “cool” clothes cost more than parents’ paychecks can support.

That’s why I like this book. A boy gets transfixed by the newest trend of shoes at his school. His jealousy is palpable. Unfortunately, his grandmother can only afford to get him shoes that he needs − winter boots.

Even worse, his own “everyday” shoes fall apart at school. A helpful guidance counselor gives him a pair to have, but they’re what’s considered “baby” shoes and he gets embarrassed.

What happens? He finds that the one boy who didn’t laugh at his “baby” shoes actually was worse off than him. When he actually finds the shoes of his dreams − albeit one size too small − from a thrift store, he ends up gifting them to this other boy.

The Money Lesson(s): First off, I love how this boy figures out an alternative way of finding the shoes he wants for a price his grandmother can afford − the thrift store. I also love how the grandmother unabashedly told him what they could and could not afford instead of racking up a charge she didn’t need on her credit card to satisfy a current trend.

Life Lesson(s): Helping out someone else is hugely rewarding, just like when someone helps you out.

Bonus Money Activity: Have your child talk to you about something that they want that they cannot currently afford. Then ask them to think about ways they could get what they wanted for less money so that they could afford it sooner. Give them some hints to help this exercise along, especially if they’re not used to finding discounts for items.

Money Book #2: Jenny Found a Penny, Trudy Harris

Ages: 5+ years

Jenny has her eyes set on something special (though you don’t find out what it is until the end). She needs a whole dollar, so she sets out to find all the pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters she can. She also earns a dime from sweeping her grandfather’s porch and sidewalk − this is one determined gal! Unfortunately, she’s thrown for a loop at the cash register when she learns that not only does she have to save up for what she wants to buy, but also for the sales tax that is assessed on it.

The Money Lesson(s): Something you could talk about from this book is an alternative way to get that plastic piggy bank without having spent all her savings on it (such as making one from a two-liter soda bottle, or from a mason jar. Just look on Pinterest for ideas). Also, your child will be introduced to sales tax in this book, something that may well have confused them before (especially if they’ve paid attention to the price tag on an item + how it is always more at the register).

Life Lesson(s): Let others know what your goals are, and they just might help you with them.

Bonus Money Activity: Discuss sales tax with your child, and the idea that it’s different in different states and areas. Look up the sales tax in your own area for reference. Are there any items that are not assessed a sales tax?

Money Book #3: How the Second Grade Got $8,205.50 to Visit the Statue of Liberty, Nathan Zimelman

Ages: 5-8 years

I love how this book organizes such a huge task − raising a large sum of money − with a child Treasurer who makes reports. The reports break down their interesting and sometimes funny methods to raise money by the expenses and then overall profits. But it’s done in a very story-telling kind of way, not like a profit-n-loss meeting. This book is hilarious!

The Money Lesson(s): You can shoot for high money goals! Also, remember that when you sell something, not all of the money you bring in is actually profit. There are expenses you incurred that you need to account for to come to your profit number.

Life Lesson(s): Have a big idea − like checking out the Statue of Liberty? All of your goals are doable. You just need to brainstorm and take action on your ideas for how to get there.

Bonus Money Activity: What are some school fundraisers you’ve participated in the past? List them out. Now, talk about which ones were successful, and which ones were not. Why do you think some were successful and some weren’t?

Money Book #4: Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock, Sheila Bair

Ages: 6-9 years

This book describes two twins who live very differently, and who treat their money very differently. This becomes hugely apparent when their grandfather gives them a very intriguing proposition: He’ll pay them each $1 per week to mow his lawn and wash his car. Then he’ll match whatever they have in savings. One twin cannot keep his impulse purchases at bay − broccoli-flavored gum, anyone? − and the other ends up with a sweet $512 after 10 weeks.

The Money Lesson(s): Aside from ‘you need to have a grandfather who will match your savings from mowing his lawn and washing his car, dollar for dollar’ (ha!)? Saving money is wise for two reasons. Number one, you can afford more quality-of-life changing items. And number two, because your savings grows through interest (and through matches you can score).

Life Lesson(s): Don’t judge a person by their outside achievements. The beginning of this book is interesting because it sets up the twins in that one is a winner, and the other one is a loser. But it turns out the “loser” twin knew his stuff when it came to saving money.

Money Book #5: Lulu Walks the Dogs, Judith Viorst

Age Range: 6-10 years

Lulu is quite the sassy little girl. She decides she needs to make some cash for something REALLY special, and sets her eyes on figuring out anything that will roll the dough in. Dog-walking seems to be the best suited (err, most easily lucrative) occupation. Except that she’s pretty bad at dog-walking. There’s this neighborhood kid who seems to be good at everything + super polite and helpful…but she refuses his help and good advice time and time again.

I also like that this is a short chapter book, so you can read it over several nights to your little one (or they can read it themselves).

The Money Lesson(s): Money can be made from a variety of sources if you’ve got some determination.

Life Lesson(s): Don’t be too prideful to ask for help, especially from people who could be the key in you getting what you are tirelessly trying for. A lesson that’s good for both kids and adults to learn!

Bonus Money Activity: Share several ways (or just one) of how you earned cash as a kid. How much did you make? Were you saving up for something special?

Money Book #6: Rickshaw Girl, Mitali Perkins

Ages: 7-10 years

How to teach kids about money + beyond can start by introducing them to the economics and realities of different cultures. Ten-year-old Naima is exceptionally good at painting (specifically designs called Alpanas). She lives in a Bangladeshi village with her mother, father, and younger sister. Unfortunately, even though they make little money, she can’t use her talents to earn money for the family because she is a girl. The father makes a living by pulling a rickshaw all day. In order to get into the profession, he had to first purchase the rickshaw. But since they have very little, he’s making payments on it.

One day Naima gets the rickshaw into an accident, threatening their entire livelihood.

Bonus Money Activity: On one rickshaw drive Naima’s, father makes is 3 taka. How much is that in US dollars? What is the US minimum wage, and how does that compare with what Naima’s father made?

Money Book #7: The Lemonade War, Jacqueline Davies

Age Range: 7-10 years

I absolutely adored this book.

Jessie and her brother, Evan, love each other. Deep down. And usually they function well as a brother/sister unit. But when Evan finds out that his very intelligent sister is going to be skipping ahead to his own grade, his bad emotions come out of nowhere.

They begin selling lemonade together, and end up starting an all-out lemonade war due to lots of miscommunication that escalate things (gee, that never happens in real life!). And who wins? The person who makes a profit of $100 by the end of the week.

The Money Lesson(s): One of the great money lessons in this book is how it’s geared towards making big business concepts understandable in terms of something your tween gets — a lemonade stand. So, they learn about things like Underselling, Value-Added, Profit Margin, and Franchises. An overall highly valuable money lesson is how to take an idea you have to make money, and see it through. These two really know how to implement, and that’s where the rubber meets the road.

Life Lesson(s): I think one of the best life lessons in this book that isn’t necessarily pointed out is that each person, no matter what their skills or capabilities, can bring valuable assets to the table. Jessie is a whiz when it comes to math, calculations, and ideas for how to increase profits. Evan is more of a people person, which is hugely important in a business.

Bonus Money Activity: If you were going to open a lemonade stand, who would you appoint to the different positions? For example, who in your family would be good at advertising for the business? Who would be good at counting the money? Where would you locate your lemonade stand? Start to think about these questions.

Money Book #8: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Grace Lin

Age Range: 8-12 years

In this jade-gem of a book, Minli and her family live very meagerly (poor according to American standards), but they have what they need. Though yes, just barely. The mother is always discontented with their circumstances. Her daughter is quite content, listening to her father’s stories are night, but she knows that her mother is not and she knows they have to work to the bone for the little they have.

So Minli decides to take some of the information from these stories and seek these people out so that she can change her family’s fortunes.

The Money Lesson(s):  This is a beautifully written tale about greed, humbleness, dragons (yes, there are dragons!), and learning to be thankful with what you have.

Life Lesson(s): Being thankful with what you have, and feeling like you have “enough” is the secret to happiness. There’s also a strong lesson here about helping others along their journey, and accepting help from others along the way.

Bonus Money Activity: Ask your child these follow-up questions to what they’re reading:

Minli and her family have very little money and very few possessions. Yet they have everything that they need. List out at least 4 needs that people must have in order to survive (a home, rice to eat, fields to plant a crop in and harvest, water, clothes to wear, each other’s company).

Now from the list of needs you made, write down what Minli and her family have in order to meet those needs. For example, if you list “water”, you could write that she and her family go to the well to get the water that they need.

The only money Minli’s family has are the two copper coins given to Minli when she was a baby. And she spends one of these copper coins on a goldfish from some man who was selling them. Her mother is furious about this. Why do you think that is? What else could Minli have spent this precious money on?

Money Book #9: A Smart Girl’s Guide to Money (American Girl), Nancy Holyoke

Age Range: 9-12 years

If you’re looking for money education geared towards young girls that has a cosmo-girl feel to it, this is your book. I particularly love the guidance on how to not only start up a business, but how to figure out your actual profits and not just your overall intake (something would-be biz owners at any age need to hear). I also dig the 101 money-making ideas in the back.

Overall, the book was a little too shopping-happy for my liking for kids (example: for a typical money moments day they include things like noticing another teen has a purse that costs more than someone’s car and determining that she’s stuck-up, meeting up with teen friends at the mall after school, etc.). To be fair though, there is a chapter on Shopping that goes into the value of needs versus wants, six ways not to buy, etc.

The Money Lesson(s): This is an entire guide about money, so there are many. The list includes being a smart shopper, starting up a business, running a business, and saving money.

Life Lesson(s): Once again, it’s not a book really set up for one particular lesson or even two. However, one that caught my eye was how to negotiate with your parents to raise your allowance.

Money Book #10: Lawn Boy, Gary Paulsen

Age Range: 8-12

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: financial limits and boundaries breed creativity. In this case, being a broke kid bred a whole business!

Lawn Boy is a pretty great book about a kid who started an entire lawn-mowing business − complete with workers − all because his parents didn’t have enough money to help him buy a new bike inner tube.

While this book is bent towards economics, it’s also great for making entrepreneurship seem a bit more accessible. It gives your kiddo a look into how another kid their age filled a demand for a service, and in the meantime, earned lots of money.

The Money Lesson(s): Get this book for your kiddo for the business and entrepreneur lessons. However, warn your kid about the use of penny stocks and investing their money with random people. Yes, Lawn Boy makes a small fortune when his stockbroker neighbor-turned business manager invests his money into penny stocks. But that’s not likely to happen.

Life Lesson(s): Keep your eyes open for opportunities. And sometimes? It comes in the form of work. A lot of work.

Bonus Money Activity: Think about yourself trying to start a lawn mowing business. What would you need to purchase in order to get started? How would you come up with that money to begin the business?

Money Book #11: Lunch Money, Andrew Clements

Age Range: 8-12

Greg Kenton has a mind and an eye for earning cash. You could say he’s a little money-crazy. When he figures out that all of his friends and schoolmates carry around extra quarters with them − for things like ice-cream sandwiches, cupcakes, neon pens, pencils, and other things to buy at school − he knows he needs to cash in on it in order to help him make his fortune.

The book follows his entrepreneurial journey as he navigates selling first toys, then self-made, mini-comic books to his students. Along the way he figures out how to mass-produce, he comes up against a fierce competitor, and tough school regulations against selling things where learning should be the ultimate goal.

The Money Lesson(s): I like how this book takes a subject that can be very difficult to wrap your head around − entrepreneurship and starting up a small biz − and makes it accessible to kids and adults alike. Most things are addressed in a completely non-intimidating way, such as trademark issues, creation, marketing, figuring out a solid audience to market to, earning money, gross earnings versus profits Greg gets to pocket, etc. However, the book does not get into a bit more complex subjects like taxes on earnings.

Life Lesson(s): There’s an underlying message here of learning how to read things for yourself, analyze them, then stick up for what you believe in. This happens when Greg and his competitor find out that even though they’re told they cannot sell products to kids in school, they point out the huge amount of advertisements and products being sold to the kids everyday (such as Coke in the vending machines, and books through the scholastic school program). Greg, his competitor, and a teacher end up going over the regulations and then presenting their side at the school board meeting.

Bonus Money Activity: Greg’s idea to create miniature comic books and sell them to kids is pretty unique. Ask your child if they wanted to make some extra money, what are three ways they could start doing so?

Money Book #12: Better than a Lemonade Stand!, Daryl Bernstein

Age Range: 9-13 years

I love the fact that this book was written by a 15-year old. How cool for your kid to see that!

There are 55 different business ideas for kids that go well beyond just the lemonade stand. I also love the fact that sprinkled throughout the book are real life examples of kids who took this guy’s advice (he originally wrote the book in 1992) and started their own businesses.

There’s a lot of positivity in this book, and I’ll have to warn you that you may not agree with all the advice spouted off by the then-15 year old in the beginning of the book. Examples include, “When you earn your own money, it’s yours to spend as you wish…[i]f you prefer to buy loads of candy, go ahead!” And you might want to reinforce the idea of charity against his statement of, “When I see a need, I charge a fee to fill it.”

Then again, getting to read a book from a child who is so confident with money, business building, gleaning life lessons from mistakes, and asking for the sale is an awesome role model for your own child.

The Money Lesson(s): Your child will definitely understand what start-up costs are after reading this book, as each of the 55 ideas comes with a list of what they’ll need to get the biz up and going. The crucial role of advertising, along with tons of ideas for how to, is discussed. Each idea also comes with an example of how much to charge, as well as ways to cut down on costs and increase your profits as you move along. Lots of other nuggets like “the less you spend on supplies, the more you make!”, collecting some money upfront so that you have the funds to purchase supplies, and small details to get repeat customers (like bringing along a little bell toy to leave in a bird’s cage after cleaning it so that every time the customer hears the bell they’ll think of you in a sweet way and want you to come again).

Life Lesson(s): Daryl really reinforces the idea that when you make a mistake or fail you can use the lessons as fodder for your next business. I love this “keep going” attitude.

Money Books for Kids Aged 10-13 years

Money Book #1: The Toothpaste Millionaire, Jean Merrill

Ages: 10-12

Originally published in 1972, this book takes place in an era when many authors, including this one, talked about things like race/age/sex discrimination. So just a heads up!

What I liked about this book for your Money Rookie is that it takes the idea of earning money through manufacturing and makes it a very tangible subject. In fact, this line from the book pretty much sums up why I’m recommending it: “As I mentioned before, math isn’t my favorite subject. But I think everybody should take a course in toothpaste.”

A child, appalled by how expensive toothpaste costs at the store, knows he can make his own for a very, very small fraction of the cost. So he does. And with the help of his friends and his math teacher, works his way up to opening several toothpaste manufacturing facilities. Apparently the US is hungry for $0.15 tubes of toothpaste!

The Money Lesson(s): One lesson is an overall introduction into the manufacturing business (as in how a product is made, some of the costs of production that go into the overall price, price wars with other brands, etc.). So it’s taking lessons your child may have learned running a lemonade stand as a pre-tween and using some real-world examples to teach them the lessons now.

Life Lesson(s): The main character, Rufus, gets a lot of help and ideas from friends, families, and his teacher. I think this is an extremely important lesson, as we’ll all get where we’re going a lot faster (and help others get where they’re going a lot faster) when we let others help us.

Money Book #2: Payday, Kathryn Beaton

Ages: 10-13

If you’re looking for some foundational money lessons for your Money Apprentice, then this is your book. However, this book reads more like a textbook (albeit a very juicy one if you’re into learning about money) than a regular read.

The author takes your child through money concepts such as higher-paying jobs usually mean you need more education, common paycheck deductions and why they happen, health insurance co-pays, and some of the more logistical, but basic-for-an-adult-in-the-real-world, stuff that will untangle children’s natural confusion about how money works.

A note for parents: this book is heavy on the concept of getting an allowance that is tied with your age/the complexity of chores you can complete. It also says that the average allowance given to kids is between $5-$10/week. So make sure you’re cool with this before unknowingly giving some ammo to your kids to potentially raise their allowance (yes, the book also suggests negotiating with parents for extra allowance; however, they pair this with taking on more work around the house to justify the request)!

The Money Lesson(s): This book reads kind of like an 80s educational reference book, so the money lessons are vast. Aside from the obvious ones they tackle (budgeting, paycheck, earning money, shopping wisely), they also brush on negotiating for higher pay (or higher allowance, in this case), the necessity of health insurance, why older kids in the family might receive more allowance than the younger ones, money is negotiable, becoming an NFL player is not necessarily a life plan, etc.

Money Book #3: Seventeen Against the Dealer, Cynthia Voigt

Ages: 12+

Your child may have thought about wanting to start a business, or shown some interest in running a lemonade stand. For me and my friend, it was starting a bean bag business (not much demand in them…nor supply, for that matter).

Great! Have them read this book. It’s actually Book #7 in a series; however, I didn’t read the other ones before it and thought the story worked well on its own. Dicey Tillerman sets her eyes on opening a boatyard business where she’ll craft boats for a living.

The problem? While she has a little bit of money to start, she doesn’t have a lot of business sense and she doesn’t even have a ton of boat-making experience. Of course business sense can be picked up as you go (*cough* not that I would know ANYTHING about that).

Your child can read along her journey as she makes decisions of which she suffers from consequences later, as well as subtracts out expenses from her checkbook.

The Money Lesson(s): In business, you need to have contracts with the people you are serving to protect both you and them. Having enough money in the bank to pay six months’ rent + utilities is woefully inadequate when starting your own business and being unsure of where the money is going to come from. Having more than one income source “stream” is very helpful for when your other income streams aren’t doing so hot (but the bills keep coming, as they so often do). It’s important to look into business insurance so that if/when you are robbed, your ability to make money (in her case, her specialty tools needed) is not completely taken away. What you earn from business is not all the money you get to take home thanks to operating costs + fees.

Life Lesson(s): There are lots of life lessons in this book. My favorites include the need to have Plans B-D at least, not trusting complete strangers with your money, and everyone pitching in to help each other out.

Well, there you have it – a huge list of good to great money books to stock your child’s reading list. Plus a ton of ideas for bonus money activities to go along with many of the books!

Get Clear on What You Want Your Child to Understand About Money

The "What" Comes before the HOW to teach kids about money. Get clarity tips on what you money understanding you want to pass onto your children. | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/get-clear-want-child-understand-money/

Figuring out how to teach kids about money is only half the equation. You need to get clear on what you want to teach your child(ren) about money.

I want you to think back. Waaaayyyy back, to before you carried your money hang-ups around with you.

When money didn’t feel like a limiting factor. Wasn’t a limited resource. Wasn’t a stress.

When money was shiny, and new, and something you were highly fascinated with.

What did you want for yourself in terms of money at this point in your life?

That’s how deep I want you to dig to create a money mission statement for your own child. Instead of stressing over how to teach kids about money, start thinking about what you actually want them to know.

What do you want them to know about money? To feel about money? To know how to do with money?

I’ve got my own desires for my child. And of course − since money is kinda my thing − I’m a bit long-winded.

But hear me out, because:

a): It’ll give you an idea for the kinds of things to hope for your own child(ren)
b): It’s what I’m aiming to teach/show your own child in terms of be/do/have in their lives with all the work I’m doing here to turn them into a Money Prodigy.

So, What Exactly IS a Money Prodigy?

I’m dedicating a significant amount of my time to turning your child + many other children into Money Prodigies.

So, what exactly IS a Money Prodigy?

If you’ve read my About Page, then you know that Money Prodigy is not only a passion of mine, but a very personal topic for me. I have a child as well, and even though he’s barely 1.5 years old, I’ve got desires for him when it comes to his future money management.

Even though he cannot yet read, feed himself (successfully), or pick out his own clothes, his future life sometimes plays in my mind and I’d like to think I’m going to have a big part in touching that future by the things I’m teaching him now + in the years to come.

So I’m building Money Prodigy with both your child and my child in mind.

And before I considered how to teach kids about money, I deeply considered what the heck I want to teach them in the first place.

With that being said, here’s my letter to Conner that outlines what I want him to be, do, and have when it comes to money:

Dear Conner,

First of all, your father and I are just so proud of you. You’ve been a blessing in our lives, a gift we prayed for, and then waited for (10 months) and then really waited for (40 weeks and 4 days, to be exact).

Money is nothing to you at the moment, and is specifically much less important than, say, your rubber snake you love to carry around, or the cat toy we can’t seem to part from your little, chubby hands.

But money is going to play a major role in your life, both when we are there to help you with it, and when we can no longer be there for you.

Since your mother is a bit of a money-geek, I thought I’d write down what I want for you.

  • To know that, yes, you must work hard in life to get money…but you can also watch your money grow with some awesome management.
  • To make it through life’s many seasons with money not being the driving factor behind each of your decisions and choices.
  • To be able to help others from a strong money situation yourself.
  • To learn some solid money foundations you can fall back on for when the sh*t hits the fan.
  • To be able to handle the money your father and I leave you.
  • To feel ease around money, never afraid, and never intimidated. After all, it’s just another tool.
  • To stay out of the debt cycle, or at least to not enter into it blindly.
  • To be independent from your father and I after finishing college (we love you, Son, but it is in your best interest to spread your wings).
  • To have a great handle on your money and be able to extract as much life enjoyment as possible no matter what your paycheck is.
  • To save for your future, and to know the value of doing so.
  • To be an independent thinker with some entrepreneurial spirit in you.

It’s a tall order, especially since you’re still in cloth diapers. But we’ve got years to work on this together. So don’t fret.

Just know that we love you, no matter the size of your bank account, no matter the mistakes you are going to make, and no matter, really, anything.

Love,

Mama Bear + Papa Bear

How to Craft Your Own Money Mission Statement

Were there things in that letter that I want for my child that really resonated with you? Go ahead and use ’em.

In fact, I welcome you to write out your own Money Mission Statement for your child(ren).

Brainstorm with the help of these questions:

  1. How do I want my child to feel about money?
  2. What are the ways in which I want my child to be able to use money?
  3. What money values do I want to pass onto my child, and which ones do I hope don’t get passed on?
  4. Where do you want them to financially be at different stages of their lives (teenager, high school graduate, college graduate, first job, etc.)?
  5. How dependent or not dependent do you want them to be on you financially and otherwise? How can you ensure you do your best to facilitate that level of independence that’s right for your family?

Now take 20 or so minutes one day this week − perhaps a lunch hour − to sit down and write your child a letter like the one I did above.

Talk to them from the heart, and be specific about what you want to pass onto them.

Don’t worry, you can choose to save this letter in the pile of sentimental goodies you’ll give to them when they’re an adult, or you can just keep it for yourself and periodically look back at it to determine if your money education is on track or not. It’s completely up to you. Just know that I’d love to be along for the journey by offering guidance, activities, and tools to reach your goals, once you know precisely what they are (please share in the comments below!).

Psssst: and if you want some of the things I listed above for your own child, then you’ll want to follow along as I’m building this brand to someday use to teach my own child.

5 Screen Free Family Activities that Will Cost You $5 or Less

5 family activities at home. These screen free activities are for both kids and adults! Great ideas to use with screen free week. | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/5-screen-free-family-activities-will-cost-5-less/

I’m sharing 5 family activities that don’t involve a screen.

I read somewhere that I’m part of the Oregon Trail generation. Anna Garvey puts it beautifully when she says, “[we] came of age just as the very essence of communication was experiencing a seismic shift, and it’s given us a unique perspective that’s half analog old school and half digital new school.”

It’s a perspective that has gone the way of Donkey Kong + 7th-grade love notes (you know, the handwritten kind).

Which makes  me a little sad, because the best moments of my childhood had nothing to do with a screen.

That’s why I prioritize + value screen free personal and family time.

Yes, there’s a time and place for technology and it’s done some wonders for us. But let’s also use it in moderation, right?

Here are 5 screen-free family activities that will cost you less than $5 and will engage everyone.

Screen Free Family Activity #1: Listen to an Audio Book or Kids’ Podcast

Light a fire, bring out some hot beverages (or not if you’ve got weeeee-little ones, like our 17-month old), and tune into a free family-friendly audio book/radio drama. You can also check out a kid podcast for stories and lots of other cool things.

Psst: Since it’s screen free time, make sure you don’t leave your laptop facing everyone (that’s a screen!) and/or turn your smart phone’s screen facing down. You can also just hide the screens behind something to keep the screen-free ambience going.

Screen Free Family Activity #2: Work on a Family Charity Project

There are multiple charity projects your family can sit down to do together at home that will help others in need. Here are a few charity family activities ideas:

  • Clip Coupons for Military Families: Ask your family and friends to save their coupon inserts (even their expired ones; military personnel may use coupons expired up to 6 months!), then every few months sit down as a family and clip all the coupons out together. Together, pick out a military base from around the world where you’d like to send them to to benefit military families. Be sure to mail them off in time (bonus: sending mail through a military address costs less than regular international mail).
  • Send Strangers Happy Cards: The Post Card Happiness Project is all about writing a cheerful, encouraging post cards to people going through difficult times. Choose someone from the website, print out their info (so that you can go screen-free during the actual letter writing), then send off your drop of happiness.
  • Cheer up Sick People: Reach out to ill and lonely people across America by writing them thoughtful cards. Send one, commit to sending monthly, or send in bulk. Print out the directions ahead of time so that, again, you can go screen-free come family time.

Screen Free Family Activity #3: Family Stargazing

Family activities that involve the vast, unexplored sky? I’m in.

You’ll need a few tools to really set up a stargazing experience that’s out of this world.

Screen Free Family Activity #4: Play Hilarious Rounds of Mad Libs

I’m in love with Mad Libs! We take them on our road trips, and occasionally break them out at home. What a fun way to raise the gigglarity of any situation, reinforce words and grammar, plus get away from those screens.

If you haven’t heard of Mad Libs? They’re little stories or scenarios with certain words taken out. You then ask another person (or persons) to give you a word that falls in a particular category so that it will make sense (kinda) when you reread the story out loud (like, give me a noun, or a verb).

Some free Mad Libs pages for you to print out ahead of time:

Screen Free Family Activity #5: Become Citizen Scientists

There are several programs out there that are asking for people to contribute to from home. How exciting that you + your little ones can be part of science data collection that will help people’s initiatives and the future of our earth!

  • Citizen Science Soil Collection program: The University of Oklahoma is looking to partner with lots of people to find soil fungi from across the United States that produce drug-like compounds called natural products. Request a free sampling kit, and grab some soil from your backyard together.
  • Bumble Bee Watch Citizen Science Project: There’s a dwindling bumble bee population in the United States. By taking photos of bumble bees and starting a virtual bumble bee collection, you help scientists determine status and conservation needs plus help locate rare or endangered species.
  • BudBurst Project: This project is all about gathering observations and data about how plants change through the season. After some initial training online, you can print out forms and observe specific plants in your backyard. You’re looking for things like the timing of leafing, flowering, and fruiting phases of plants. Then you sign back in and record your observations.
  • Become Certified NestWatchers: Be part of the reproductive biology of birds’ database. After you get certified, take note of any nests in your backyard. Visit the nest every 3-4 days to observe changes, and be sure to record them.
  • Project FeederWatch: Put up a bird feeder (you could make a homemade version as part of your family time!), then monitor and record which birds come around. Enter the data

Wow, I’m ridiculously excited to try these family activities out with my own kiddo (once he gets past the put-eveything-into-his-mouth phase, of course).

Please share your own favorite screen-free family activities in the comments below so we all can benefit.

Free Video Games about Money for Your Child (Come in the Mail, No S&H Costs!)

4 FREE video games teaching kids some money management skills! No joke, and you won't even pay shipping & handling. A good intro to money life skills. | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/free-video-games-money-child-come-mail-no-sh-costs/

Free video games about money for your kid. Kids love getting mail…and you don’t even have to pay S&H!

What child doesn’t love to get mail? If you pair that with a FREE money video game…well now you’re just asking for a high-pitch squeal.

Through its Practical Money Skills program, Visa is on a mission to educate the public about money management. The great news about this? They’ve created 4 money video games and they’re giving them away to anyone (yes, including parents) who want to have one.

You don’t even have to pay shipping & handling!

I’ve tested out each of these games, so you can get a better sense of what they are below as well as the link for how to order one for your own kiddos.

Free Money Video Game #1: Peter Pig’s Money Counter

Age Range: 4-7 years

Money Lessons Learned: This game is mainly about learning to identify and count coins. Saving your money is encouraged instead of spending it by giving your child various-sized trophies depending on how miserly they become.

Earn virtual money with right answers that you can use to save or spend on decking out your pig with accessories and scenes. Plus there are lessons built into the game itself that occasionally pop up.

After your child earns some cash, they’re asked how much they’d like to save. Then what’s left is what they’re allowed to spend at the store to deck out their little pig. I like how they show an image of the savings they set aside, as well as count down for the child how much money they have left to spend before it’s all gone. Also, your child doesn’t have to spend all their money either. What they don’t spend gets put into savings.

Play it online for free here: Download immediately for your PC or Mac computer and begin playing now.

Free Money Video Game #2: Money Metropolis

Age Range: 7-12 years

Money Lessons Learned: This game is about declaring a savings goal (such as an airplane ticket that costs $350), then earning money and setting it aside to meet that goal. Of course there are temptations to spend some money along the way, and sometimes you have to spend money in order to earn some (such as having to purchase a rake in order to rake your neighbors’ yards for pay).

In Money Metropolis, your child gets to chooses from one of three different savings goals. They then are offered a bunch of different jobs in order to earn the money and meet their goal (such as pumping gasoline for $10, or babysitting a sleeping baby for $15).

What I like about the amounts used in this game is that they are reasonable compared with the overall goal. For example, when I pumped gas, I was bombarded with about 15 cars and only earned $10. My overall goal to purchase was a plane ticket at $350. So it shows children that it could take a lot of work at low-paying jobs to actually save up for something.

This game also reinforces the idea of doing a good job at something (even though the work is done only by pressing buttons) because if you mess up, you don’t get paid. For example, I “crashed” the mower too many times, so I wasn’t paid at Luke’s house.

At anytime your child can click on the “Your Budget” button on the left-hand side to see how much money they’ve saved from earnings, how much they’ve spent, and their total.

You get an allowance as well, $15 at a time. Click here to get my full Money Metropolis review.

Play it online for free here: Download immediately for your PC or Mac computer and begin playing now.

Free Money Video Game #3: Financial Football

Age Range: 11+ years (broken down in categories: Rookie 11-14, Pro is 14-18, Hall of Fame is 18+)

Money Lessons Learned: Key concepts include saving & spending, budgeting, as well as the wise use of credit.

Crafted in partnership with the NFL, expect some interesting play options in this game, such as a Sweep Left or a Quick Out. Your child even gets to select their team + their opposing team.

You choose a play − easy, medium, or hard − and you’re given a financial question to answer. If you answer it correctly, then your football team gains yardage (the harder the question, the more yardage you gain when you get it correct).

What I like about this game is that if your child doesn’t quite know how to answer, then can click the “Lessons” button on the Main Menu to enter the Financial Training Camp and learn all kinds of things, such as the difference between debit cards, credit cards, and prepaid cards.

Play it online now right here: Download immediately for your PC or Mac computer and begin playing now.

Free Money Video Game #4: Financial Soccer

Age Range: 11+ years (broken down in categories: Amateur 11-14, Semi-Pro is 14-18, World Class is 18+)

Money Lessons Learned: This game offers money learning from many different categories. Everywhere from whether or not your contributions to a 401(k) are generally pre-tax, to the uses of a savings account.

Visa’s World Cup-themed Financial Soccer game tests your child’s financial knowledge of a variety of money skills. Select an action you want to take − pass, dribble, or shoot − and you are then given a question. Answer it correctly, and advance forward. Answer it incorrectly, and surrender the ball to your opponent.

If you choose Pregame, then you are given the chance to go through lessons on all types of money categories in order to prep for the game.

Just like in the NFL game, you get to choose what country your team is, and the country of your opponent.

Play it online for free here: Download immediately for your PC or Mac computer and begin playing now.

In order to score any or all of these four free video game, just visit the links above, fill in your name, email address, and shipping name, and wait between 3 and 4 weeks for delivery.

Books to Read Your Children When You’re Going through Tough Financial Times

Laid off from work, or going through other tough financial times? Here are 9 book recommendations to read your child to help them through it + understand it. Bonus: money life skills learning! | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/laid-off-from-work-books-read-children/Whether you’ve been laid off from work, are having to tighten your belt, or you’re just trying to explain homelessness to your child, these books can help you navigate tricky money conversations

It’s no secret that most adults will go through tough financial times at some point in their lives. My husband, Paul, and I are not immune to this; between the two of us we’ve been laid off from work four times in the last ten years.

Chances are, even if you’re trying to keep conversations between you and your spouse, your kids are they’re picking up on red flags.

Maybe you’re a bit more cranky around the house, or giving in less to what they’d like from the store. Perhaps you’ve introduced a new budget out of left field and they wonder what happened to their weekly movie + dinner nights with the family.

When I think back to my own childhood, I distinctly remember the conversation my mother had with us in the year or two before declaring bankruptcy. She sat us down and said that she would not be buying lots of the extras we’re used to anymore.

If she had had a book like the ones to read to us to accompany that talk, then I think it would have gone better. Not that she messed up in anyway, but it’s super nice to reinforce what’s going on through stories, as well as to show your child that they’re not alone in what you all will need to deal with down the pipeline (or are already dealing with).

Whatever it is that you’re dealing with, know two things:

:: you’re not alone
:: there are excellent books out there to help ease your child into your new and (hopefully) temporary financial situation

Let’s take a look.

Tough Financial Time #1: Laid Off from Work

Money Book #1: Hothead, Cal Ripken, Jr.

Age Range: 8-12 years

Connor Sullivan, a star baseball player (in a book by Cal Ripken, whowouldathought?:)), has turned into a bit of hothead when he doesn’t perform like he really wants to.

And where does all this extra tension and anger come from? From the situation at home that he refuses to share with others because he’s ashamed. His parents are in a hot financial mess, and it’s been stressful for everyone. Dad was laid off from work as a car salesman, and his mother was trying to fill the financial vacuum by taking extra nursing shifts in the emergency room. The stacks of bills are scoreboard-high. Connor overhears money arguments about monthly mortgage payments, whether to raid the kids’ college funds, etc.

This book is great for any kid who loves baseball, by the way. There’s lots of insider knowledge in here.

The Money Lesson(s): You can get scared by things you see on the television, such as a high unemployment rate. But don’t be afraid to talk to an adult about this. It will help you to separate fact from emotional scaremongering by the media.  Also, don’t be afraid to talk to your parents about what you are hearing from them and not understanding, or what is frightening you about your household (such as money woes).

Life Lesson(s): When you hold things inside, they have a habit of manifesting in an emotional way. For Connor, this was through anger and temper tantrums that got him suspended for a game or two. But it could manifest in other ways. So talk it out and let others know how you’re feeling and why. Also, when you are a part of a team, your actions directly affect them. You need to remember that they need you at their best! Both on and off the court/field/etc.

Tough Financial Time #2: Not Enough Money for Extras

Money Book #1: Those Shoes, Maribeth Boelts

Ages: 5-8 years

Whether we like to remember this happened to us as tweens/teens or not, there is a lot of peer pressure when it comes to having “cool” clothes. And often the “cool” clothes cost more than parents’ paychecks can support.

That’s why I like this book. A boy gets transfixed by the newest trend of shoes at his school. His jealousy is palpable. Unfortunately, his grandmother can only afford to get him shoes that he needs − winter boots.

Even worse, his own “everyday” shoes fall apart at school. A helpful guidance counselor gives him a pair to have, but they’re what’s considered “baby” shoes and he gets embarrassed.

What happens? He finds that the one boy who didn’t laugh at his “baby” shoes actually was worse off than him. When he actually finds the shoes of his dreams − albeit one size too small − from a thrift store, he ends up gifting them to this other boy.

The Money Lesson(s): First off, I love how this boy figures out an alternative way of finding the shoes he wants for a price his grandmother can afford − the thrift store. I also love how the grandmother unabashedly told him what they could and could not afford instead of racking up a charge she didn’t need on her credit card to satisfy a current trend.

Life Lesson(s): Helping out someone else is hugely rewarding, just like when someone helps you out.

Money Book #2: How to Steal a Dog, Barbara O’Connor

Age Range: 8-12

You might be wondering (like I was) why any parent with a child would want them to read a book with this title?

This was a tough book to read for me. It was heartbreaking, to be honest.

The story revolves around Georgina Hayes, the daughter, whose father left his family recently. The mother, Georgina, and her brother, now live in a car. The mom works two jobs, but cannot save up enough for first/last/deposit on an apartment, at least not for awhile.

Georgina gets the idea of stealing a dog when, while parked in a parking lot for the night, she sees a flyer for a $500 reward on a missing dog. She figures if she can steal a dog, then the owner puts up a reward, she can get $500 to help her mother get an apartment and they can get out of their cruddy car.

Of course, she ends up becoming friends with the owner of the dog she steals, and she has to watch the sadness and depression it wreaks in her life.

Money Book #3: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Grace Lin

Age Range: 8-12 years

I truly enjoyed this jade-gem of a book. Minli and her family live very meagerly (poor according to American standards), but they have what they need. Though yes, just barely. The mother is always discontented with their circumstances. Her daughter is quite content, listening to her father’s stories are night, but she knows that her mother is not and she knows they have to work to the bone for the little they have.

So Minli decides to take some of the information from these stories and seek these people out so that she can change her family’s fortunes.

The Money Lesson(s):  This is a beautifully written tale about greed, humbleness, dragons (yes, there are dragons!), and learning to be thankful with what you have.

Life Lesson(s): Being thankful with what you have, and feeling like you have “enough” is the secret to happiness. There’s also a strong lesson here about helping others along their journey, and accepting help from others along the way.

Tough Financial Time #3: When You Need to Tighten the Belt

Money Book #1: The Ant and the Grasshopper, Amy Lowry Poole

Ages:  4+ years

This is a twist on the classic Aesop’s fable, where the ants consistently, and without hesitation, prepare for the winter months while the grasshopper focuses on games + entertainment in the Chinese Emperor’s Summer Palace.

The Money Lesson(s): Consistent, and sometimes hard, work pays off. Preparation for tough times to come − such as being laid off from work − is a good idea.

Life Lesson(s): The ants may be super prepared for winter while the grasshopper is out in the cold, but there is something to be said for enjoying life more. The lesson here is somewhere along the lines of “work hard, but don’t forget to play hard. Play hard, but don’t forget to leave time for work.”

Money Story #2: When Times are Tough, Yanitzia Canetti

Ages: 5-7 years

 

This book is great for any family wanting to have a “we need to tighten our belts” conversation with their children (or perhaps not wanting to, but needing to from cases such as being laid off from work, or other financial monkey wrenches).

There are examples of what the parents and children will need to give up buying, but then really optimistic and fun examples of what they’re going to substitute instead that costs much less (or in most cases, is free). Such as turning off the TV and shutting down the video games in favor of family games and reading instead. Or foregoing vacation and instead making a staycation where they check out local spots together. Or cancelling the birthday party clown and instead making up family jokes and magic shows.

It’s very endearing.

The Money Lesson(s): The great money lesson − one I talk about all the time − is to still live your life, just without spending nearly as much doing so. An underlying lesson that’s not spelled out? Sometimes when you go through hard times, like the kind you may face after being laid off from work, you become closer with the ones that matter.

Life Lesson(s): The life lesson here is that money is not everything. Yes, it’s important, and this family does eventually have to move in with their grandparents. But what is actually important is spending time with the ones you love. That doesn’t mean you have to spend money doing so.

Tough Financial Time #4: Not Much Money for Christmas

Money Book #1: The Money We’ll Save, Brock Cole

Ages: 4-8 years

It’s all-hands-on-deck with this family who, you can tell, has very little money (set in a 19th century New York City tenement, to give you an idea). Everyone in the family has chores to do to keep things going. Christmas is around the corner, so they’re trying to save their pennies. Still, the mother needs two eggs and 1/2 pound of flour from the store. She sends the father, who resists temptation. Well…except when the Chicken Man tells him about how he can save money on his Christmas dinner: buy a young turkey at a lower price now, raise it, then eat it for Christmas dinner (all for lower than they would normally pay for their meat).

The turkey lives in a box by the stove, but soon grows out of it (as well as wants more than just table scraps for a meal). It becomes quite the mess.

Before you worry about where this is going…it turns out that they can’t possibly eat poor Alfred the turkey at the end because he has become a pet.

The Money Lesson(s): Sometimes it’s all-hands-on-deck with family to keep things running. And guess what? Some things that you buy to “save money” really aren’t worth it after all (though of course it was nice they got a pet…that they eventually gave away to a neighbor).

Life Lesson(s): There’s a small overtone of the early 19th century tenement life in this book; however, you’d have to dive deeper to really get that history from it.

Money Book #2: Coat of Many Colors, Dolly Parton

Ages: 4-8 years

I have to be honest here and say I expected more out of this book. I mean, after all, it’s written by Dolly Parton.

The lesson is a good one, but the rhymes left something to be desired (at least for me). Perhaps the rhymes will be musical to little kids’ ears?

Basically there is a family who has very little money. They’re given a box of rags, and the mother makes a beautiful coat for her daughter that turns out to be as colorful as Joseph’s from the bible. The daughter is proud, and so she doesn’t care when others make fun of her coat at school.

The Money Lesson(s): Most of the belongings you need are for utilitarian purposes. Like a car gets you from A to B. The fact that it can also be an entertainment center, have heated seats, and offer a choice of aisle seat or window (in three rows, no less) is irrelevant. To have what you need, it just needs to get you to the place you need to go. Just because you don’t have lots of money to spend on a super fancy ride doesn’t mean you don’t have what you need nor does it mean you should be ashamed of what you’ve been provided.

Life Lesson(s): Your mother puts a lot of love and attention into the things she does for you. That is something money can never buy.

Tough Financial Time #5: When You’re Trying to Explain Homelessness

Money Book #1: How I Learned Geography, Uri Shulevitz

Ages: 4-8 years

Is your child seeing poverty firsthand? Perhaps from homeless people on the corners, like the ones I pass here in Houston? Or maybe they don’t know how “good” they have it?

What I like about this book is that it gently introduces the topic of what poverty really looks like, from the perspective of a man who went through it as a child in Poland. One day his father buys a map with his bread money instead of bread − a seemingly ridiculous way to spend their money − but he figured they’d still be hungry after the bread was gone. The map would be a feast of the mind.

The Money Lesson(s): Poverty exists. This book shows a child what it can look like, through the eyes of another child.

Life Lesson(s): Sometimes you’ve got to think out of the box, even when resources are meager, in order to keep spirits up.

How to Teach Kids about Money Using Books: A List for Your Money Star Child

How to teach kids about money using money books. I've curated a list of money books for the Money Star Money Prodigy category. Not sure which Money Prodigy category your child is in? Come on over and have them take the financial assessment. | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/teach-kids-money-using-books-list-money-star-child/

How to teach kids about money using money books

Wondering how to teach kids about money (especially if your kiddo seems to be well beyond the basics)?

Kids in the Money Star category have the basics of money down. Heck, they’ve probably pointed a thing or two out to you along their money journey! They’ve now set their eyes on the next level, with interests in how to earn more cash, entrepreneurship, how to get their hands on the stock market, etc.

Let me help you to quench their money thirst partly with some focused money books.

Curated Book List for the Money Star

The fact is, the Money Prodigy categories don’t necessarily correlate with the age of your child. Some preschoolers know more about money than tweens, and some teens still struggle with the basics (heck, so do some adults!).

So I’ve divided these book selections up into ages − preschool, pre-tween, and tween age − within the Money Star category.

Preschooler Money Star: Your Book List

Money Book #1:  Apple Farmer Annie, Monica Wellington

Ages: 3-7 years

I get exhausted just thinking back to my cow-milking, hay-making, silo-filling days.

What I like about this book is that your child will start to get an idea of the process involved in farming and turning it into an end product − dipping their toes in entrepreneurship. Annie, an orchard farmer, takes your child through (though in a really cursory way) picking apples, sorting them, producing sweet apple cider, applesauce, various baked goods, and then selling the most beautiful of all of them at the farmer’s market.

The Money Lesson(s): When you grow your own food, you can keep some for yourself to munch on (or bake really yummy things with), and then you can sell the excess and make some money. This is also a great opener for discussing with your child your own job and how it enables you to earn money.

Life Lesson(s): All throughout the book you can feel Annie’ s enthusiasm for what she does. It’s nice to show kids that you can love what you do in life.

Bonus Money Activity: there are Annie’s recipes in the back. So you could extend the study by picking your own apples, sorting them, then making a recipe together with your child. To add money flair to it, calculate the cost to create the recipe, and how much you could earn if you sold it for X amount of dollars.

Pre-Tween Money Star: Your Book List

Money Book #1: Lulu Walks the Dogs, Judith Viorst

Age Range: 6-10 years

Lulu is quite the sassy little girl. She decides she needs to make some cash for something REALLY special, and sets her eyes on figuring out anything that will roll the dough in. Dog-walking seems to be the best suited (err, most easily lucrative) occupation. Except that she’s pretty bad at dog-walking. There’s this neighborhood kid who seems to be good at everything + super polite and helpful…but she refuses his help and good advice time and time again.

I also like that this is a short chapter book, so you can read it over several nights to your little one (or they can read it themselves).

The Money Lesson(s): Money can be made from a variety of sources if you’ve got some determination.

Life Lesson(s): Don’t be too prideful to ask for help, especially from people who could be the key in you getting what you are tirelessly trying for. A lesson that’s good for both kids and adults to learn!

Bonus Money Activity: Share several ways (or just one) of how you earned cash as a kid. How much did you make? Were you saving up for something special?

Money Book #2: How the Second Grade Got $8,205.50 to Visit the Statue of Liberty, Nathan Zimelman

Ages: 5-8 years

I love how this book organizes such a huge task − raising a large sum of money − with a child Treasurer who makes reports. The reports break down their interesting and sometimes funny methods to raise money by the expenses and then overall profits. But it’s done in a very story-telling kind of way, not like a profit-n-loss meeting. This book is hilarious!

The Money Lesson(s): You can shoot for high money goals! Also, remember that when you sell something, not all of the money you bring in is actually profit. There are expenses you incurred that you need to account for to come to your profit number.

Life Lesson(s): Have a big idea − like checking out the Statue of Liberty? All of your goals are doable. You just need to brainstorm and take action on your ideas for how to get there.

Bonus Money Activity: What are some school fundraisers you’ve participated in the past? List them out. Now, talk about which ones were successful, and which ones were not. Why do you think some were successful and some weren’t?

Money Book #3: Rickshaw Girl, Mitali Perkins

Ages: 7-10 years

How to teach kids about money + beyond can start by introducing them to the economics and realities of different cultures. Ten-year-old Naima is exceptionally good at painting (specifically designs called Alpanas). She lives in a Bangladeshi village with her mother, father, and younger sister. Unfortunately, even though they make little money, she can’t use her talents to earn money for the family because she is a girl. The father makes a living by pulling a rickshaw all day. In order to get into the profession, he had to first purchase the rickshaw. But since they have very little, he’s making payments on it.

One day Naima gets the rickshaw into an accident, threatening their entire livelihood.

Bonus Money Activity: On one rickshaw drive Naima’s, father makes is 3 taka. How much is that in US dollars? What is the US minimum wage, and how does that compare with what Naima’s father made?

Money Book #4: The Lemonade War, Jacqueline Davies

Age Range: 7-10 years

I absolutely adored this book.

Jessie and her brother, Evan, love each other. Deep down. And usually they function well as a brother/sister unit. But when Evan finds out that his very intelligent sister is going to be skipping ahead to his own grade, his bad emotions come out of nowhere.

They begin selling lemonade together, and end up starting an all-out lemonade war due to lots of miscommunication that escalate things (gee, that never happens in real life!). And who wins? The person who makes a profit of $100 by the end of the week.

The Money Lesson(s): One of the great money lessons in this book is how it’s geared towards making big business concepts understandable in terms of something your tween gets — a lemonade stand. So they learn about things like Underselling, Value-Added, Profit Margin, and Franchises. An overall highly valuable money lesson is how to take an idea you have to make money, and see it through. These two really know how to implement, and that’s where the rubber meets the road.

Life Lesson(s): I think one of the best life lessons in this book that isn’t necessarily pointed out is that each person, no matter what their skills or capabilities, can bring valuable assets to the table. Jessie is a whiz when it comes to math, calculations, and ideas for how to increase profits. Evan is more of a people person, which is hugely important in a business.

Bonus Money Activity: If you were going to open a lemonade stand, who would you appoint to the different positions? For example, who in your family would be good at advertising for the business? Who would be good at counting the money? Where would you locate your lemonade stand? Start to think about these questions.

Tween Money Star: Your Book List

Money Book #1: A Smart Girl’s Guide to Money (American Girl), Nancy Holyoke

Age Range: 9-12 years

If you’re looking for money education geared towards young girls that has a cosmo-girl feel to it, this is your book. I particularly love the guidance on how to not only start up a business, but how to figure out your actual profits and not just your overall intake (something would-be biz owners at any age need to hear). I also dig the 101 money-making ideas in the back.

Overall, the book was a little too shopping-happy for my liking for kids (example: for a typical money moments day they include things like noticing another teen has a purse that costs more than someone’s car and determining that she’s stuck-up, meeting up with teen friends at the mall after school, etc.). To be fair though, there is a chapter on Shopping that goes into the value of needs versus wants, six ways not to buy, etc.

The Money Lesson(s): This is an entire guide about money, so there are many. The list includes being a smart shopper, starting up a business, running a business, and saving money.

Life Lesson(s): Once again, it’s not a book really set up for one particular lesson or even two. However, one that caught my eye was how to negotiate with your parents to raise your allowance.

Money Book #2: Lawn Boy, Gary Paulsen

Age Range: 8-12

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: poverty breeds creativity. In this case, being a broke kid bred a whole business!

Lawn Boy is a pretty great book about a kid who started an entire lawn-mowing business − complete with workers − all because his parents didn’t have enough money to help him buy a new bike inner tube.

While this book is bent towards economics, it’s also great for making entrepreneurship seem a bit more accessible. It gives your kiddo a look into how another kid their age filled a demand for a service, and in the meantime, earned lots of money.

The Money Lesson(s): Get this book for your kiddo for the business and entrepreneur lessons. However, warn your kid about the use of penny stocks and investing their money with random people. Yes, Lawn Boy makes a small fortune when his stockbroker neighbor-turned business manager invests his money into penny stocks. But that’s not likely to happen.

Life Lesson(s): Keep your eyes open for opportunities. And sometimes? It comes in the form of work. A lot of work.

Bonus Money Activity: Think about yourself trying to start a lawn mowing business. What would you need to purchase in order to get started? How would you come up with that money to begin the business?

Money Book #3: Lunch Money, Andrew Clements

Age Range: 8-12

Greg Kenton has a mind and an eye for earning cash. You could say he’s a little money-crazy. When he figures out that all of his friends and schoolmates carry around extra quarters with them − for things like ice-cream sandwiches, cupcakes, neon pens, pencils, and other things to buy at school − he knows he needs to cash in on it in order to help him make his fortune.

The book follows his entrepreneurial journey as he navigates selling first toys, then self-made, mini-comic books to his students. Along the way he figures out how to mass-produce, he comes up against a fierce competitor, and tough school regulations against selling things where learning should be the ultimate goal.

The Money Lesson(s): I like how this book takes a subject that can be very difficult to wrap your head around − entrepreneurship and starting up a small biz − and makes it accessible to kids and adults alike. Most things are addressed in a completely non-intimidating way, such as trademark issues, creation, marketing, figuring out a solid audience to market to, earning money, gross earnings versus profits Greg gets to pocket, etc. However, the book does not get into a bit more complex subjects like taxes on earnings.

Life Lesson(s): There’s an underlying message here of learning how to read things for yourself, analyze them, then stick up for what you believe in. This happens when Greg and his competitor find out that even though they’re told they cannot sell products to kids in school, they point out the huge amount of advertisements and products being sold to the kids everyday (such as Coke in the vending machines, and books through the scholastic school program). Greg, his competitor, and a teacher end up going over the regulations and then presenting their side at the school board meeting.

Bonus Money Activity: Greg’s idea to create miniature comic books and sell them to kids is pretty unique. Ask your child if they wanted to make some extra money, what are three ways they could start doing so?

Money Book #4: Better than a Lemonade Stand!, Daryl Bernstein

Age Range: 9-13 years

I love the fact that this book was written by a 15-year old. How cool for your kid to see that!

There are 55 different business ideas for kids that go well beyond just the lemonade stand. I also love the fact that sprinkled throughout the book are real life examples of kids who took this guy’s advice (he originally wrote the book in 1992) and started their own businesses.

There’s a lot of positivity in this book, and I’ll have to warn you that you may not agree with all the advice spouted off by the then-15 year old in the beginning of the book. Examples include, “When you earn your own money, it’s yours to spend as you wish…[i]f you prefer to buy loads of candy, go ahead!” And you might want to reinforce the idea of charity against his statement of, “When I see a need, I charge a fee to fill it.”

Then again, getting to read a book from a child who is so confident with money, business building, gleaning life lessons from mistakes, and asking for the sale is an awesome role model for your own child.

The Money Lesson(s): Your child will definitely understand what start-up costs are after reading this book, as each of the 55 ideas comes with a list of what they’ll need to get the biz up and going. The crucial role of advertising, along with tons of ideas for how to, is discussed. Each idea also comes with an example of how much to charge, as well as ways to cut down on costs and increase your profits as you move along. Lots of other nuggets like “the less you spend on supplies, the more you make!”, collecting some money upfront so that you have the funds to purchase supplies, and small details to get repeat customers (like bringing along a little bell toy to leave in a bird’s cage after cleaning it so that every time the customer hears the bell they’ll think of you in a sweet way and want you to come again).

Life Lesson(s): Daryl really reinforces the idea that when you make a mistake or fail you can use the lessons as fodder for your next business. I love this “keep going” attitude.

How to Teach Kids about Money Using Books: A List for Your Money Apprentice Child

How to teach kids about money using money books. I've curated this money book list for Money Apprentices. Not sure which Money Prodigy category your child is in? Come on over and have them take this Financial Assessment. | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/teach-kids-money-using-books-list-money-apprentice-child/

How to teach kids about money using money books

Apprentices make mistakes under the watchful eyes of a master, and Money Apprentices are no different.

These are kids that understand some of the basics of money (they’re well beyond coin-counting worksheets), but haven’t exactly figured out this money thing yet. They feel confident enough to throw their hat in the ring occasionally on money discussions, but they’ve got some misinformation about the subject.

I’ve curated these books specifically for kids in the Money Apprentice category to help them with not only clarifying some money principles, but also adding onto their money knowledge bank.

Preschooler Money Apprentice: Your Book List

Money Book #1: Paddy’s Payday, Alexandra Day

Ages: 3-8 years

Wondering how to teach kids about money? A great introduction to the most common way for money to get into a person’s hands is a good place to start. Paddy is an Irish Terrier who performs for a living. It’s his payday, and he’s got a long list of ways to spend his money.

The message that I don’t like in this book is to spend, spend, spend on your payday.

However, you could turn this around by opening a discussion about which of the things Paddy spends on that are needs versus wants. Think: Boston Cream donuts, hair cut, movie ticket, dinner at a restaurant, a bouquet of flowers (Paddy’s on track to be poor before his next payday!).

The Money Lesson(s): Payday means you have money to spend on both needs and wants. To truly get this lesson, you’d have to add that in, though, because Paddy seems to spend, spend, spend (without any remark on how he’s spending his paycheck away!).

Life Lesson(s): It’s important to play as well as work, not just one without the other. Paddy works for a living, so it’s nice to see him take some time off and enjoy himself.

Bonus Money Activity: Take a few minutes to discuss with your little one where you and/or your spouse work. Discuss some of the ways you use the money you get on payday to keep the household going.

Pre-Tween Money Apprentice: Your Book List

Money Book #1: Jenny Found a Penny, Trudy Harris

Ages: 5+ years

Jenny has her eyes set on something special (though you don’t find out what it is until the end). She needs a whole dollar, so she sets out to find all the pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters she can. She also earns a dime from sweeping her grandfather’s porch and sidewalk − this is one determined gal! Unfortunately, she’s thrown for a loop at the cash register when she learns that not only does she have to save up for what she wants to buy, but also for the sales tax that is assessed on it.

The Money Lesson(s): Something you could talk about from this book is an alternative way to get that plastic piggy bank without having spent all her savings on it (such as making one from a two-liter soda bottle, or from a mason jar. Just look on Pinterest for ideas). Also, your child will be introduced to sales tax in this book, something that may well have confused them before (especially if they’ve paid attention to the price tag on an item + how it is always more at the register).

Life Lesson(s): Let others know what your goals are, and they just might help you with them.

Bonus Money Activity: Discuss sales tax with your child, and the idea that it’s different in different states and areas. Look up the sales tax in your own area for reference. Are there any items that are not assessed a sales tax?

Money Book #2: Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock, Sheila Bair

Ages: 6-9 years

This book describes two twins who live very differently, and who treat their money very differently. This becomes hugely apparent when their grandfather gives them a very intriguing proposition: He’ll pay them each $1 per week to mow his lawn and wash his car. Then he’ll match whatever they have in savings. One twin cannot keep his impulse purchases at bay − broccoli-flavored gum, anyone? − and the other ends up with a sweet $512 after 10 weeks.

The Money Lesson(s): Aside from ‘you need to have a grandfather who will match your savings from mowing his lawn and washing his car, dollar for dollar’ (ha!)? Saving money is wise for two reasons. Number one, you can afford more quality-of-life changing items. And number two, because your savings grows through interest (and through matches you can score).

Life Lesson(s): Don’t judge a person by their outside achievements. The beginning of this book is interesting because it sets up the twins in that one is a winner, and the other one is a loser. But it turns out the “loser” twin knew his stuff when it came to saving money.

Tween Money Apprentice: Your Book List

Money Book #1: Payday, Kathryn Beaton

Ages: 10-13

If you’re looking for some foundational money lessons for your Money Apprentice, then this is your book. However, this book reads more like a textbook (albeit a very juicy one if you’re into learning about money) than a regular read.

The author takes your child through money concepts such as higher-paying jobs usually mean you need more education, common paycheck deductions and why they happen, health insurance co-pays, and some of the more logistical, but basic-for-an-adult-in-the-real-world, stuff that will untangle children’s natural confusion about how money works.

A note for parents: this book is heavy on the concept of getting an allowance that is tied with your age/the complexity of chores you can complete. It also says that the average allowance given to kids is between $5-$10/week. So make sure you’re cool with this before unknowingly giving some ammo to your kids to potentially raise their allowance (yes, the book also suggests negotiating with parents for extra allowance; however, they pair this with taking on more work around the house to justify the request)!

The Money Lesson(s): This book reads kind of like an 80s educational reference book, so the money lessons are vast. Aside from the obvious ones they tackle (budgeting, paycheck, earning money, shopping wisely), they also brush on negotiating for higher pay (or higher allowance, in this case), the necessity of health insurance, why older kids in the family might receive more allowance than the younger ones, money is negotiable, becoming an NFL player is not necessarily a life plan, etc.

Money Book #2: Seventeen Against the Dealer, Cynthia Voigt

Ages: 12+

Your child may have thought about wanting to start a business, or shown some interest in running a lemonade stand. For me and my friend, it was starting a bean bag business (not much demand in them…nor supply, for that matter).

Great! Have them read this book. It’s actually Book #7 in a series; however, I didn’t read the other ones before it and thought the story worked well on its own. Dicey Tillerman sets her eyes on opening a boatyard business where she’ll craft boats for a living.

The problem? While she has a little bit of money to start, she doesn’t have a lot of business sense and she doesn’t even have a ton of boat-making experience. Of course business sense can be picked up as you go (*cough* not that I would know ANYTHING about that).

Your child can read along her journey as she makes decisions of which she suffers from consequences later, as well as subtracts out expenses from her checkbook.

The Money Lesson(s): In business you need to have contracts with the people you are serving to protect both you and them. Having enough money in the bank to pay six months’ rent + utilities is woefully inadequate when starting your own business and being unsure of where the money is going to come from. Having more than one income source “stream” is very helpful for when your other income streams aren’t doing so hot (but the bills keep coming, as they so often do). It’s important to look into business insurance so that if/when you are robbed, your ability to make money (in her case, her specialty tools needed) is not completely taken away. What you earn from business is not all the money you get to take home thanks to operating costs + fees.

Life Lesson(s): There are lots of life lessons in this book. My favorites include the need to have Plans B-D at least, not trusting complete strangers with your money, and everyone pitching in to help each other out.