Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Consumer Math- What to Teach

I am writing this as a follow up to my last post on how important it is to teach our children consumer math. I wanted to talk about what we should be teaching our children so that they have a good knowledge of consumer math.

The way I see it, consumer math covers the following areas-
1) Handling money: counting, making change, etc.
2) Handling a bank account: how to write a check, deposit money, balance a checkbook, etc.
3) Shopping common sense: comparison shopping, spending where it counts (I might pinch pennies on generic food, but buying cheap tires for my vehicle does not add up to savings) figuring % off, taxes, etc.
4) Basic savings: interest, compound interest, importance of savings, short term and long term savings
5) Budgeting: how to set up a budget, needs vs. wants
6) Taxes: figuring tax on shopping trips, different types of taxes, basic tax filing, exemptions
7) Credit: how credit cards work, loans and interest, credit scores

I am sure their are other areas, but that is what I can think of now. However, I don't think the teaching begins and ends with the practical aspects. I think its also necessary to teach them the wisdom behind good finances. There is an importance to living within your needs, making wise decisions with your money and the use of discipline and self control. America has become such a consumer oriented spendthrift society- if you want it now then buy it now, don't worry about how to pay for it and forget saving for the future. Our children need to see that it is irresponsible to just spend money without a real plan involved. You need to think about what you are doing and why you are doing it.

More importantly though, as Christians we need to teach our children the proper view of money. Everything we have (everything that exists) belongs to God. It is up to God to give you whatever money He desires for you to use. If everything belongs to God then He should be in charge of how it is spent, not us. We should be giving more of God's money back to Him for His use (i.e. tithing, giving to missionaries, etc.). We should be asking God what He wants us to spend money on. We should learn to keep a biblical worldview of our finances and how we handle money.

Later I will post a little on how to teach our children consumer math.


Anonymous said...

Great thoughts Kate. If we only teach our children what to do and not why to do it, they will easily be pulled from it when something more "enticing" comes along.

Lisa @ Me and My House

Family W said...

Great post. I agree. I've used Aristoplay games to aid in this area. They're pricey if you buy them new, but I've found most of mine at thrift stores or garage sales. We're big on math around here.... all areas, but in the area of consumer math we have books devoted to this specific subject that the boys will be required to read before they graduate. Thanks for sharing! :)

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