I never would’ve imagined that a simple trip to Target could have evolved into such a great financial learning opportunity for my eleven-year-old daughter.
The automatic doors opened before us, my daughter’s purse slung over her shoulder. We headed to the video section, as she was looking to purchase her very own copy of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” which had recently been released. She mentioned she also wanted to get a slushy from the deli on our way out.
“You sure you have your money with you?” I asked. She opened her purse, carefully counted out twenty five dollars, and nodded her head.
She removed a copy of the movie from the display, priced at $19.99, and we headed to the register. While we waited in line, she placed a package of mints and a pack of gum next to her movie.
“Daddy, do I have enough?”
Financial Lesson #1: Don’t forget about sales tax
- I had her take out her cell phone and open the calculator app
- We added up the price of all three items
- I had her multiply the total by 0.07 (7%) and add it to the total
I explained to her that the amount we pay in sales tax is given to our government and used to provide things such as schools, roads, and police officers.
“They make kids pay for that stuff?” she asked, as she rolled her eyes.
It was close, but she had enough. When the cashier scanned the items, the total came to just over $24. My daughter received her change, and we headed for the door.
“Oh, Dad, what about my slushy?” she asked.
Financial Lesson #2: Stick to your spending plan
We walked to the deli and discovered that a small slushy would cost $1.08. Her face filled with disappointment as she realized she didn’t have enough money.
I asked her to sit down with me at one of the tables, and we talked about the concept of a spending plan:
- Without knowing it, she had created a spending plan before she left the house, planning to purchase a movie and a slushy
- Her spending plan wasn’t complete, because she didn’t know exactly how much each item cost
- She broke her spending plan by purchasing items not in it
- The consequence was she didn’t have enough money to buy the slushy
She nodded, and got up to leave. Then, smiling, I said, “I’ll buy you a slushy, if you want.” Her face lit up, and she wrapped her arms around me.
Two financial lessons AND a hug. Not a bad trip to Target at all.
Where was the most unexpected place you taught your child a financial lesson?