It's almost time for the kids to head back to school. My kids have grown quite a bit and need to do some serious clothes shopping this year. I always try to fit lessons into the activities that we do and back to school shopping is no exception. As soon as the kids were old enough to understand addition, I started involving them in making decisions about how to spend their school budget.
This printable is the one that we use for clothing shopping. I think its great to get the kids thinking about budgets and their spending. Plus, it makes it much easier to explain why you can't buy ten Abercrombie shirts when they can look at the numbers themselves.
Here's what we do:
1. We sit down together and come up with how many of each item of clothing they will need and fill in the first column.
2. Then, kids need to go through all their clothing and try things on and write in the numbers for the "have" column.
3. Now that they are old enough, I have them do the math to fill in the "buy" column with the number they need to buy.
4. Then, we sit down together and I help them divide up their budget for an approximate amount that they will have to spend on each of the item categories.
5. After that, we head to the mall. They use a pencil to fill in the amount they spend on each item (They round to the nearest dollar, and I don't make them figure in tax) and check off each category when they have gotten what they need.
6. The "extra" column is filled in if they buy all the items they need in that category for less than the total budgeted. They can then apply the "extra" money to other categories if they need more. Dear Daughter is planning to spend her extra at Abercrombie. Dear Son is asking if he can use his extra to buy Legos. I think I'm going to have to say no or he will end up with one pair of jeans, one t-shirt, and a room full of Legos, lol.
7. I also have them total up how much they spend to make sure they stayed within their budget.
I know it sounds a bit complicated, but it really has taught the kids a lot about budgeting and spending. And it has been GREAT for helping to explain why they can't buy all designer brands. They are also learning the if they spend a little less in one category, they can spend a little more on some brand name that they "have" to have.
This method has worked great for us over the years. If you'd like to use our printable, you can find it here. If you have other methods, please leave us a comment, we'd love to hear from you!