Monday, July 12, 2010

Helping in the Home: Living on a Budget

I don't know about any of you, but when I was little I always wanted to get treats when we were at the store. Some times, my mom would oblige, but sometimes I'd get the "nope, we don't have the money right now." At six, I didn't really get that money ebbs and flows (more ebbing than flowing in my case... that's what happens when you're unemployed). As I got older, I learned. However, here's a lesson to help your kids start to understand budgeting now.

Things You'll Need: $3 in change (assuming you make about $3000/month. Adjust the amount of change you use according to your actual income. This will make it more realistic). A list of some of your basic expenses: food, clothes and diapers, power, gas, rent or mortgage payment, utilities, loan payments, medical bills, insurance, credit card payments, car payments, ect and approximately how much each costs. The more extensive the list, the more realistic the activity will be.

Song: Primary Children's Songbook, Teach Me to Walk in the Light, Page 177.

Lesson: Begin by asking your family if they know how much it costs to live in your house. Then ask if they know how much it costs to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Then ask if they know how much it costs to ride in the car, take showers or baths, or to be able to turn the lights and water on. A lot of times, kids don't understand that all that stuff costs money. Talk about how you have to work at your job to make money. That money then has to pay for all the stuff that you just talked about.

Activity: Take your change and lay it out so that everyone can see it. Then pull out your list of monthly expenses. Each dollar will be equivalent to $1000 of income. Every $.10 is equivalent to $100 and every penny is equivalent to $10. Proceed to go down the list and pull out each item's cost from your pile of change. Once you get to the bottom, talk about what happens to any left over money... if there is any. If you put any in savings or if you use it for recreation or whatever happens to it, make sure all your change is accounted for. Then, close with a brief discussion on the importance of saving up for a rainy day and living within you means.

Treat: Homemade Donuts
Making donuts out of refrigerator biscuits is easy and yummy. Get enough biscuits for each person to have at least one. Open the biscuits and cut a nickle-sized hole (approx.) out of the middle of each biscuit. Use anything you have on hand. (I've used empty prescription pill bottles, the wide side of icing tips, and empty water bottles turned upside-down). Fill a small pot with canola oil (or some similar oil), just enough to cover the biscuits. Cook on Medium-High heat until golden brown and puffy. Pull out of the oil and dip in granulated sugar or powdered sugar. Or make a powdered sugar or chocolate glaze to pour over them. Enjoy!