Money doesn’t grow on trees

Courtesy of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual)

This activity will help you and your family talk about the importance of household finances while raising awareness about the monthly costs of things you take for granted — lights, hot water, heat and a place to live. You and your family will have an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of why you can’t always purchase that new video game, toy, clothing or upgrade for your house — and why it’s important to save for those kinds of things because money doesn’t grow on trees.

Money doesn’t grow on trees: 

A financial activity for families

What you need:

• Play money

• Your actual monthly housing bills

• Paper

• Pens, pencils or markers

• Calculator

Prep time: 30 minutes

Activity time: 1 hour

How to play:

1 | Determine your monthly budget.

2 | Give each child an appropriate amount of play money to cover monthly household expenses and some spending money.

3 | Have everyone sit down and review the actual household bills (water, mortgage, cable, electricity, etc.).

4 | Explain each bill to the children and discuss as a family. Have the children pay the amount due with their play money.

5 | The money the kids have left after the bills are “paid” is for them to decide what to do with it. Discuss ways for them to save the money to purchase something they’d like or how they could donate to a worthy cause.

6 | As a family, talk about the various ways you could save money on the household expenses, so there might be more money left each month for other things they may want to purchase.

• Can you save water by turning the faucet off while brushing teeth?

• Could you save money on electricity by making sure the lights are off when no one is in the room using them?

• Would an extra blanket or sweatshirt keep you just as warm as turning up the heat?

• Can you clip coupons for groceries?

• Could you eat at home instead or going to a restaurant or getting takeout?

• Repeat this game each month for a few months and compare the current month’s bills to the previous month’s bills so everyone can see the savings for themselves!

Provided by Amy L. Chen, CLU, Director of Multicultural Market Development (1-800-767-1000, Ext. 42056).

© 2013 Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Springfield, MA 01111-0001. All rights reserved. www.massmutual.com. MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives.

This post is also available in: Chinese

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