I don’t really remember my family EVER discussing money or budgeting. In those fleeting moments, the value of money and its impact on the rest of your life was never discussed.
When I was married, I truly lacked that basic financial information needed. I lacked the advice from my parents and didn’t realize how important it was to have something tangible like real estate or other assets. I realized that I didn’t want my children to have to pay their way out of debt.
I wanted them to have little or no debt and that cannot happen without validating money and how their choices can impact their lives.
Although there are books about saving and books about counting money, this series of books written by Candi Sparks does something more than just identify money. It discusses money in a tangible way that can easily be understood by children. My favorite book was Max Gets It which was Volume 3 in the Can I have Some Money? Series.
Max wants a new video game after working with fake money in class. As an assignment, there are given the opportunity to see how he could earn extra money for a video game. Max soon learns the difference between an impulse buy and one that requires saving. His mother and father help him achieve a budget plus allocating some money to go towards “Fun Spending”.
In the end, Max was able to use all the tools he learned to save up for a new game and then some.
I loved the distinction between saving for something and impulse buying. I am such an impulse buyer! It is really one of those things I myself need to learn to stop doing. Children do follow by example and at the moment I am not portraying a very positive one.
One of our goals is to budget out for my son’s big want which is a Power Wheel for his birthday and he is old enough to do chores to earn some money.
One of our ideas is to place a picture of what he wants on a jar to help him save more of his weekly allowance. This is just a simplified version of the budgeting system taught in the book. My son is 4 and it is a little easier this way.
This book lets us discuss openly and honestly why we can’t always just “buy” something that they want.
The second book we read together was Nacho Money, which discussed how easy it is to get into debt, how to get a loan, and the penalties when it is not paid on time.
Max borrows a video game from one of his friends and cannot remember where to find it. He panics because he will have to figure out a way to either pay her back or find the disc. At the same time, his library books are late and are accruing late fees and he impulsively spends his older brother’s tend dollars on pizza and drinks.
Max soon learns that he has put himself into debt. His mom discusses the options of a loan in exchange for extra chores and through a few bumps in the road, Max is able to gain financial independence.
I loved how this book touched on personal financial responsibility and discussed debt in a way that can easily be learned by children. I also like how Max learns responsibility and that items that are not yours should always be treated with respect.
These books made it easy for my son and even my daughter to understand the basics of money management. It is unique in that, Ms. Sparks uses correct vocabulary and provides a list of the Financial Literacy Concepts that will be discussed in the book.
At the end of the books are scrambled word puzzles and even discussion questions that can be used in groups or in conjunction with the activities one has created.
As a former educator, I see this book as being useful for Literacy Centers and Math Centers relying on the real world exposure that children need to make wise and effective money decisions.
Candi Sparks is a mother of two and holds several financial licenses. She has been helping families from all walks of life on the road to financial freedom. The “Can I have Some Money?” books and workshops are designed for children and the families that love them.
I was sent these books for review but my opinions are my own.