Teaching My Kids How to Use ‘Invisible Money’ in Today’s World

This week’s guest blogger is Rachelle Clare, a team member at Jackson Charitable Foundation, Discovery Education’s partner in the Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids financial literacy program.

When my 6-year-old son said, “Mom, you should use your ATM card and get out one million dollars, then we would be rich,” I knew he didn’t understand the concept of “Invisible Money”.  This prompted me to think about how I learned the concept and where I had missed an opportunity with my boys.

When I was younger, every Thursday we had to go to the bank on the way home. My mom would put her paycheck in the bank and take out the cash she needed for the week. Now, paychecks are deposited via direct deposit and our youth do not see the money. Let’s be honest, most of us don’t pay attention either. Credit cards and Debit cards are regularly used instead of cash to pay for goods and services, so kids are rarely seeing cash used for these purchases.

In today’s digital age, kids seldom experience the physical exchange of money. Unfortunately, our lives are so busy that it can be difficult to slow down and take the time to teach our kids about money.  When I found out there are fun and educational resources available specifically geared toward elementary ages, I had to take advantage! Cha-Ching helps kids understand that “invisible” money has the same power as paper money and can have an even more significant impact on financial well-being.

Invisible Money Cha-Ching episode # 12 introduces students to the concept of credit cards and the fees associated with using them in a way that kids can relate. In the video, the Cha-Ching band uses a credit card while planning a party and quickly goes over budget because they do not account for the invisible money spent or the fees associated with the card. For my family, this video was the perfect conversation starter to discuss different forms of currency.

It is more important than ever before to begin educating youth about the concept of invisible money and there is no better time than now to take the Cha-Ching Money Smart Pledge. Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids uses a fun and interactive approach to explore the key choices we have with money; earn, save, spend and donate. Classroom activities that are reinforced at home can have a huge impact in the financial literacy of youth. And, it is a great reminder for the adults involved too!

Parents and teachers can enter the 2019 Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids! Contest on behalf of their child’s school and pledge to teach elementary students how to earn, save, spend and donate. Plus, with each pledge, your child’s school is entered to win ten thousand dollars for their school along with other great prizes!

There are many creative and simple ways for educators and parents to bring financial literacy to the forefront each day. As a second grader, I remember having classroom “dollars” that we earned for various reasons like being good listeners or getting perfect scores on our spelling tests. We were then able to use our dollars to buy prizes from the classroom store. For parents they could go into the bank instead of using the ATM, using cash instead of a card or even talking about your credit card bill when you receive it.

When educators and parents team up to focus on the concept of financial literacy beginning at a young age, together, we can lead our youth toward a brighter financial future.