Maybe you are new around here, or just don’t know, but I was a high school teacher for six years. I taught chemistry to mostly juniors and seniors.
But in addition to chemistry, we would have a lot of side life lessons when things we were discussing just didn’t click with them. I thought, in the long run, teaching them about life would serve them well if they still hadn’t learned it already. If I’m teaching my kids the value of a dollar, I think that these “kids” of mine should know it, too.
They liked to tell me they were “grown” and didn’t need adults in their lives. They said “I’ve got a job. I’ve got money.” They really had no clue.
So one day after a weird schedule and a little extra time, we had a talk about money and how far their job money ($8-$10/hour if you are wondering) would really get them. We did a little budget exercise to show them the money coming in and money going out. Yep, we made a budget just like my husband and I do at home.
We figured if they made a generous $10/hour and were lucky enough to work 40 hours a week, they’d have approximately $1600/month. That alone didn’t put things into perspective for them. They heard thousand and got excited. It wasn’t until we broke everything down that it started to hit home. We didn’t even take into account taxes, health insurance, social security or anything else that would be deducted.
After we accounted for all of their “must have” items: rent/mortgage, electricity, water, gas, cable, internet, clothes, hair styling, and more (yes, they made this list), they were out of money.
Check that list again….there is NO FOOD on that list. They ran out of money and didn’t even feed themselves (or their families). Hmmm. That got them thinking. And got me thinking. How in the world did these kids make it to 16-18 years old and have no real idea of how much things cost and how much their parents spend on everyday living?
I’m not sure if it really hit home with them, but if just one or two of them got it, then I call it a win. It was a reminder, too that we need to continue to teach our girls about money and what things cost so as they grow, they understand how hard they will have to work and how much things really cost.