The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation
2Samuel 22:47

17 August 2010

$6 in economics & entertainment

*Please note: the $6 lesson does not include costs incurred at Starbucks. Proceed with that knowledge beforehand!!

One of our favorite back-to-homeschool traditions over the last several years has actually ended up being a great lesson in economics with a strong emphasis in budgeting.

And it has turned out to be a great deal of entertainment for me as well.

Each year, when Target rolls out their school supplies and starts advertising them for cheap {you know, the $0.25 box of crayons, Crayola no less!} the kids and I load up in the van to make the hour-long pilgrimage to my favorite store. (This does work at any store of your choice, I just happen to be a Target sort of girl.)

I recommend swinging by Starbucks, ordering the coffee of your choice, and then finding an employee and asking if they would mind setting up an end-of-season lawn or patio chair in the school supply section of the store. Experience has proven that this simple and fun lesson takes awhile. {Trust me}

The rest is simple: I hand my sons $6 in cash and tell them that they can buy any school supplies they would like, as long as they don't go over budget and they have to figure in tax. Then, I sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

I love to watch them first skim over the entire section of school supplies, noting prices and selection. Then they start to gather. Then calculate. Then bargain with themselves:
"If I trade the Crayola for the Roseart, that saves me $1.50. Or, I can always go with the 24-count pencils and save $0.46."

And then, they start to bargain with each other:
"If you buy the jumbo pack of Ticonderoga pencils and get the 10-pack of glue sticks, I'll get the economy pack of pens and we can split them. That will save us each $0.72"

This lesson can go on for well over an hour, but I generally call it quits at an hour, causing them to have to budget their time as well. I use the time to browse around the school supply section myself, inhaling deeply because I love the smell of fresh paper and pens and soft pink erasers and glue. . .on second thought, maybe I should not be inhaling so deeply around the glue sticks. Hmm, that may explain a few things. Anyway, it is a cheap lesson in budgeting and being wise with their money. It is fun to see what they pick out for the coming year and I have noticed that the responsibility they exercise with school supplies thought out and picked out themselves is remarkably better than the things they can pull off of our 'community' school supply shelf.

I am all about school this week and will be sharing more as time permits. So excited for Monday, our first day of the new year.


  1. Oh, I love that idea! We do something similar on vacation: each of us older girls gets $5 for each lunch we eat. Then we go to a restaurant and each make seperate orders. If there's change, we keep it. If the order is too much...I suppose we'd have to drop something or use our carefully saved trip fund. But it's so very fun! I'll have to suggest it to Mom.

  2. Annual income 20 pounds,annual expenditures 19 pounds sixpence;result happiness.Annual income 20 pounds,annual expenditures 20 pounds ought and six;result misery.......Wilkens Macaber from David Copperfield,(,the Dickens you say.)
    Very good economics lesson Hollie!! I don't know how Starbucks fits,though, as that is from Moby Dick,Starbuck being the 1st mate on the Pequod and Melville wrote that ,not Dickens.Maybe they both had an espresso together as they were contemporaries.I'm leaning toward that connection.Love to all .. Dad/Granpa Bil!

  3. Well said, Grampa Bill! I should of done that while raising our girls. Hollie, I can't say it enough " " I am so proud of you and Bob. Love to all. Gramma