Low-Cost or No-Cost Financial Literacy Activities

Create a money journal – Track everything you spend for the week, and write it down in a money journal. It will show you and the rest of your family just how easy small purchases like a morning coffee and magazine at the convenience store can really start to add up.

Holiday and Birthday Gifts – Make a picture collage using your favorite pictures and cardboard. You can even tape or glue quotes next to the pictures to add a special touch. If pictures aren’t your thing, bake some cookies or create a notebook full of your favorite quotes or poems that remind you of the birthday girl or guy.

Mother’s Day & Father’s Day – How about making your mom or dad a coupon book full of handy certificates they can use throughout the summer instead of buying an expensive gift. Some handy ideas include: “Free Breakfast in Bed,” “One Free Day of Yard Work,” “After-Dinner Clean-Up Duty” or “Three Free Car Washes.”

Vacation planning – Planning a road trip? Budget all of the expenses that you might encounter on the trip. Don’t forget about candy/drinks at the gas station when you stop to fill up or souvenirs from all your stops.

Encourage Children to save their allowance leading up to the vacation, so that they can buy their own souvenirs or that new toy they’ve been wanting.

Make a day at the bank – Bring the family along and talk to your children about the different types of accounts that are available. Set up checking or savings accounts for your children and while you’re there, set up your own savings account if you don’t already have one. Don’t forget about the importance of emergency savings accounts as well.

Read a money-minded book – Take a trip to the library and add money-minded books to your child’s reading list for those light homework evenings or for a weekend read.

Play restaurant – Instead of going out to eat tonight, make your very own restaurant. With the family, design a menu with your favorite home-cooked meals (or search the Internet for some new recipes). Have each family member pick a course and cook it all together. This is also a fun way to dress up any meal you eat at home.

Holiday Savings Account – Whether you save in an additional account or set aside some money each month in a piggy bank, start saving now for the holiday season. You’ll find it rewarding and nice to know you won’t be charging your holiday gifts this year…or going into debt at the start of the New Year! Encourage your children to set aside a portion of their allowance each month too.

Garage sale – Have a garage sale and have the proceeds go toward a family vacation or another financial goal.

Family game night – This game night, play a money-minded game like Life or Monopoly.

Donation day – Turn any rainy day into a donation day! Clean out your closet or gather toys and games you don’t use gather them all together and drive to your nearest donation center or charity and make a tax deductible donation.

Encourage saving early – Set up 4 small boxes (banks) for children to organize their money: Savings, Charity, Emergency, and one Just for Fun (to spend how they choose). Determine a weekly allowance and the amount to be deposited into each bank ahead of time. Children learn how small amounts add up over time and the power of an emergency fund to replace a favorite broken toy.

Learn about the cost of debt – Be sure to remind children that loans can be costly. Borrowing means you pay more than the item is worth and you have less money to spend later. If children save to buy a toy now, they are more likely to save to make big purchases later rather than depending on credit cards for instant gratification.

Brought to you by Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants