Compulsory Consumer Finance Education Discussion

edited 25 November 2009 at 12:14AM in Student MoneySaving
193 replies 14K views


  • Just teach kids of all ages 2 things - 1 how to do mental arithmetic and 2 how to negotiate. Go round a supermarket and check out e.g. how to decide what size bottle of ketchup to buy. Not necessarily the biggest or even the buy 2 get 1 free. They will learn quickly how to look at price per 100ml but then when there is an offer you can bet it will be 2 x 275ml bottles and price is for the 2 not per 100ml etc etc
    Then do a session on how to buy a car - find out value of trade in by searching on web for similar cars, get figure for replacement car (same source) check out bargaining points, free (?) insurance, warranty etc and then negotiate.
    Both of these are life skills which young generation do not have and as a result they have grown up thinking the price asked is the price you pay. Tell story of Patel Snr who set up Patel newsagents - came here in 60's (70's?) and could not believe that shops had everything priced and that was what people paid!
  • I also forgot one important aspect of learning about money - the emotional side. Understanding why we spend money the way we do? Why do we want that big box of chocolates, that latest pair of trainers. I guess that sometimes it's not always healthy to spend spend spend even when it can be afforded because if that money is no longer there can the person change their spending habits?

    This debate has raised some really interesting points and I am actually really pleased to hear of so many parents who are already trying to instil in their children the responsiblity of money. Good on you !
  • echos_mumechos_mum Forumite
    22 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    [FONT=&quot]Young pupils could be taught the way we were in the 50's (if this is not still being used) using the shopping trip with £x to buy a list of items and do the sums to see what's left, but then briefly discuss what they would leave out if they didn't have enough, or why they would buy a certain thing - the advertising effect etc. at a low level.

    Also there must be some budding children's authors out there who understand how children learn, who could write stories introducing the ideas of money management, decisions on what to buy when there isn't much money, but still be happy about the purchase. Maybe bringing in pocket money and how it can be used to get things that are value for money. Not the Oliver Twist level of poverty, but just an understanding of even when there seems to be lots of money, it can be almost all spoken for just to have the necessities.

    With senior school children, it can still be brought into the "normal" curriculum subjects in a subtle way, in maths, English, & History as already mentioned, but why not set up each class as a "family" with income-earners, mortgage, household bills, child-benefits, pension contributions, insurances, 2 cars, hobbies, weekly papers, maybe cigarettes, social lives, school trip costs, uniforms, etc.

    Each week, for just a short time, face the class with some change e.g. increase in mortgage rate, or increase in savings income - what are the effects on the net disposable income? Or bring in the need to pay for essential new school uniforms in September, and Christmas costs in Nov/Dec - all the trimmings, presents, cards, postage, travel - also the summer holiday costs.

    Hit them with a drop in earnings through a work re-organisation, or add income from an evening job. All looked at in the context of how it affects us, what we can do to mitigate bad effects, how we should look to protect our future and save for University costs, weddings, new baby, etc. Bring in to each decision how the marketing of services and goods can affect our choices, and how important it is to give the correct amount of time to making the decisions which can affect us for many years - again mortgages, insurances, savings, pensions - -

    The "answers" wouldn't really have to be exact, more a discussion of roughly what the effect would be, and how it could be best handled in the light of the financial liquidity of the "family".

    This can be followed right through senior school with the challenges becoming more complex, with reading matter to support the main areas for understanding, perhaps written by someone like Martin in conjunction with someone who can explain all that stuff mentioned by dots_thots in "plain English" at a teenagers level of understanding.

    I think that a lot of parents would appreciate this approach as they are often reluctant to discuss specifics about their own income, because frequently children will only remember the income, not the expenditure or remainder! Also the class route removes all comparisons between pupils' own financial family background.[/FONT]
  • RosemaryRosemary Forumite
    15 Posts
    10 Posts
    I am both parent and teacher. Three/four years ago in school we set up an exercise that we did with yr 7's which lasted for 2 one hour lessons (would have liked more). They had £1000 to spend to cover a month's outgoings. This had to cover rent, fuel bills, any car they may have to find, food and luxuries like the cinema etc. The kids loved it. Staff involved had a 'stall' where each one of us was visited by a group of pupils (they were rotated by the use of a whistle) and we each had a different area on which to convince them to spend their money viz. holidays, food, clothing, luxuries, rent and utility bills. The noise in the hall was phenomenal from this! The following lesson, the pupils had to use a computer to spend their food money for the week. This could include toiletries, cleaning products and other items one can now purchase from a supermarket. Interesting to see which ones bought the Coke and crisps first! A very useful exercise which they felt showed them what money had to be spent on. A while after, students still said how much they had enjoyed this exercise. System in school changed and we don't do it like this any more! So I give this to you Martin as an idea that worked. Also gets to use the DCSF's latest teaching strategies where the pupils find things out for themselves!
  • XRATXRAT Forumite
    237 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Never mind the kids, tell the minister to reserve Gordon Brown a seat in the front row of the first class.
  • I have always taught my 2 children aged 10 n 16, that they must save for everything and never go into debt to buy anything, if whatever is worth buying then it is always worth saving up for!!
  • Compound interest! I got myself into serious trouble by simply not understanding that the 15.9% interest I had signed up to for my 5 year loan would not be calculated just once on the overall figure but each and every year! I also tried to lower an existing loan by about £1,000 by making a lump sum payment only to find that I was massively penalised for trying to repay it early. Please, please teach kids about these important issues!
  • MMCG_2MMCG_2 Forumite
    280 Posts
    Here in N Ireland, as part of a revamped Curriculum, we have introduced Personal Development and Mutual Understanding - PDMU. Some of the resources which have been provided at primary level include a money topic which we can adapt to suit our topic work and try to teach children about being responsible with money. These are available (to all I think, )for downloading at I am currently adapting and trying these out with my eight year olds and I am impressed at how the children are learning and enjoying the topic. I suggest Mr Ball encourage the development of similar resources on the mainland.
    2p or not 2p? That is the question!
  • I have been a primary school teacher for more than 30 years and last year I came across one of the best ways to teach children about money. It is called Micro Society and is organised by Education Business partnerships. I mainly teach Year 5 or 6 children, my class absolutely loved it. They learned so much and were very keen to learn - we created our own society with its own currency, rules, government, taxation and businesses. We had speakers in from businesses and local government. The children set up their own businesses having already agreed how much money they would be given as a personal allowance. We had trading sessions where they traded goods that they had made or designed, if they brought anything in from the 'outside world' then they had to pay import duty.
    I would recommend this as one method - I wonder if Ed Balls has heard of it.
  • XRATXRAT Forumite
    237 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    Kids should be taught the difference between income and disposable income.

    Simple budgeting like;

    That if they earn £500/month but have to spend £300 on food, drink and shelter in order to survive, then that £1000 car is going to cost five months work not just two months.

    Keep it simple, show them two identical products, one priced at £1000 and one at £1500, ask which they would buy and point out that difference is.., one was bought on credit.

    Show them the result of saving and budgeting.., that by buying electricity on a key meter and shiver, or buy it at half the price on direct debit and be warm at the same cost.

    That if a bank says it will charge £20/month every time you take a penny or two without asking, believe it and to save a buffer to ensure that they never go overdrawn. They should be encouraged to work out the equivalent % interest on a 5p overdraft with a £20 charge.

    How to work out what 'just a packet of cigarettes' a week, or 'cup of coffee' a day is going to cost every year.
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