Written by contributor Roan of Joyful Always.
My two oldest daughters are currently in the 9th and 11th grades. We have spent this school year studying Home Economics in a somewhat formal way. I feel like my three daughters practice various homemaking skills on a regular basis just by helping out around the house, but I wanted to make sure I covered everything I thought they would need to know when they were out on their own.
I made a comprehensive list of every homemaking skill I could think of. Next, I planned out our year, assigning several skills to each month. I tried to vary the skills to keep our interest high. For example, we did not sew only for two months and then cook only for the next two months. I scheduled easier to learn skills when we would be busy with other activities, and more involved skills, like sewing a skirt, during the winter months when I knew we would be mostly at home.
I hope to feature some of our Home Economics studies over the next few months. This month I will share our lesson about Budgeting.
No matter if my daughters live at home until they are married, live on their own in an apartment or house, or live with us long term, there will be a point when they will be responsible for their own finances and will need to know how to manage their money. Even if my daughter marries a man who manages their finances, she will still have to learn to budget the money she has for grocery shopping and other things.
Here is how I conducted the lesson:
- I used a whiteboard, and my girls used a calculator and a notebook for taking notes.
- I gave them an imaginary amount of monthly income. I had no idea how to decide upon a figure, so I just chose $2000, because I thought that would be an easy number to work with. I really don’t know if that is a reasonable figure, but it gave us a starting point.
- I listed every single expenditure I thought they would have on the board. The list included charitable giving, rent, groceries, health insurance, car payment or car savings, savings, utilities, discretionary spending, etc. My daughters thought of a couple of categories too–craft money and Christmas present money.
- We started plugging in amounts and began crunching numbers to see how it would all fit. They were astonished at how quickly the money dwindled after paying things like rent, utilities, insurance, and groceries. They learned that there would be expenses like car and health insurance and other car expenses like gasoline and maintenance.
- I shared with them that while some expenses would be incurred only yearly or twice a year, they still needed to budget for that item monthly. So, if their car insurance premium was $120 every 6 months, they would need to budget and save $20 each month in order to have the $120 when the bill was due. They decided to create a Christmas savings fund by contributing a small monthly amount.
- We discussed bill paying (set aside one day a week to pay bills), credit card use (only use it if you can pay the entire balance each month), saving for the future, saving for a car once they had their current car paid for, and how to balance their checkbook.
- They added the completed monthly budget to their Home Economics Notebook. My hope is that when they actually have to manage all of their own expenses, they will some guidance and hopefully success.
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