Teaching kids about budgeting

I grew up in Berkeley in the 1960s and ’70s. Most of his working life, my dad was a letter carrier. We were financially ‘sound,’ but didn’t have much ‘extra’ money. Travel mostly included staying at vacation homes we borrowed from friends, or visiting my uncle and his family in Napa.

Around 1970, my parents decided to plan a vacation to visit my mom’s sister and her family in Soldotna, Alaska. My mom decided to sub in the local school district to raise the extra money we needed (she had been a PE teacher before marriage).

Here’s where they got really smart.

They created a thermometer chart that hung on the wall in the kitchen, and they would ‘raise up the temperature’ in the thermometer every time mom got a paycheck. This allowed us kids to see the progress of the saving for our family vacation.

photo showing a pond with lily pads
My aunt and uncle had a cabin on a lake similar to this one. Photo courtesy of Viaggi-USA

This was a pretty simple, perhaps ‘unnecessary’ step, but it engaged us kids in the process of saving for the trip, and taught us that ‘money doesn’t grow on trees.’

Thanks, Mom and Dad! 💗