Lessons about money as a child can start with the question “Money or candy?”
Americans have a difficult relationship with money, in large part because of what we learned (or didn’t) as children.
In most families, money is as taboo as sex, which is why more than half of Americans reported in a recent study that either no one taught them money or they learned how to manage finances on their own.
Parents or guardians have been the biggest source of information for children lucky enough to receive basic instruction.
Regardless of the age of your children or grandchildren, there is no better time to give your family – and your entire neighborhood – a little lesson in money, as it’s Halloween now and money is flowing freely between the youth when their question is “Trick or treat?” welcomed by your answer “Money or candy?”
This is what I have been doing at my home every year since 2016, becoming a fun, fabulous and beloved personal tradition that teaches money, decision making and more.
I change my system every year to make it interesting for both me and the children.
But whether you’re using my system or your own, come up with something that makes kids think of candy as a valuable commodity. From there, the fun flows freely.
Start by setting a baseline; visiting me in a suit “brings” three fun candies worth about 37.5 cents.
The kids in third grade can play my version of Let’s Deal, giving up candy for something else.
In 2016, the choice was obvious: take a candy or an envelope with a coin, which must contain at least a quarter, and get a jackpot of $ 5.
Since this is the only home in the area where cash is given out, it is not surprising that 50 children took the money; There would have been two more, but there were no envelopes. Four children at once chose sweets.
In 2017, kids could choose an envelope that contained between 25 cents and 3 dollars, or they could exchange collected candy to choose an envelope containing between 50 cents and five dollars.
All 48 children who took the money became big; four children wanted candy.
In 2018, when trading one candy in an envelope, it was between $ 50 and $ 4. [half of these “small-money envelopes” held the 50-cent minimum], when trading three sweets, I earned an envelope from a basket, in which half of the bags contained from 1 to 10 dollars, and the other half had no money at all.
The total amount of money at stake in big money envelopes was only 50 cents more for small money envelopes; if all the envelopes were played, the children would get about the same average score, no matter how many candies they gave me.
Only 43 children played for big money – 23 went home empty-handed, another 22 chose a safer choice, and 10 were stuck with candy.
In 2019, I added a lottery element, the additional option of exchanging six candies to play for the $ 20 jackpot, but all envelopes except the winner and the $ 10 second prize were empty.
Thirteen children played the lottery and a boy named Liam won the big jackpot. He will never forget Halloween when he won 20 bucks.
About 40 are equally divided into other options; Ironically, kids who wanted a guaranteed win but a smaller potential jackpot ended up winning more than kids who gambled for something bigger, as roughly half of these players didn’t take anything home.
COVID-19 made a difference in 2020 with a 3-piece candy gift bag, a $ 1 gift card to your nearest ice cream shop, a set of quarter to five dollar envelopes, and a lottery option. …
The envelopes always include an explanation of choice and likelihood; I ask the children not to look until they get home and discuss the results with their parents, asking what mom or dad could have done.
There are lessons about risk and reward, about choice and the value of money.
The kids took a total of about $ 55 from me last year, just over $ 1.25 per child who preferred cash candy. The ice cream certificate – which raised my cost per customer from 37.5 cents of candy to a dollar – was worth it, if only to support the local business.
Another benefit: It limits my personal weakness for candy.
It’s worth the money just to hear young people talk about money (and sometimes their parents). Moreover, I am that guy in the house who no longer has small children playing in the yard or going to the bus stop; You cannot be afraid of the neighbor’s old man if he gives you money for Halloween.