Sunday, October 9, 2011

Personal Finance

I made this personal finance game for a couple reasons. One was to give Capt. N a little more math practice in a fun way. I also want him to see how what he's learning now relates to real life situations. And, I was looking for an excuse to have a student store. This game incorporates all those things and has opened the dialogue about being responsible with your money.

He has a job that pays $1000/month. His bills equal $900/month plus interest. If he wants to buy anything more fun than an eraser or pencil from the student store he needs to earn bonus money. So far he's really enjoying this game and asks occasionally when pay day is. I'm sure that's just because he wants to get goodies from the student store, but at least he wants to play along.

Some of this is a little above Capt. N's 8 year old math skills. But, we have these simple definitions to refer to when needed.

I gave him the job of janitor. In return for his work he gets paid $500 twice a month.

He can also earn bonus money by doing things like finishing a chapter in a book or getting 100% on a math test.

Just like in real life, he has bills to pay. His rent is $750, due the first of every month. He also has the option to purchase his home if he saves enough of his money.

His other bill is a car loan, with interest. The minimum amount due is $150, due the 20th of each month. He also has the option to pay this off early so he doesn't have to waste his money on paying interest. Although, so far he hasn't wanted to pay any more than the minimum amount. This is a lesson in algebra where a+b=c. It takes us a few minutes to get through this part, but I'm amazed at how well he's getting it even though we've only gone over it twice so far. I give him scratch paper to work out most of the answers, but on the one division problem he gets to use a calculator - which he loves.

I opted to use a checking account rather than real-fake money. I wanted him to do the money transactions on paper to practice adding & subtracting large numbers as opposed to just counting out the money to me. So, I made a check book & to pay his bills he writes me a check.

This is his checking account register. I write in the deposits, he writes in the withdrawals.

The student store.
Each pay day he has the option to buy certain items if he has enough money. His favorite things to buy are the fun erasers. He also writes me a check for his store purchases.

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