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Teaching Kids About Money

“Mom, I’m gonna die.”

That’s the manner in which Grace greeted me upon entering the vehicle yesterday after school.

“You won’t die, Grace. Who said what?”

“No,” replied Grace, as convicted as Henry anytime he’s accused of absolutely anything including breathing. “I’m seriously going to die. I don’t have enough money to live.”

At this, I’m sure you can understand my confusion.

Before I could ask even half of my next question, however, she considerately launched into explanation. With no consideration whatsoever for my question. But whatever.

“We’re doing this project in Humanities. We have to randomly draw a job, a family status, and a city from a hat. Then we have to figure out how to live. Like, with real data. Like, I have to go online and figure out how to live in Phoenix on a carpenter’s salary. With 3 kids.”

“You’re a carpenter?” I asked with great excitement.

“I make $33000 a year,” she continued without pause. “I have 3 kids. We live in the ghetto in a 1-bedroom, 1-bath condo. I can’t afford a car. Or 5 bikes. So we take the metro. Thankfully there’s a discount for young kids.”

“Oh, great! How old are your kids?”

“I don’t know,” she continued dismissively. “I have $40 per month for clothes. That’s $10 per person. That doesn’t go real far. Even at Goodwill!”

The degree to which she was disturbed by all of this made me wonder if she realized this was JUST AN EXERCISE AND NOT REALITY.

“I can’t afford a monthly cable or WiFi package, so I’m able to get only one hour of cable and one hour of WiFi each month. AND I’m supposed to be donating a portion of my income to a charity, and when I was asked what my charitable choice was, I was just like ‘PEOPLE I’M MY OWN CHARITY. IT’S CALLED HELP GRACE LYONS.’ So, yeah, I’m keeping that money.”

“We have $130 per month for food. My food costs more than the rent. We’re living on Taki and Juice boxes.”

I thought of asking why she was spending money on juice boxes. And where she found an apartment for less than $130 per month in downtown Phoenix.

Then I thought better of it.

“My friend, Ashleigh, got a car off eBay. I asked her what it cost. She said $125. I said, ‘Ashleigh, that’s just for the battery.’”

In case you’re wondering whether or not Grace talks as much as I do, she doesn’t.

Pretty sure a handwritten Thank You note is going to her Humanities teacher Monday along with 8 dozen cupcakes.

  • Author avatar
    Elizabeth Lyons

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