Learning about spending, saving

Published 12:13 am Saturday, September 4, 2010

Diana Lee teaches kids how to save money

When asked about their wants, third-graders at Troy Elementary School quickly responded with a lively list –Game Boys, X-Boxes, DSs, Ipods and a puppy.

Diana Lee, Troy Bank & Trust marketing officer, spoke to the students on Friday and talked with them about spending and saving and the big and important difference between the two.

“The students were very attentive as we talked about the differences between spending and saving and their wants and needs,” Lee said.

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“They seemed to understand that the things that we want and the things that we need are not always the same.”

Their understanding was evident in the needs they listed – food, water and houses. Clothes were listed somewhere between wants and needs.

But Lee told the students that even their needs vary within the means of their families. “We all need food but that doesn’t mean that we have to eat at a restaurant,” she said.

“We all need water but that doesn’t mean that we have to buy expensive bottled water. We all need a place to live but we don’t have to live in mansions or big houses with swimming pools.”

The students appeared to be most wide-eyed about the difference between the needs and wants of clothing.

“We all need clothing but we don’t have to have Hannah Montana jeans,” Lee told the students.

The students also learned about personal budgets and how to make and keep a budget.

Deb Davis, third grade teacher, said Lee’s presentation was part of a reading unit that included the importance of wise spending and the need to save money.

“We read a story about a little boy who used to be rich, ‘last Sunday,’” Davis said.

“But he spent money on frivolous things, like bubble gum and before long, he was not rich anymore.”

Davis said Lee’s presentation was a good story re-enforcer and made the students more aware that money doesn’t grow on trees.

“Most of the students don’t understand where money comes from,” she said.

“I asked them what would they do if they wanted to buy something big, like a nice car. One child said, ‘write a check.’”

Davis, said that, hopefully, the reading unit and Lee’s presentation will give the third-grade students a greater understand of the relationship between their needs and wants and money.