Turn mealtime chores into a financial learning experience.
Intuitively, we all know there are benefits to cooking at home. You can use healthier ingredients, set portions to a reasonable size, avoid food allergies, and, of course, save money compared to ordering restaurant delivery or using a meal kit service.
According to research by wellio, it is five times more expensive to order delivery from a restaurant than it is to cook at home and three times more expensive to use a meal kit service than to do the shopping and prep yourself. But with busy schedules, it can be hard to find the time, which is why parents should be assigning meal time chores to their kids. Not only do kids learn about nutrition and how to cook, they also get valuable personal finance experience.
Here are some tips from Gregg Murset, certified financial planner and founder of busykid.com, on how parents can get kids involved in mealtime chores and use it as a financial learning experience.
Comparison shopping is where it’s at. Start things off by having your kids help with meal planning. One night of the week, sit down as a family and decide what you will eat for the week. Then, make your shopping list and put your kids in charge of looking up the local weekly grocery ads to find the best prices. Set a budget for the weekly meals and have your kids help find ways to stick to it.
Everything is digital today, even coupon clipping. Most grocery stores now offer digital coupons that you can load onto your loyalty card to save more at checkout and even earn fuel points. Have your kids read through the coupons and load any for items on your shopping list onto your card. Discuss with them how doing this can reduce your grocery bill. As a reward for a job well done, consider paying your kids the savings on your bill as a bonus and have them invest it or put it in a savings account.
Skip paper for plastic. Just like coupons are digital, most of us only use “digital money” today, too. Our paychecks are direct-deposited into our checking accounts, and we usually pay with a debit or credit card. Never seeing money can make it hard for kids to understand the value of a dollar, so start them practicing the concept early by using a chore app like BusyKid to help them digitally manage the allowance they earn from doing chores.
Let the kids do the cooking or the clean-up. Depending on your kids ages, assign them chores during mealtime that take some of the burden off you while teaching them valuable life lessons like how to cook, team work, responsibility, and how hard work is linked to financial earnings.
Pit restaurants versus home cooking. Pick a meal you prepared at home and compare the price it cost to prepare it with the cost from a menu at a local restaurant for a similar meal. Talk to your kids about the price difference and explain why eating out costs more — that building rent, utilities, and employee costs are all built into your check.
Getting your children involved with mealtime duties and teaching them the ins and outs of planning and costs will provide valuable lessons they can carry with them for a lifetime.