Turn Tricks and Treats into Meaningful Budgeting Lessons

HALLOWEEN CANDY SAVING EXERCISE

When it comes to Halloween candy, there have always been two kinds of kids: the ones who eat it all before they’ve even gotten out of their costumes and the ones who stretch even the most meager booty until the Easter Bunny arrives. Saving money is much the same: there are kids who can’t hold on to enough money to save or who don’t see the point, and then there are those who hoard and are loathing to part with even a dime. The former are the cause of greater parental worry, but both needs a lesson in what saving is really about. Like uneaten candy, money not spent, not shared, or not invested, misses the point. Saving mindfully is an important task of growing up and Halloween offers a perfect opportunity with sweet incentives. When they return from trick-or-treating, tell your kids you know how they can get more candy and make their candy last longer.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Unload those pillowcases and count each piece of candy (minus Snickers that are consumed whilst trick or treating). Have them write this number at the top of our Halloween saving plan sheet.

2. Have them set a goal of how long they’d like their candy to last. Eight weeks is probably too much for most kids, but kids who think they can only make it last for two weeks should probably be challenged to strive for more.

3. Have them write the number of weeks they want their candy to last under the number of pieces they have and ask them, how many pieces that means they can eat each week. For young children, they may need help with the division. Write this number below how long for which they want their candy to last.

4. Explain the deal: you’ll give them a little bonus for each week they don’t eat more candy than they said they wanted to and you’ll offer them a BIG bonus if they meet their goal for how long they want their candy to last.

5. Each week, have them count their candy. How many pieces did they eat? How many pieces are left? If they meet their goal, give them their reward—possibly an extra “fun sized” piece—and have them record their bonus. If they miss their goal, don’t scold them, just stick to the plan and let them know they’ll have another chance next week.

6. Repeat this every week until they’ve finished all their candy. If they meet their big goal, give them their big reward—two full size candy bars should be enough to grab their attention. Before you do, ask them what they learned. This activity is all about delayed gravitation and impulse control—key disciplines required for saving.

  Messages to reinforce:

  • Having a game plan helped them to make the candy last for a longer period than it would have otherwise.  Sometimes a bonus can be earned for patience.
  •  Emphasize that one reason they stuck to the plan was the bonus extra candy they got for meeting their goal and not eating the candy all at once.
  •  Banks do a similar thing. They pay you money for keeping money there and not spending it. They call this interest and it’s based on how much you keep in the bank. The more you keep with the bank, the more extra money you get.

 Meaningful Takeaways:

  • Saving means not using now—it can have rewards.
  • Setting goals makes it easier to save.
  • Setting goals can ensure I have something for a set period of time

 Example:

I am starting with 350 pieces

I want my candy to last 8 weeks

That means I can have 43 pieces per week

managing halloween candy

Halloween Game Worksheet

I am starting with _____ pieces

I want my candy to last ______ weeks

That means I can have _______ pieces per week

Week #

I ate ______ pieces

At the end of the week there are ___ pieces left

I get a Bonus of ____ pieces

 

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