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Budgeting 101 Should be added to high school courses

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posted on Mar, 15 2008 @ 05:16 PM
Technically this isn't really a rant, just a thought I've had for the past few years. ( moreso lately with the economy so crappy right now and all the house foreclosures )

They should offer high school students a course teaching them how to budget and work with their money. Especially when these kids are going to be sent out into the world soon to take out student loans, get credit cards, pay utilities and possibly higher ticket items such as mortgages and vehicles.

I know there are a lot of people out there that have great parents that start teaching them from a young age how and what they should do with their money, but that's not the case for all of us.

I, unfortunately, grew up in a home with parents that had no concept of how to handle money and credit, much less how to teach their kids about it.

It always puzzled me how my mother claimed she had no money for new clothes. Took us out to second hand stores and Goodwill every school year. And yet, she would stop on the way home and grab a case of beer and cigarettes for herself.

It always amazed me that the hydro/phone/cable would get cut off several times a year, and yet, every January my parents would climb on an airplane and go to Mexico for a 2 week vacation (leaving my brothers and I behind with $80 for groceries).

It always scared me when she would wink at me in the grocery store and whisper "I'm writing a rubber cheque for this one!"

As I grew up and started working, my priorities were so screwed up that I thought it was normal to blow all my money on frivolities...movies, clothes, alcohol..whatever I wanted when I wanted it. This only got worse in my 20's when the credit card companies noticed me. My husband and I thought we were in heaven! FREE back at your own leisure!! We never saved for a rainy day, or retirement...nor did we ever even think about these things.

Until 6 years ago when things had spiralled out of control. We were paying the minimum on one card, and then cash advancing from that card to pay the minimum on another. Bill collectors were calling and my husband's hours got cut at work. I had to quit my job to stay home with our special needs son and wow...we had really made a mess of things.

With a LOT of willpower, and no fun to be had we eventually dragged ourselves out of the hole. We scrimped, saved, made deals, worked extra hours and got our credit back on track. Finally able to buy a house 3.5 years ago, which in our area IS cheaper than renting.

We're in our mid 30's now and we're still paying off our mistakes from 15 years ago. The credit card companies LOVE us, but we've divorced them and cut up our cards but are still paying them....a little bit extra every month. Hopefully in the next 2 years we'll see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The point of this post is not to whine about my bad mother (made amends and forgave her years ago)...or to say "pooooor me, feel sorry for me!" But rather to persuade everyone to teach their kids how to handle their money!! I truly believe it should be a course taught in school. It's so unfair to blame people for getting themselves into financial debt when they weren't taught any other way.


posted on Mar, 15 2008 @ 07:31 PM
I agree Michelle. Less Algebra and trig and more real life math!

posted on Mar, 15 2008 @ 08:44 PM
I am pretty sure they do have these courses, at least in my school, CALM (career and life management)
and they do teach how to manage money, and how to get good credit, stuff like that. I have been to 2 high schools, and both of them offered that course.

posted on Mar, 16 2008 @ 02:08 PM
pshkwamy, I am so glad to hear that they offer those courses where you are! I can't speak for everywhere but I know the high schools, in our area of Ontario Canada, unfortunately don't offer them, or anything even remotely like them.

As AccessDenied stated, courses like trig, whilst great if you're going to become a mathematician, scientist or astronaut, don't help out in a lot of real world situations for the average person. The city we live in is predominantly a blue collar, labor oriented place. Lots of factory type jobs. Some of the courses they offer at my son's high school, for example, have no bearing, and would offer no benefit for someone entering that type of workplace.

I will say that recently they have added some optional courses for more trade oriented careers...but I still think some sort of very standard financial/budgetting courses will benefit a large portion of the school regardless of what future career they choose.

Not all, but the majority of my circle of friends are/were stuck in the same boat as us. Not having been taught how to save, or spend properly. Some of us due to following in the footsteps of parents who also didn't know how to do this....and some of us just because we didn't think of the future, just the here and now.

I dont' know for sure if I'd be in a better situation now had my own parents had better financial skills that they passed on to us. But I have to think of all the money I could have saved over the years, or the purchases I could have done without, and the amount is overwhelming! Of course I'm an adult, and a parent, and the blame definitely lies with me...not trying to pass the buck so to speak. But, even with my parents being unable to teach me how to do it, if I'd had the opportunity in those teenage years to participate in a class teaching me basic budgetting fundamentals, it would have opened my eyes to a lot of things, and possibly saved me from getting 'owned' by the bank.


Edit to add: The reason that prompted me to make this post in the first place is because my husband has been offered a new job recently. It is a far better, safer, more financially sound career than the one he is currently in. Sounds great right? Unfortunately, for at least the first year or two he'll be facing a substantial pay cut from what he earns now. It's looking like he'll have to turn the job down due to the amount of expenses we have and that just really sucks...for him, and for our family.

[edit on 16-3-2008 by Michelle129]

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