Small Mall: Real World Money Management

Submitted by Mrs. Guinn Hodgson

Objective:
To teach “real-world” money management.

Resources:
Paper, laminating machine or clear contact paper, lots of “stuff” for your mall.

Teacher Preparation:
Clean out your closet, attic, under your bed, etc. and get that “stuff” set up in a special place in your classroom with a sign saying SMALL MALL–OPENING SOON. When the students begin asking about this (and they WILL), tell them they will have a chance to purchase items from Small Mall! (You will already have cut out (I designed them on my computer-it was fun) ‘Small Mall Credit Cards’ with credit limits already established.)

Procedure:
After the students have asked about this Small Mall, tell them they may apply for a credit card for use once a month (or whenever you decide) to purchase these wonderful items from the Mall. They may charge up to their limit. How do they pay for their purchases? They earn “class bucks” (whatever you want to use–design them on your computer, use play money, strips of paper, whatever) by practicing good behavior, turning in all assignments, upping a grade, being caught using good manners, or anything you want to reinforce in them. They use these bucks to make credit card payments (with interest of course) What happened in my class was wonderful. The students kept the “books”, figured the interest, delivered statements, etc. Once this gets started, all you have to do is keep the Mall stocked–and believe it or not, we never ran out of items once the parents learned what we were doing. Another fun thing–have a monthly “Clearance Sale Auction” where the students get to spend some of those class bucks they earned.

Variations/Options:
CREDIT! They learn how easy it is to flash that laminated credit card and buy something at the “Mall”, then have to cough up some of those class bucks. I heard comments like: “Now I don’t have enough to buy that poster. I should have waited.” Or, “I need to say please and thank you and earn some more bucks so I get this card paid off.” And I heard some comments like, “Man, I don’t know about these credit cards…”

Real World Usage:
If you’re not into doing the credit card thing, the monthly auctions are very popular. They earn the bucks, they have to keep up with them, and at auction time they bid and buy!

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