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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

July 26, 2023 - 8:39am --

What an amazing time it is for so many of our Wayne County youth.  This is the time of year when many of our 4-H youth are showcasing their projects through Project Judging and our Style Revue and awards program.  As I sat there watching the many parents, advisors, friends, and family gather to support our youth I couldn’t help but wish many more could celebrate their achievements.  If you know a 4-H or FFA youth, please take the time to reach out to them and learn more about their projects and leadership activities and support them in their learning opportunities.

This week in one of my classes a daughter has been attending with her mother.  We’ve been talking about setting financial goals and following a budget to achieve the things you want in life.  She brought her budget last week and shared it with us as she’s planning to attend nursing school.  She’s taking a portion of what she earns at her job to save with some to spend on her expenses and some to give back or to share with others. 

Also, this week, I was at a garage sale when a family arrived, and the children had their own money to spend on items they selected.  Conversations included “do you need this or just want it?” and “if you choose this, you may not be able to buy the basketball you’ve been looking for”. 

Examples of financial education

All these examples highlight financial education for our young people in different settings.  With school right around the corner and school supplies, new clothes, shoes, lunch boxes, and activity fees to add to our family budgets here are a few tips to keep in mind:

*Look at your budget and decide what you can realistically afford.  Avoid using credit cards unless payment can be made at the end of the month to pay the total amount, otherwise the interest adds up quickly. If you’d like to use a back-to-school calculator here’s a link to try:

*Divide the money among your children, depending on the age and list of class requirements; it may not be an equal amount.  Then help them make their shopping list.

*Talk about wants versus needs.  For example, I need a backpack, but I may want one with my favorite character on it.  What will I give up, or trade, for the one I want?  This works best when we, as parents, don’t rescue them from poor choices. We can remind them but letting them experience the consequences of their choice is a great life lesson.

*Prioritize the list so that they purchase the items they need first. Then they can save for the additional things they want.  Help them plan for how they can earn the extra money to get the things they want.  Realize this, too, is an important life lesson; we all must make compromises and work for the things we want.

*When it comes to the clothes set an amount.  Here’s the budget, what do you need?  What’s in your closet that you can wear from last year?  What can we add to make new outfits? What can we wait to buy until next month? Are there garage sales or trading with other families to make “new” outfits to get the school year started? 

Practicing the skills of evaluating where we are at the present, listing our wants and needs, then planning for future purchases, helps children understand that we may not always be able to get what we want all the time.  Make your back-to-school budget shopping a new tradition.  Keep track of expenses and notes in a notebook to see what worked well with your children and what didn’t.  What teachable moments were successful throughout the year?  When children spend their own money it’s different than spending yours.

As our children grow the budgeting becomes even more important. They can begin to understand the “cost of life”.  We all want our children to become independent, successful individuals and they can achieve this with money management coaching throughout their life.  If you have any questions, please contact me at



Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722 or
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