The Secret Life of Money : A Kid’s Guide to Cash

This piece actually made its way into the book (it’s one of the cool cartoons that Clayton drew) but boy, does this first draft sound different than the one we used in the end. Check out pages 38-39 in the book and see what I mean!


Kira’s got the scoop on…

How the money you earn controls how much money you can burn 

“If my mom makes $52,000 a year, why does she say she can’t afford to buy me a new bike? Where does all that money go?”

Panel 1

7:47 am: Wakey-wakey, eggs and bakey! Time to get up and scarf down breakfast.

Cha-ching! Food at home: average cost per year $3,465

Panel 2

8:33 am: Mom jumps in the car so she can commute to work 45 minutes away. You ride the incredibly clean and comfortable bus to school.

Cha-ching! Transportation: average cost per year $8,758

Panel 3

10:12 am: That tag on your shirt is driving you nuts! No wonder you can’t concentrate on your art class paper-mâché masterpiece.

Cha-ching! Clothing: average cost per year $1,881

Panel 4

1:46 pm: Hellooo recess. Goodbye kneecap.

Cha-ching! Insurance and healthcare (U.S.): average cost per year $3,162

(illustration: Kid swinging on monkey bars or doing something crazy on the school climber.)

Panel 5

6:38 pm: Would you like fries with that radicchio? Gotcha! Sometimes a busy day requires a fast food fallback plan.

Cha-ching! Food eaten away from home: average cost per year $2,668

Panel 6

9:02 pm: Good night, sleep tight. Don’t let your mom’s house mortgage (or insurance, heating and water utilities, housekeeping supplies, and furnishings) bite.

Cha-ching! Housing and shelter: average cost $16,920

Panel 7

9:41 pm: But wait! We interrupt this oh-so-fascinating scene where your mother spends the next 52 minutes paying bills and balancing the books to bring you the latest comic episode of “INFLATION: WHAT GOES UP… GOES UP AGAIN!”

(Illustration: Mom pays bills. Include: telephone, cell phone, cable, Internet, dry cleaning bills, entertainment, dentist bills, pet grooming, credit card payments etc.)

Panel 8

Even when mom’s doing everything right – saving money and paying off the bills on time – along comes something called “inflation” that cranks up the price of everything she buys.

Panel 9

Inflation happens when there is too much money going around. The result? The value of things starts to fall, but the price of things goes up. Historically, inflation has averaged about three percent each year. So something that cost $10 last year, will cost $10.30 this year.

Panel 10

Inflation is not a big deal when your mom gets a raise and makes an extra three percent too. But if her salary stays the same… you’ll both feel the pinch.

Panel 11

Combine inflation, taxes and the cost of living – all those things you need to live – and suddenly there’s very little left over to pay for things you want.

Panel 12

But chin up. If you really want that bike, you can always make mom dinner instead of asking for pricey take-out pizza. (You can stop laughing now.) Or better yet, spring for a more economical pogo stick. They’re super-keen!

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