Financial Literacy is Alive and Kicking

Arches National Park Hike

A wise man once said that a penny saved is a penny earned. Actually that wise man was Benjamin Franklin who was teaching financial literacy long before there was automated savings, online bill pay, and software to figure out how much money we need to retire. I was recently reacquainted with some of his other genius quotes by reading my daughter’s homework.

Perfect Storm

I will never claim to be more busy than anyone else. But this was one of those weeks where the perfect storm of after school activities, working late, having to make some difficult decisions, catching a cold, and an actual snow storm threatened to take me down. When the  time came to figure out a Friday post, my mind was blank. I decided to throw in the towel and skip today when I ran across a true gem from my third grader.

Third Grade Entrepreneurs

financial literacy
Ooh La La third grade cafe

Believe it or not, financial literacy is being taught to some extend at my daughter’s school. Third grade is studying needs vs wants, budgets, and profits minus expenses. Their class even spent a half day running a restaurant using foods from the school garden that were made into brunch served to parents, friends, and family for $5 a plate plus tips. The kids did all the prep, cooking (with some help), serving, collecting money, and clean up.

After expenses, they made some Benjamins,  about $1,000 that will go toward continuing to grow the garden project. I think the hands on activity really made them see how much work and expense is involved in running a business and how everyone working together can accomplish great things. Aside from the fact that my daughter’s good friend had so much fun she wants to be a waitress when she grows up, I’d say it was a great success.


Anyhow, as a final assignment for the entrepreneurial unit, students had to write a letter to their classmates trying to persuade them to save money by using one of Benjamin Franklin’s clever sayings. In addition to the penny saved is a penny earned, these were the choices.

  • “Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.”
  • “Our necessities never equal our wants.”
  • “He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing.”

So I’ll share my daughter’s letter and I owe her one for coming up with today’s post.

Dear Classmates,

If you spend money on one thing you might not have money for the things you need. As Benjamin Franklin says, “Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.” 

If you save your money for the things you need like food and water you will not need to be worryed about them. If you have a profit after you buy the things you need, you can buy the things that you want.

Sure, it would be nice if notebooks had spell check . I also believe she is confusing profit with surplus, but not too shabby for 8 years old! We will try out hardest to reinforce these concepts at home. Let’s hope she continues to carry this train of thought when all of her friends start having iPhones!

What is your favorite Benjamin Franklin quote? Did you know he invented bifocals? As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?


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  1. Was the course/lesson taught by Junior Achievement? I’ve volunteered with Junior Achievement a few times and I always feel good about bringing finance/business skills into schools. If this was done by the teacher or school, huge kudos to them for being ahead of the curve!

  2. Wow that’s so cool they are teaching that!!! And having the community garden is extra cool. Makes my old 70’s elementary school look totally shitty. lol! Good for her!!

    “Aside from the fact that my daughter’s good friend had so much fun she wants to be a waitress when she grows up, I’d say it was a great success.” LOL!

    1. We are hoping she’ll change her mind or at least get a job waiting tables when she’s older so she’ll see how hard it really is.

  3. Wow! Your daughter’s school sounds amazing–what a great opportunity and framework for a PF conversation! When I was a kid, I wanted to be a lawyer so that I could fight injustice. I guess I still try to fight injustices daily, just not in that respect. Ha!

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