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What Basic Money Skills Should Be Taught In High School?- The Saturday Weekend Review #216

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Teenagers may find out the hard way in the world of personal finance if they don’t understand finance basics. In the past parents were the financial leaders responsible to teach their kids about money. They still are but things are about to possibly change in Ontario.

Personal finance for teenagers has slowly been easing its way into the education system because it’s not just a need it’s critical. This is something that we should all be happy about because not all kids get taught about finance basics at home.

The other thing to consider is that the kids are getting taught enough about money or aren’t getting the hands on experience. There’s the learning and then the doing and this is how we build a stronger understanding of what is right and wrong and how to prevent financial disaster or at least avoid it.

Personal finance education has long been discussed in Ontario and Education Minister Mitzie Hunter will be announcing the plans for rolling out a Pilot Project teaching 700 teenagers in 28 local high schools about Basic Money Skills in the next week. Personal finance will blend in with Grade 10 Careers education and modified as they gain feedback from the pilot program students.

I wasn’t sure whether I was going to jump for joy or make a cuppa tea so I did both after reading that breaking news article yesterday. This is important  and exciting because too many students are graduating High School, College and University and not understanding how to use a basic budget. Budget? They know what a budget is but they don’t know how to use it.

Understanding the implications involved with debt and credit is imperative to financial success as is saving money by limiting wants vs. needs. Strolling into the working world without a solid ground of financial independence may shatter that shiny road of dreams after graduation.

Ontario is rolling out pilot projects at 28 high schools aimed at revamping the Grade 10 careers course and laying the groundwork for financial literacy to become part of the curriculum.-Toronto Star

At a cost of $142,000 to the ministry I honestly think entertaining basic money skills in the education system will make a difference to every kid and their future. For many kids math is boring but teach them about personal finance and add real life scenarios and you may grab their attention.

This isn’t about what kids need to be taught basic money skills, it’s every kid. There is no discrimination when it comes to surviving financial responsibility in this world. You either pay or you pay up the hard way.

While financial skills are a centrepiece, students will also learn entrepreneurship and digital literacy in addition to career and life planning.- The Toronto Star

When I read the article I was wondering what basic money skills should they be teaching the teenagers for this pilot project. What topics would be worthy enough to make the lesson plan? I was never taught financial literacy or any basic money skills in school unless you count math.

I learned to add, subtract, divide and multiply, fractions, percentages, bla, bla, bla which sums up a good portion of basic math skills. Yes, I use these skills today and then there are other math skills I was taught that I’m sure will forever haunt me.

Related: How to Budget- CBB 10 Step Budgeting Series and Free Budget Download


Book Smart doesn’t make you Money Smart


Understand though that personal finance basics digs deeper then simple math skills, besides everyone uses a calculator or their phone to do the math. This is why it’s even more important to have teenagers learn basic money skills in school before they graduate and move on in life. Learning+Action= Success. This means it’s important to put into practice what they are being taught and have these basic money skills evaluated by the teacher.

Related: Teenager uses the Cash Envelope Budgeting System

While away at school most students will rack up some of the biggest consumer debts of their lives simply by not controlling the money monster. Partying, eating out and spending too much on things they could get for less can turn into a money disaster if not careful. A simple budget could solve this problem along with better financial knowledge.


Retirement is not Free


It doesn’t stop there either. What about the future of basic investing and retirement? If teenagers don’t understand that what they do financially today can affect their money tomorrow then investing might not become something they must factor into their budget. It becomes a luxury.

One of the best things Mrs. CBB did for herself was to invest in a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP’s) when she was younger. however had she have been taught about retirement and how investments will compound over time she would have started earlier. That was the choice between buying new clothes or buying second-hand to save money to put towards her future. It’s a money mindset that has to develop.

Related: The In’s and Out’s of an RRSP

It wasn’t until she got her first ‘real job’ where there were available RRSP’s with 100% company matching and a works pension.  Free money, who would pass that up? Lots of people because they don’t understand how important it is to invest in the future and that free money is free money. Whether you get it now or later.

Keep in mind that for many people living pay to pay that means investing in retirement just isn’t going to happen. There are people who will rely on CPP and Old Age Pension along with the sale of a house if they own one. If our teenagers learn basic money skills in school today the world might just be a different place in the future.


Teaching our toddler basic money skills


When should parents start teaching their kids about basic money skills? Money knowledge can be taught when a parent feels comfortable or wants to. Generally I would say the sooner the better. You don’t have to wait until your teenager goes to high school to start.

Elementary schools and pre-school math skills are just as rewarding provided that a basic money skills is based on age and level of learning. You don’t have to be a money expert parent to teach your kids about money.

Our son is almost 3 years old right now and he can say the word ‘money’ and anytime we buy him something he has to pay for it with money. We’ve taught him that he can’t open something until it’s paid for at the cash register. He hands the product to the cashier along with the cash money.

From there he will take the receipt and money he gets back and pass it to mom and dad. The look on his face is priceless. He feels like he’s achieved something big, and he has. Some people might laugh at us for doing this but so far every cashier has played along nicely and we’ve all had a good laugh. This is a basic money skill.

We’ve also bought him a grocery basket, second-hand kitchen, cash register and play money to engage with other money skills. Counting money is something he loves to do. He doesn’t quite understand it all yet but he loves holding money in his little hands. (who doesn’t)

On his tablet he enjoys watching and learning about numbers, words, colours and now math. Little by little we will let him know that you have to work hard to earn money to buy what you need and save for a rainy day while investing in the future. It’s not a case of it might happen, it will happen.


Basic money skills for teenagers


Financial management skills are a must which means once you’ve got your first job if you understand basic money skills you’re going to be well on your way to living life like the rich and famous. Sounds good doesn’t it? It’s great to be optimistic, set goals and push yourself to reach them.

It’s one thing to understand personal finance and another to put it into motion so it benefits you. I’m sure a dabble in politics would also benefit the teenagers particularly encourages them to take interest in their country and get out to vote when they are of age.

  • Budgeting 101 – Budgeting is for the most part fairly easy but with some time and effort for those that struggle they will soon see just how rewarding a budget can be. Applying an emphasis on budgeting will be crucial to financial success and should be part of mandatory Basic Finance Skills education.
  • Income Tax – When to file income tax?, What is income tax? etc.
  • Employment/Wages/Over-time/T4 slips etc.
  • Saving Money – How to save money, Why you need emergency savings etc.
  • Debt– How debt can take over your life, How to avoid debt, What is debt? etc.
  • Credit Cards- How they work, interest rates, Just don’t do it if you don’t have the cash.
  • Investing – Understanding basic investment terms, investing accounts, retirement etc.
  • Banking basics – How to use a bank, bank machine write a cheque, loans, accounts etc.
  • Wants vs. Needs – Knowing the difference between wants and needs will get someone that further ahead financially if you stick to needs and save for wants.

For the most part basic finance skills are straight-forward however everyone has a different opinion about what should be taught. To be honest, all I know is that something being taught about personal finance in school is better than nothing at all. Heck they don’t even teach cursive writing any longer. Times are changing!

Discussion Questions: What other Basic Finance Skills should Ontario teenagers be taught at school? Would your financial life be different now had you of had finance education in school?


Behind closed doors


Hey everyone,

contigo travel mugI’m tired and coming to an end of this working 2 jobs for a while. I’m taking a break this summer and I can’t wait. This week was the same as most weeks although we did get more Spring cleaning done and sold more stuff.

One item that we listed for sale was taking up too much space so we sold it for the price we bought it for. It was a huge relief to see that giant toy leave the house.

As a parent you start to learn what silly mistakes you can make buying things you believe your child will like not thinking about space. Soon enough the house can be taken over by kids stuff. No more balls, whistles, toys with lots of pieces until he learns how to pick it all up himself. We’re working on that now. One step at a time.

We went to Costco this week looking for Contigo Travel mugs. No more tossing out old cold coffee and wasting money. They are the best travel mugs going and keep your hot beverage hot for hours. It was the best $25 we spent considering one travel mug on Amazon Canada costs far more. Costco for the win!


CBB Published Posts


CREAM OF RADISH SOUP PINTERESTIf you have a question that you would like to ask me fill out the Contact Mr.CBB form on the blog home page and I’ll do my best to reply to each question.

If you would like to share a story via a Fan Question please ensure that there is minimum 500 words and lots of details…we love details!

Contact me for more info at or you can find me on Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, Tumblr, Stumble Upon, Flipboard.

Top Post This Week: How Much Should My Grocery Budget Be?

Personal Finance Bloggers and Fans: I’m currently recruiting for guest posts on the blog while we go away on holidays. This is your opportunity to get published on CBB. If you have a topic idea and interested please contact me via email. let’s talk.


Making a difference (MAD) 2017


Making A Difference Canadian Budget Binder MAD

Welcome to the 2017 Making A Difference series! Join the networking movement of Personal Finance Bloggers around the world. If you are a personal finance blogger and would like your blog to be featured simply drop me an email. I’m currently booking May/June/July/August 2017-Limited spots.

Dollar Habits Logo

Hi Mr.CBB and Fans,

My name is Cody and I recently started Dollar Habits to share what I have learned about personal finance and to chronicle my family’s financial journey.

We are a one-income, millennial family navigating the financial challenges of raising a young family, paying off debt and saving for retirement.  In short, we are trying our best to strike a balance between living for today and saving for tomorrow, or in other words, have our cake and eat it too.

Dollar Habits is a brand new personal finance blog (currently in its maiden month). The blog will feature frequent posts about saving, investing, getting out of debt, student loans, career management, side hustles, family finances, and other general money issues.

Topics like frugality, financial independence and early retirement, minimalism and contrarianism will also be regular offenders. From time to time, I will also post about business and entrepreneurship. I imagine, like many other personal finance bloggers, I will also occasionally post about blogging.

I plan to share personal stories, experiences and lessons learned along my journey to get out of debt, annihilate my student loans, develop multiple and passive sources of income and ultimately, achieve financial independence and early retirement.

I am in no way, shape or form, and by no stretch of the imagination, a financial professional or expert, but I am uber passionate about personal finance and helping others reach their money goals.  At a minimum, and if nothing else, I hope to at least help people avoid making the same mistakes I have.


Weekly fan brag


If you have a brag that you want to share email me at with a photo and small write-up of your deal. It can be anything you saved money on that you are excited about.

A featured story gets you two ballots in the yearly draw for a PC Financial Gift Card and at least one ballot for emailing me your entry. Either way, you get a ballot in the draw.

No fan brags this week but Mrs. CBB almost had a brag after she found what she thought was a great deal on Kijiji. When she went to look at the product it wasn’t in good working order like the ad suggested. She wasn’t happy about it and let the seller know that they should have said, damaged product. They wasted her time and she was upset about it in what she thought was a polite way. In complete shock she was booted out and called rude.

The grumpy lady escorted Mrs. CBB out the door after telling her to leave because she was taking time to inspect something she was spending her money on instead of taking the bag and leaving. Never let sellers bully you into buying anything and if they tell you to leave, well you just saved yourself some money. I guess that’s worth a brag. Poo on you lady!


CBB Finance Tip


Dont let your financial set backs equal your ending. v2

This means you don’t give up when you fall. You must keep on going even if you mess up and make mistakes. Learn from them and move on. Trust me we’ve all made them and will continue to make them for the rest of our lives. If we keep on jumping over these financial hurdles we will eventually get to our safe spot.


Top finance post


This week Morgan Housel over at Collaborative Fund writes about why you should save money. Not only does he break it down into easy to understand reasons but reminds us that we are in charge of our savings power. This means that after you pay your bills anything you have left is your wealth money. You can choose to spend it all, invest it all or split it down the middle. However you choose to spend it is up to you.


Frugal recipe hot spot


cinnamon roll cheesecakeFood is a big part of any budget and a struggle for so many people which is why I’ve created frugal recipes for my family and yours for many years.

I have a second Facebook page called The Free Recipe Depot where I exclusively share recipes from Food Bloggers around the world. Check out the Free Recipe Index on CBB compiled of frugal recipes that are 100% tested and accepted by family and friends!

This week I made a pit-stop over at “The Girl Who Ate Everything” to check out this Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake. Mrs. CBB and I have been on a cheesecake kick the past few weeks and have whipped up a couple of our own that are low carb and sugar-free coming to the blog soon!

We talked about making a sugar-free low carb cinnamon roll cheesecake and now I think we might. This looks delicious and easy to make.


Do It Yourself


Garden Markers From Rocks

I think I’ve found one of the coolest DIY projects for gardeners out there with kids who love art or the gardener who loves their garden. Check these garden marker rocks out over at Adventures In A Box. Aren’t they great, plus you don’t have to worry about them ruining. No more paper signs, sticks and all that jazz for the garden.


Search term giggles


Always begin and end your day with a SMILE!- Mr.CBB

Every week I get tens of thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog.

Most times funny, Sometimes serious.

  • Average Bank Account Balance Canada– What a silly thing to be wasting time on researching
  • How many homeless kids can you feed for $8– Why does it matter if they are homeless or not? A kid is a kid.
  • Thrifty Foods Interview Questions– Yes because their Human Resources Department asked me to share them on this blog. Ha!
  • Where can I get my dog created in Michigan?– I’d say your best bet is starting with an American website. Ha!
  • Is a compressed work week worth it? – Depends if you can handle sleeping with your eyes open or enjoy sleeping for a few days straight. Your choice.

That’s all the fun for this week, thanks for dropping by and we’ll see you all again next Saturday.


Don’t forget to Follow me on Social Media and Subscribe to the blog.

Hey…if you see any mistakes let me know. I’m not an editor just a guy who likes to write and yes I make mistakes.










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  1. Thank you, Mr. CBB, for featuring Dollar Habits here. I really appreciate the opportunity to be included. I always look forward to all the goodies in your weekend reviews! Thank you, again. – Cody

  2. There is a grade 11 course in Ontario called “Everyday Math” . I tell all teens to take it. From how to write a cheque, bank balancing, buying a car, and credit cards. They use real life examples. Eg. The teen gets a pretend credit card and the teacher gives play money. At some point in the month they get a surprise statement and have to figure out how to pay it. My kids all said it was the best math course they ever took because the use it.

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