What are we teaching kids about money? Are they saving their pennies like we were taught to as children, or do they think money magically appears on a plastic card every month, ready to be spent? Our kids have so much more than we did as children, do we ever stop to think about the lessons we are teaching them — even in our everyday interactions?
A few years ago, Suze Orman — financial guru, New York Times bestselling author, podcast host, inspirational speaker (the list goes on and on) — wrote a children’s book to help moms teach kids the value of money. She was reminded of its premise the other day, and took it as a sign. “The other day I saw people walking and they walked past a penny on the street,” she tells Scary Mommy. “People aren’t noticing pennies, which is obviously what the book is about, and I told myself, ‘I’m going to give it away for my birthday.'”
Orman’s birthday is June 5. “I always like to give rather than receive,” she says. “So I thought this would be a perfect time.” The Kindle edition of the book is completely free, for you to download for your kids (and yourself) on Amazon for Kindle between now and June 7. How cool is that?
The Adventures of Billy and Penny is a story about two friends, Penny (a penny) and Billy (a dollar), who lament that no one notices little Penny anymore. So they hatch a plan to get the family to notice that yes — pennies are money too. And while reading your kids a tale about making every penny count, you may learn a little about yourself and your relationship with money, too.
“Everybody said, ‘Write a book about money for kids, teach them money,'” Orman says. “But you know, it’s never about money. It’s about how you value money and how you value who you are. And what parents aren’t teaching kids is making wise money decisions. We’re teaching our kids how to want brand names. Kids don’t care what kind of backpack they have on! Without parents even realizing, they are teaching their kids that these things define them.”
We all give our kids more than they need, no one can argue that. But just reading this book really opened my eyes to the fact that I’m not doing all I can to help my kids understand the value of money — even in little ways.
“When kids read this book, they start looking for pennies,” Orman says. “If kids can start valuing money, it can change their lives.”
Orman offers another free resource for moms, the Women & Money podcast. She’s devoted her life to helping women get a handle on their finances, and it’s really incredible. Download the free book to share with your kids, but don’t forget about yourselves either, moms.
This article was originally published on