Economics, supply and demand, and budgets are ideas that are taught in middle school social studies. Again, this is one of those combination lessons, math and social studies. It is not too early for your 6th grader to begin learning that there is a limited amount of money to go around, that things have value, and that a budget can help make dreams come true.
While we try to protect our children from the real world, some things are hard and true facts. There is a limited amount of money to go around. While it would be great for your child to give her best friend a new laptop for Christmas, the reality is that it is out of the budget.
Sixth graders need to learn to have a budget, and how to spend the money the earn or are given. With the holiday season approaching, gift giving needs to be carefully planned. We helped my daughter with this by having her make a list of who she wanted to buy gifts for, how much she had to spend, and how much she money she wanted to put aside for savings and charitable giving.
We then got her a prepaid credit card containing the amount she decided to spend. We had her keep the receipts, do the math of how much was spent and how much was left after each transaction. When the card hit zero, she knew that there was no more money in her budget. Learning to live within her means was a painful lesson, but one that was much less painful as a 6th grader than it would be as an adult.