BOSTON (CBS) – What a day to be out! This is the busiest shopping day of the year and I for one am staying far away from the malls. Far, far away! But even without me, millions of dollars will trade hands today.

Today is referred to as Black Friday. A busy day will keep the retailers in the black.

Some of you are out shopping and you may have the kids with you in the car. As harried as you are right now, why not give the kids a money lesson? If you get them alone in the car and you can get them to turn off their electronics including their cell phones you could have a captive audience.

Kids need to understand money and how we as adults get it into our hands. Tell a small child that you have no money to buy something, and she will suggest charging it.

Kids also think that money comes from the ATM. Most kids have never been inside a bank, just the drive through or the ATM machine. And worse they think ATM stands for Always Taking Money.

Kids need to understand the concept of working for money, getting paid for that work, and depositing a paycheck into the bank for safekeeping. This gives us the privilege of going to the ATM to make withdrawals of our money so that we are able to purchase goods and services. Most 6-year-olds are able to grasp this concept.

A harder concept is charge cards and how they work. These are just short-term loans that we get when we use our credit card. If we pay if off each month, no interest is charged. The card is our form of identification to show the merchant that the credit card company has money set aside that we can borrow to make our purchases.

Teaching kids about delaying gratification is also important. We’ve all witnessed a kid throwing a tantrum in a store and then getting what he wanted. For starters, have the kid begin to save for something he wants like a game, a CD, or a scooter. Make it attainable in a couple of weeks; any longer than that and they will lose interest.

Now, if you want to take this one step further, offer to make the child a loan to help purchase it. Charge interest because that is the cost of borrowing. The child can pay you back a certain amount each week when he or she receives their allowance. Visit and use their calculator to figure out the loan payments.

Also visit Finance Freak, a division of Cool Math to help your teenagers become money smart.

Take whatever opportunities come up to make your kids money smart.


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