4 Planet-Saving Ways to Teach Kids About Money

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teaching kids ecologyIn his second inaugural speech, President Obama spoke of our obligations to ourselves and to posterity. In particular, he noted climate change and its undeniable consequences.

“We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries,” he said.

In other words, ECOnomy and ECOlogy are tied to each other.

It’s actually a topic that’s close to my heart: My book, “The ECO-Effect™: The Greening of Money,” is all about saving money and resources—and creating an ECHO effect in which parents can teach kids to look at life from both an ECOnomic and ECOlogical point of view. Case in point: By doing things like earning and budgeting virtual money to buy food and shelter for endangered animals, kids can echo to their parents what they’re learning.

When you really think about it, ECOnomy and ECOlogy are related in many ways:

  • Organic vs. Non-organic Although they may cost more, organic foods that are grown and processed without pesticides are healthier for you and the environment.

RELATED: Are Organic Groceries a Waste of Money?

  • Quality vs. Price If you buy a quality product, it may be more expensive, but you probably won’t have to replace it quite as quickly—saving you money. It also means that it won’t wind up in a landfill, which is as good for the planet.
  • Less Is Better When you shop, take time to examine the packaging. It’s simple—fewer layers of plastic and paper create less garbage, which means that less has to be hauled away to landfills in trucks that use fossil fuels. It saves the environment, and it may save you money.
  • Save Energy, Save Money If you make your home more fuel efficient by insulating, plugging air leaks and keeping the furnace operating at optimal condition, you’ll save on heating costs and reduce your carbon footprint.

RELATED: How an Energy Audit Saved Us $2,400 a Year

In the same way that the perfect family budget is a balanced one, we should teach our children the value of a balanced approach to the planet to keep it from going into “debt” by producing too much pollution that can’t be absorbed and recycled.

Want to get the conversation going with your own kids? Start by teaching them what I like to call the Four “R’s”: