Have you ever noticed that adults talk about money a lot? It’s like everything costs money but especially the fun stuff. Want to know a secret? They talk about money so much because it’s a super important part of everyday life.
But if you want to know what they’re talking about, you’ll need to learn money math.
Why Money Math is Important
So here’s what’s up. Money math makes counting money super easy, and it helps make sure that you always have money. At least most of the time. Plus, learning money math is a big part of growing older. Every older kid either knows money math or wishes they knew money math.
You can use money math to buy the stuff you want. And again, you’ll need to learn about money to succeed later in life. Here’s everything you need to know.
Basic Money Math Concepts and How to Practice
Here are a few important skills you need for money math.
Being able to multiply money amounts is really important. For example, if you know an item costs $20.00 and you have five $5.00 bills in your pocket, do you have enough money to buy the item? The answer is yes because 5×5=20. Without multiplication, you’d have to add up the bills, which takes longer and gets harder the more money you have.
How to Practice Multiplication
One of the first things you can do is look in the back of any black and white notebook to find a multiplication table. Or you can print one out. From there, take a few minutes every day to study the table. Here are a few games you can play to get great at multiplication.
Focus on 2’s, 5’s, and 20’s
You’ll want to know how to multiply every number at some point. But you can totally start by learning how to multiply 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s. That’s because you’ll use those numbers more than most others. You’ll need to be able to multiply by 2 for quick and easy math. And you’ll probably count a lot of 5 and 10 dollar bills since they’re so common.
You can make flashcards out of index cards! Put the flashcards into two piles and choose a number from each pile. Then multiply the numbers and see if you get the correct answer. Pro-tip, keep a multiplication nearby to check your work. And you can play the game with friends. Every correct answer is one worth one point.
Wanna learn how to draw a flower and learn money math at the same time? Try drawing a Waldorf Flower! First, draw a circle and then choose a number to draw in the middle of the circle (Warning: the bigger the number, the harder this will be.). Then draw 12 petals around the circle. Now write one on the first petal, two on the second petal, and continue until you get to 12.
Now here’s the tricky part. Draw a second petal around each of the original 12 petals. Now multiply the number in the middle of the circle by one of the 12 petals. Write the answer to the equation inside the 2nd set of petals. Let’s say you chose the number 2 for your center number – that means the 2nd set of petals should say four.
Exact change means giving the cashier the exact amount of money an item costs. So if an item costs $10.00, you give them exactly $10.00. Being able to give exact change or getting as close to it as possible is important for many reasons. First, it makes every transaction easier and quicker. Second, not every business has enough money on hand to give you change. And third, it makes it easier for you to remember how much money you’ve spent.
Paying in exact change is all about being able to quickly add and subtract money. Here are a few quick games you can play to help you with exact change!
Pick a number between 10-99. Then figure out how to get to that number in as few bills as possible. For example, if you choose the number 38, the quickest way there is a $20.00, a $10.00, a $5.00, and 3 $1.00 bills.
When you’re ready, you can choose harder numbers closer to actual prices.
How Your Parents Can Help You Learn Money Math
One of the best ways to learn money math is asking an adult. Adults have been doing money math for years, and because of that, they’re a great resource. When you’re out at the store with your parents, ask them some questions about money math and pay attention to how they pay for items.
Another option is to play some of the money math games listed above.
Money Math Definitions
- Budget: Budgeting is all about keeping an eye on how much money you have. It’s also about making sure you have money to pay for things you need. As you get older, you’ll find out that budgeting is a big part of being able to buy things that you want and need.
- Debit: Debit is another word for spending money. It’s also why a lot of adults have debit cards.
- Savings: Savings is money that you keep separate from your spending money. You save money to have it for later. It’s also great to have in case you stop getting new money.
Books and Games to Learn About Money Math
Lots and Lots of Coins by Margarette S. Reid
Lots and Lots of Coins is great because it covers money math, the history of coins, and even touches on social studies. Basically, it has a lot of valuable lessons that every growing mind needs. Check it out for a quick, easy, and educational read.
A Dollar, a Penny, How Much, and How Many? By Brian Gable
A Dollar, A Penny… is filled with fun money math exercises and bright colors to hold your attention. Plus, it uses rhymes to make lessons that much easier to remember. Grab a copy if you’re hoping to get even better at coin counting.
The Everything Kids’ Money Book by Brette Sember
The Everything Kids’ Money Book is filled to the brim with financial facts, games, and lessons. It’s one of the few money math books for kids that talks about credit, investing, and even money technology. All in all, this book is a must have for any money curious kid!
Best Games for Money Math
Who doesn’t love a fun game that teaches important lessons? We’ve put together a quick list of all the best money math focused games. Here’s a few of our absolute favorites.
Peter Pig’s Money Calculator
Learn how to sort money with Peter Pig’s Money Calculator. It has three unique games that come with rewards you can use to buy stuff ingame. It’s a great game if you like variety and math! Plus, you can play it on a phone or iPad.
Mathgames.com is home to dozens of money math and math games that you can use for practice. It’s run by teachers for kids. And it has offline exercises you can try to get even better at money math.
Counting With Coins
Counting with Coins was made by the U.S. government to help kids learn more about the history and purpose of change. It’s a fun, interactive game that will keep you entertained for hours.