Money Smarter by Vivi Friedgut (book review)

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Money Smarter

Money Smarter by Vivi Friedgut

We’ve long been supporters of Martin Lewis’ campaign to introduce financial education into the school curriculum.  Vivi Friedgut has gone one step further than that and written a book that’ll help parents teach their children about money themselves. The added bonus is that parents will probably learn a thing or two along way as well!

Money Smarter is written in a way that helps parents talk to their children about all the various different things they need to know about money. It comes with a CD with lots of worksheets and games to help children engage with the subjects and make it an interactive experience.

A year-long learning period

There are 52 chapters in the book and it’s designed to be read over the course of a year, with each three or four page chapter covering a different subject. This means that you don’t have to hold the attention of little ones for more than the five or ten minutes it takes to read each chapter. The text is broken up with questions to ask which will help to keep them interested and make sure they’re taking it all in.

The book is written in a simple-to-understand language which clearly explains the basics of money. While there was no chapter on quantitative easing, it does tackle some complicated subjects such as the stock market and what do the government do.

This might seem too in-depth for a child to understand but each topic is broken down into its components and explained clearly and simply without going overboard on the details.

Not just for kids

Working through the book will give parents an opportunity to help their kids learn about money but just as importantly, it’ll talk them through making sense of their own finances. While any reader of this blog is undoubtedly already an expert with their finances, this book will help some adults pick up some good habits alongside teaching their kids.

Vivi encourages children to get involved with the household finances, to help give a real life context to the subjects the book covers, like budgeting and the weekly ‘big shop’. This’ll help adults lead by example and to be a role model to their children on how to manage money.

While we’d like to see financial education brought into schools, Money Smarter provides an excellent starting point for parents wanting to teach their children about the world of money.

 Be Money Smarter – useful tips, whatever your age

Here are a few of the best tips from the book. Obviously there are many more but you’d have to buy the book to see them!

1. Separate your needs from your wants

This can be tricky to do sometimes; it might feel like you really need that £3 cup of coffee on the way into the office but would you manage if you didn’t buy it? If you know what things you really need it makes it much easier to budget and work out how many of the “wants” your remaining money can cover.

2. Set up a saving regime

Making regular savings is really important. Even if you have a debt problem you’ll still need to save some money for costs you know are coming up. This will include things like Christmas, car repairs, clothing and all sorts of other stuff. Getting into the habit of putting money into savings really helps you stick to a budget.

3. Don’t be a sucker for advertising

We’re constantly bombarded by adverts: on the TV, in our Facebook timeline, on the side of buses and nearly every webpage. These adverts are usually designed to tempt us into wanting something and it’s often things we don’t really need. Being wary of adverts is a way to make sure your money stays in your pocket!

4. Be wise in the aisles

It’s possible to eat healthily and keep your costs down by planning your trips to the supermarket. Make sure you take a list with you whenever you go shopping and only buy the items on the list. Supermarkets are designed to make us spend more money than we need and by being disciplined you can avoid wasting money on unnecessary stuff.

MoneySmarter by Vivi Friedgut is in the shops now priced £8.99 (though if you’re really money smart you can find it online for a bit less). You can tweet her at @blackbullion

James Winterbottom has been a debt advisor for six years. Away from work he is an amateur app developer and writes fiction. James is a lifelong supporter of Huddersfield Town football club, which suggests he is either very loyal or very daft. He also likes to talk about himself in the third person in bio pages.

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