OGDEN -- How many pig-embellishing stickers can you buy for 10 cents? What's the best way to plan a lemonade stand capable of raising $20 for charity?
And how would one budget a modest allowance in order to fund the purchase of a hamster, video game or Lagoon pass?
These vexing financial questions and others were presented to first-, second- and fifth-graders in several area schools this week.
The kids pooled their ideas and came up with working solutions during appearances by Zions Bank officers, on hand to teach the basics of personal finance as part of National Teach Children to Save Day.
"As bankers, it's one of the funnest things we get to do," said Michael Plowman, manager of the Zions Bank South Ogden branch. Plowman presented student workshops at H. Guy Child Elementary in Ogden and Sam Morgan Elementary in Kaysville.
Another branch manager visited South Weber Elementary to talk to fourth-graders about the difference between "wants" and "needs."
This year, Zions Bank employees in Utah and Idaho will make 735 classroom presentations to teach more than 25,000 K-12 students how to be savvy about savings.
"I don't know if students will remember everything they learn, but I do feel like we are planting seeds," Plowman said.
Solid information and proper motivation may put students on the road to a stable future, he said.
According to recent studies:
- 81 percent of teens say the recent recession has motivated them to learn more about managing their money, according to a March survey from The Allstate Foundation and Junior Achievement USA.
- 41 percent of adults give themselves a grade of C, D or F on their knowledge of personal finance, according to a National Foundation for Credit Counseling's Consumer Financial Literacy Survey taken last month.
Which brings us back to pigs and stickers.
Plowman handed out photocopies of a piggy bank and invited students to name their pigs. Once the silent swine had received names, including Duncan, Beauty, Sally and Angelina, Plowman told the 6- and 7-year-olds they could decorate their paper pets with 1-cent circles, 2-cent squares or 3-cent triangles, but the total had to be 10 cents or less.
"You can't spend more than you have," Plowman explained.
Most kids went over budget, but then learned to keep the options they had within their budget. They cut out their chosen shapes, glued them onto Duncan, Angelina or whomever, then colored their pigs as take-home reminders.
"The lesson is perfect for the level of what they are learning," teacher Brenda Wood said. "It's fun for them to do something different, and it's especially fun for them to learn from someone other than me."
Plowman said the lesson for second-graders is about the same, except the kids are able to multiply.
One of Plowman's fifth-grade classes talked about budgeting to save for desired items, and the other class planned a small business, balancing the cost of ingredients with the need for a $20 profit.
"The concepts will reinforce the things these young people will need to learn as they continue in school, then enter the work force and take on more responsibilities," Plowman said.
"Many parents hope their children don't make the mistakes they made and instead learn how to manage spending and save their money. So we're proud to go into local schools to help show kids how to do it."