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Color of Money: Here's how to become an advocate for financial literacy in your child's school

Michelle Singletary on

WASHINGTON -- What your children don't know about money will cost them -- dearly.

My husband and I have made it a priority to raise money-smart kids. I, of course, took my lessons to another level, one that often frustrated my children.

Once there was a craft fair at my kids' school. As our eldest, Olivia, was counting how much money she was planning to spend, I pulled her aside to give her tips on bargain shopping.

"Look, you've got to negotiate to get a good price on what you want," I counseled her.

Olivia just rolled her eyes. She was incredulous that I was telling her to haggle with her classmates over craft items they had made.

"Mom, why are you talking to me about this money stuff all the time?" she complained.

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I bent down to look her directly in the face. (I know. That was a bit aggressive.) I needed her to take me seriously. I was hoping to impress upon her that in every purchase situation you have to consider the cost -- even if the seller is a friend -- and try to avoid spending more money than necessary.

So, I said to my 10-year-old daughter, "It is my full-time job to make sure you're a good steward over your money."

"Well," Olivia started, looking me directly in the eye with her hands on her hips, "can you make it your part-time job?"

I couldn't help but laugh.

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