Family Finances: Start ‘Em While They’re Young with Books

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Welcome to my Education (Financial) Wednesday’s blog. Last week, I explained why family finances is an important topic for me to discuss in my space for education, my specialty. Growing up my family had negative feelings towards money causing me to have a poor mindset around it all the way up until my forties. After reading several books about money and finances, joining a financial management team, and obtaining my CA insurance license, I have learned how to change my mindset about money, now making it another specialty I have to share on my B.R.E.A.T.H.S. blog.

How to Start a Family Discussion About Money with Books

The best way to start the discussion about money in your household is by starting. Each week I will post ideas on how to discuss family finances and I would love to hear some of your ideas so that we can start a healthy discussion about personal finances in our communities. For this week, I am using a children’s book by one of my favorite money authors, Suze Orman, called, “The Adventures of Billy & Penny,” illustrated by KT. Below are a few clips from the book and my short summary, review, and personal thoughts. Below are pictures from the book: cover and book illustrations by Kathy Travis (KT) and cover design by Tricia Breidenthal.

Book Cover by Tricia Breidenthal

Summary of “The Adventures of Billy & Penny” 

Art by Kathy Travis

The book starts off with Billy waking up excited to see how he will spend his day. He runs into his friend, Penny, who is distressed everyone is ignoring her. 

Art by Kathy Travis

Penny explains to Billy that she has been on the floor for days and that families do not value her anymore. He doesn’t believe her, so they come up with a plan to lie on the floor next to one another, and see what happens.

Art by Kathy Travis

To Billy’s surprise, he was picked up instantly, while Penny was ignored like she said. 

Art by Kathy Travis

Determined to fix this financial situation, both Billy and Penny devised a plan. They recruited all the other lonely pennies around the house into the piggy bank to fill it. When the family ordered pizza one night for dinner, the dollar bills hid.

Art by Kathy Travis

The family scrambled all over looking for some cash and stumbled upon the full piggy bank. They were happy they found just enough money to pay for the pizza. The delivery guy was thankful and impressed how the family values pennies. 

Art by Kathy Travis

Billy and Penny were happy the family started planning ways they can start saving pennies. They decided to make a Pizza Penny Jar where they will save until they can buy dinner again. 

Review of “The Adventures of Billy & Penny” 

This book uses a dollar bill and penny to talk about the value of money and gives a great example of how people generally act around it when they see it. Penny explained to her friend Billy that pennies used to be highly valued as people would collect them, put them in their loafer shoes, make a wish, and save for a rainy day. Billy had no idea that pennies were no longer valued until his friend showed him how the family acted around her. They came up with a plan to collect all the pennies around the house and hide the dollar bills so that when the family needed money, they would only find the piggy bank full of pennies. The plan worked as the family searched all over the house to pay for their pizza dinner. After dinner, the family decided they wanted to start saving pennies until they could afford to buy pizza again. 

Personal Thoughts on “The Adventures of Billy & Penny” 

I think that the family will now pay more attention to the money lying around. I like the idea of saving for something they really want. I think this would be a good introductory book to use with your family to start discussing finances at any age. When children know what money is, they should understand the value of every penny. I am glad Suze Orman wrote this children’s book as many of her adult books have influenced my money mindset. This is her first children’s book and the illustration on the back suggests she will write more. Looking forward to more of Suze’s work about money written in ways families of all ages can share and understand. 

Art by Kathy Travis

What are some strategies your family uses to talk about money? Please share in the comments below.

Thank you for reading,

Dr. Jaime Brainerd, Ed.D.

About the Author

Dr. Brainerd

Hello, I am Dr. Jaime Brainerd Ed.D., a lifelong learner, beauty consultant, author, financial specialist, artist, traveler, health enthusiast, and self care advocate. Please follow my website for my B.R.E.A.T.H.S. blogs.

4 thoughts on “Family Finances: Start ‘Em While They’re Young with Books

  1. The earlier we begin talking about finances with the children, the better. We have always been open with our children about money issues, the way my parents were with me.

    Our most recent lesson we taught was to “exercise patience before you buy and it takes the pressure off…often it is as though a fog lifts and you can think clearly again. If you wake the next day and it still feels like a good purchase (and you can afford it), then go for it and enjoy it!”

  2. OMG . . . l love this. I am one of those individuals who had, OK still have, issues with money and finances. I have been on a journey to reframe those challenges. We need to start teaching kids about money management and finances early. I know what book I am getting my grandson for his birthday. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Suze Orman has taught so many to be smarter with their money (including me). What a great book for kids. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. What a great book and excellent way to start teaching young children. Lia is only 2 but we are teaching her about saving. She gets so excited if she finds a penny (or more) and runs to put them in her bank. My parents taught me when I was young to save money and even today I don’t spend frivolously.

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