Price comparisons as part of financial education?

For us adults, price comparison apps or websites have long since become an indispensable compass for our consumer behaviour. But how can we explain to our children why it is worth comparing prices? Which child-friendly comparison possibilities can we use to practise price comparisons with our children and at the same time make an important contribution to financial education?

As with many very complex things, it can also be helpful with price comparisons to start with the simple and obvious things.                           

Take ice cream, pizza or chips, for example. Here we can make our children aware of the price we pay for it the next time we go to the ice cream parlour, pizzeria or French fries stand. The next time we get ice cream, pizza or fries from the supermarket, we can compare with our children what it cost us compared to the ice cream, pizza or fries we ate outside the home.

It quickly becomes clear that we paid more for relatively comparable snacks and treats outside than at home. Of course, a frozen pizza can hardly compete in taste with a pizza fresh from the stone oven, just as little as a ready-made ice cream with a fresh “gelato” in a cup or waffle. And that is already a helpful approach:

  • Effort and monetary: let’s explain to our children that it obviously costs more money because more time and effort to make an ice cream, a pizza or a burger entirely to our liking and just for us, while yes, the frozen pizza with tuna is practically made the same way for many people.
  • Ambience is everything: nice tables and chairs, colourful plates, aprons and tablecloths – of course, that makes lapping up ice cream and slurping drinks even more fun. On the other hand, restaurants and the like have to pay for this, as well as for the friendly staff. So it’s almost as clear as day that it costs a bit more here than at home.

What to pay for what?

Price comparisons become a little more complicated when we move away from the food table and towards toys. Here it can help to let our children decide on a toy with their own pocket money, with a fixed upper limit of, for example, 3 to 5 euros.

Just the fact that it is their own pocket money and that there is only a certain budget available will make the child more choosy. This is exactly where we can “step in” and help our child discover certain price comparison criteria for themselves:

  • Which toy do they like better and why?
  • How much do bigger toys cost compared to smaller ones?
  • Do we really still need a car or would a ship that costs comparably much possibly even be better?
  • Does it really have to be brand X, which everyone in the circle of friends has, or do we want to try out a new brand that is cheaper and thus make all the other children curious?

Especially with toys, the possibilities for comparison are more emotional and therefore more difficult to put into objective categories. And “But you already have ten of them” is quickly and usually invalidated with “But I want to!

In this respect, we should not select too many, but still enough aspects to consider when comparing prices with our children. Which of the two cars with remote control has the better tyres and can also drive outside with them? If the one with the better tyres costs more: Is it worth it when it is autumn and the days get darker and colder faster? Is it perhaps better to opt for the cheaper car today, keep the outdoor vehicle as an allowance-saving goal for next spring and use the money saved now for that right away?

Can we really manage to put together a 1,000-piece puzzle or would we rather take one with 100 pieces, even if both have the same price? After all, with the puzzle with fewer pieces, we could soon look forward to being able to look at it together and put it together.

Price detectives

To add some excitement to the exhausting process of comparing prices, let’s let our children be price detectives on a secret mission. We can send them on a “price comparison mission” to the supermarket and have them write down the different prices of fruit yoghurts, for example. Then we go there together with them and take a closer look at what they have compared. Because even with the same type of yoghurt, as we know, there are big price differences, which in turn are due to different reasons, such as the size of the yoghurt pot or also the brand.

It is important to convey that there are many factors that can make a difference in price. Our children don’t have to understand all of them right away, but we can make them aware of them step by step.

Compare financial knowledge through play with Finny

The Finny Kids App as the first mobile banking app for children between 7 and 12 years of age promotes knowledge about the world of money in a playful and exciting way. Financial terms and everything that children should know and want to learn about money are explained in an understandable and age-appropriate way, including a cool gaming factor.

The setting of individual savings goals and the possibility to check the pocket money balance digitally and analogue at any time and to fill it up with extra tasks strengthens the awareness for the value of money. Ultimately, this also makes price comparisons easier at some point, as children learn day by day how long it takes to save up a certain amount of money and how much it is worth questioning prices and their own consumer behaviour.

Overall, the majority of young people in this survey confirmed that they make a very good or good living with this income. The proportion of those for whom pocket money and the like are not enough to live well has decreased steadily compared with recent years. Unfortunately, we don’t know whether this is due to the new modesty of young people, a lack of opportunities to spend the money, or increasing generosity on the part of parents and grandparents.

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