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Apparently, I Need to Visit Sesame Street®!

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For more than 40 years, the characters of Sesame Street have been teaching children about everything—from the alphabet to playing nice. How? With simple examples, music and bright colors, they’ve been able to captivate (and keep) audiences around the world in over 150 countries. That’s pretty amazing. And it doesn’t matter how old you are—the show is timeless, and their ideas genius!

Understandably, with everything going on in the economy, Sesame Street decided it was time to focus on financial smarts for kids. From that notion came a series of videos aimed at teaching the next generation of adults about spending, saving and sharing.

If you’re like me, you think that complicated financial speak sometimes makes situations appear more difficult than they are. (And let’s face it—more boring.) I personally love simplicity, so why shouldn’t I consider what Elmo has to say about money? Well, I did—and he made some great points:

Save: Want to make a large purchase? You may have to make some sacrifices along the way while you’re saving up. In one example, Elmo has to pass on buying ice cream because he needs to save up for something else. Sound familiar? Do you want that new digital camera or fast food and smoothies every day? Keep the big picture in mind so you can stay on track.

Spend: Easy to do…right? But spending wisely is a little harder. Before making a purchase, do some research to see if you’re getting a good price and if it’s worth it in the long run. Ask yourself one simple question: Do you need it? (Also, see my last blog post!)

Share: While not always financially possible, it does feel good when you’re able to give to others. Whether it’s a donation to a charity that has meaning for you or a small gift that you know your mom will love, contributing to a good cause feels great.

Earn: Earning the money for something you really want provides a sense of accomplishment. One way to do this is through a job. But what if you’re not old enough to get a job yet?  Fear not—there are lots of ways to make a little bit of money: taking on extra chores, recycling cans and bottles for cash, or even a garage sale. Working for what you want will make you appreciate it even more, too.

It’s funny…my parents told me all of this while I was growing up, but I didn’t really make note of it until I was in my early teens. I wasn’t the best listener as a kid—it took me a while to really understand the value of a dollar. I guess I should have watched more Sesame Street.

< Don’t be a Spendthrift—Spend Thriftily!Sale Away—but Not Too Far >

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