Middle School Financial Literacy Project by the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center

Money Talks logo

Money Talks is a project of the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center. We developed a series of 5 short online modules (like a mini-course) in English and Spanish for families of middle schoolers. In each module, as you can see below, we provide a short explanation of a money concept, a list of conversation starters, links to related games to play with a middle school child at home, tips from middle school parents/caregivers about the module topic, space to make a plan to talk with a child, and a list of related resources to download.

We are partnering with faculty and graduate students at The Ohio State University to do a research project associated with these modules. We are currently piloting this project with families of middle schoolers in Columbus City Schools and other organizations in Ohio. The modules will be available to more audiences in 2022.

Module Example

Sample module page 1: Today’s topic is spending

Spending decisions are at the heart of personal finances. They are also especially challenging when families experience financial difficulties. 
The first step in making spending decisions well is setting financial goals. Knowing what goals matter helps with deciding about needs vs. wants.
The second step is to assess your current financial situation. A spending plan is helpful here, because it allows you to list current and expected income and expenses and with calculating the amount of money that can be used for additional spending. 
The third step in spending decisions is make good choices about the actual purchase.
The fourth step in spending decisions is making good choices about each purchase that you are considering making.
The “rule of three” suggests that you compare three products before making a decision and to check on prices at three stores before buying. 
Build your own financial skills with our “Manage Your Money” guides “Getting Started” and “Where does your money go?.”
Conversation Starters for Families about Spending

Choose from the following topics to start a conversation with your middle schooler. Check all that you plan to use. 

How do you prioritize the things you want to spend money on?
How is spending money affecting your happiness? What about saving money?
If you made a plan for your spending, what would it include?
Have you compared prices when going shopping? Did you find a good deal?
What is your most important financial goal?

Tips from parents and caregivers like you.

 • “Don’t sit down at a chair. It has to be spontaneous, at the store, when they want things. If a commercial comes on, talk about it.” 

 • “When the kids do try to buy things frivolously, that is when we try to have those conversations-be careful about what you try to buy” 

 • “Middle schoolers need more help with connecting work to earning money. You do not just get it and spend it. They need to understanding there are expenses that are fixed or required before having discretionary spending.”
Make an action plan  

Please complete the following action plan and commit to have a Money Talk with your middle schooler.

Módulo en Español

Module 1 example page in Spanish
Module 1 example in Spanish, part 2:

Iniciadores de conversación sobre los gastos
¿Cómo escoges las cosas en las que quieres gastar dinero?
¿Cómo está afectando el gasto de dinero a tu felicidad?
¿Cómo te afecta ahorrar dinero?
Si hicieras un plan para tus gastos, ¿qué incluiría?
¿Has comparado los precios al ir de compras? ¿Encontraste un mejor precio?
¿Cuál es tu objetivo financiero más importante?
Module 1 in Spanish, Part 3. Haz un plan de accion.

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