Pizza illustration

Feb 8, 2022

National Pizza Day: How to use pizza to learn about money

One thing we know about kids: they love pizza. In 2021 alone, Greenlight kids and teens collectively spent $6.8 million on pizza (more than double from the previous year, at $3.2 million). That's quite a mouthful! To celebrate National Pizza Day this year, we’ve got a few ways to put that cheese and sauce to work. Crust us, we know what we’re talking about here. 

Life is like a box of pizza

Let’s start by looking at the whole pizza pie. We’ll say this is all the money your kids have — in other words, their earnings. Each slice represents how their money is divided. 

Some teachers use pizza to teach students about fractions. We’re going to do something similar. Go through the four main budgeting categories and divvy them up into percentages. Then, make that budget real. How? Set spending limits in your app. 

Your budget: 

  • Spend now

  • Save for later

  • Invest

  • Give to a charity 

Let’s get cheesy

Okay, we get it. The whole thing is a little cheesy. But kids are visual learners — whether they’re 5 or 15, pizza is good. And it’s a good way to visualize spending. Once you eat it, it’s gone. Similarly, once you spend it, it’s gone. That’s why we budget!  Have you ever heard of the marshmallow experiment? You know — one marshmallow now or two marshmallows later?

Your kids can learn about compound growth in simple terms like this. If you save and invest at a young age (even if that means spending less in the short term), it’ll pay off in the long run. Big time.

The slice is right

Play a game of “The Price is Right” in your own home. Point at the coffee maker and ask, “How much do you think that costs?” When it’s Netflix hour, say, “Guess how much we spend on Netflix every month!”  Why? This teaches them the value of being thoughtful about their spending. As you know, life costs money — whether it’s your coffee maker, your Netflix subscription or something big, like your home. Then, bring it back to the pizza analogy and use your own pizza budget to show them how you spend. 

Eat pizza, learn money 

As your kids learn how to budget, they’ll begin to learn how much things cost. And the more you talk about it while they’re young, the less shocked they’ll be when they grow up and start paying for more on their own. No surprises here! P.S., Million Bazillion℠ (a podcast Marketplace created in partnership with Greenlight!) has an episode all about pizza and money

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