PERU - When it comes to handling their finances, Lana Knight wants kids to get an early start.
Knight, director of Christian education at Peru Community Church, will join Debby Healy and Kallie Licourt of TD Bank in hosting "Cash, Check or Credit?" beginning Wednesday, June 2. The weekly workshop will teach children in grades 5-7 the fundamentals of money management including budgeting, the difference between debit and credit cards, how to use a checkbook and understanding basic financial terms.
"I remember being in seventh grade when we had home economics and you learned the basic skills of balancing a checkbook," recalled Knight. "That's not the case today. There's even a whole generation of parents out there that weren't shown that in school."
The idea behind the workshop is to provide that type of information to children who may not have a good grasp on what to do with money when they get it, said Knight.
"There are three things you do with money, especially at this age," said Knight. "You have money in your pocket, money in your piggy bank, and hopefully, money in some sort of savings account. We're going to show kids how to use an account correctly."
"We'll show them how to fill out a check, how to fill out a deposit ticket, withdrawal tickets, balancing their checkbooks and how to avoid overdraft charges," said Licourt.
Once children understand the basics of money management, it will give them a greater appreciation for what they do with their money, said Healy.
"Once they start seeing how many hours they have to work to save up for something, it can be an eye-opener for them," said Healy. "Then they may think, 'Oh, wow, maybe I won't have that extra soda today.' I think they'll appreciate things more and you can see them saving a lot faster, too."
Though the event will be held in the church's fellowship center on Elm Street, Knight stressed Cash, Check or Credit? will be a nondenominational event.
"I just really, really believe strongly in hosting community events," she said. "And, it's going to be very interactive. The kids are going to leave having fun."
The workshop will be offered four consecutive Wednesdays beginning June 2. Though TD Bank offers their services free of charge, Knight is charging $5 per child, per session, to cover the cost of materials.
"Each child will take home a wallet, so the money will go toward purchasing those," she said.
However, if an enrolled child shows evidence of having a savings account or opening one, Knight will give the child back half of his or her registration fee to put into their account.
"It doesn't have to be TD Bank - we'd like it to be, but it doesn't have to be," said Knight.
Registration is required for the workshops and may be arranged by calling 643-8641.
Healy said she hopes parents will take advantage of the workshops to help ensure a bright financial future for their children.
"I think the younger you can get the kids involved, the better off they'll be," she said.