image of apple pie

July 23, 2021

In this edition of Financial Fun Friday, we are introducing an activity that is as tasty as it is educational. Easy as pie is a hands-on lesson to teach kids to compare item costs, with the goal of saving in mind.

Easy as pie instructions:

  • First, ask your child to choose their favorite kind of pie.
  • Find a recipe for the pie together. Peruse your home cookbooks or find a recipe online. If you have an old family favorite recipe, even better! Be sure to print a copy and/or write the recipe instructions in a notebook or your phone.
  • Check your pantry for the items you have on hand for the pie and record what you still need to bake your tasty treat.
  • Next, find a bakery that makes the pie of choice. Check on the price of the pie and record it in a notebook or on your phone. Do not forget to estimate tax as well. You may have to pick a back-up option if the pie of choice is seasonal in nature. (Don’t worry pumpkin pie fans, you can just do this delicious activity again in the fall!)
  • Once you have the price of the bakery pie, it’s time to go price check the ingredients you need to bake the pie yourself. While shopping, be sure to check different brands to compare costs as well. For example, is there a cheaper vanilla extract available? Can you find sugar that costs less?
  • Record the price of each ingredient. Remember to factor in tax with your total.
  • Now, compare the cost of the store bought pie vs. your homemade edition. Remember the price of your homemade pie will always vary based on what ingredients you already have. The more ingredients you have on hand, the cheaper the cost will be. However, if you have to purchase most of the ingredients, the store bought pie might be the better deal.
  • Keep in mind the cost of labor as well. Do you have the time to commit to baking a pie from scratch? Will it interfere with other planned activities, such as sports team practices?
  • After comparing the costs of both price and time, determine which pie is the better choice for you.
  • While one option might be better than the other, if you are able, make the activity more fun by purchasing the bakery pie AND making the pie from scratch. Then you can have fun baking and eating two pies. What’s tastier than two pies?

Easy as pie is a great tool to introduce the concept of budgeting as well. Take it to the next level, by planning your next pie or other dessert adventure and including a full meal with it. Set a spending limit and have your child price ingredients. Not only does this activity teach a valuable lesson, but it also just might get the kids to appreciate the work that goes into family meal planning.

For more interactive financial lessons, visit the OVB Virtual Classroom. In this space you will find a variety of financial video lessons as well as corresponding handouts and activities. Check out future editions of Financial Fun Friday for additional content.