Make a Mega-Budget: Because a vacation makes clear all the invisible costs of life at home (food, housing, transportation, entertainment, etc.), it offers a particularly well-rounded experiment in budgeting. Silverthorne, CO, mom Carrie Brown-Wolf and her husband, Dan, included their three kids in the years-long process of planning -- and saving for -- a six-weektrip to Europe and Africa. "They were part of the decision to skip ayear of camp and our springbeach trip," says Brown-Wolf. Once on the road, the kids -- by then in their tweens and early teens -- decided to cut lodging costs by sharing a room throughout the trip. Where they could, they saved on food by eatingbig free hotel breakfasts and lighter lunches. Brown-Wolf was especially pleased when the kids applied sound logic to allocating their entertainment budget in England -- a choice that boiled down to amusement-park rides versus a play. "I heard them say that, in America, they could do the rides, but they couldn't see a play in the Royal Theatre."
Barbara Rowley attempts to teach (and practice) financial-literacy skills with her two daughters, 10 and 14, in their hometown of Big Sky, MT.