NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Nacogdoches elementary students are learning a lesson that is valuable for this time of year.
The subject -- financial literacy. Four years ago the state added the subject for students in kindergarten to fifth grade.
The holiday season provides the perfect lesson plan.
A fifth grade class at Raguet Elementary learns about budgeting, cash, credit, and debit.
Few fifth graders have a debit card, but they're learning how to handle one.
Fifth-grade math teacher Nakendra Matthews asks the class, “What does withdrawal mean? That you’re taking money out.”
With the basics down the students prepare to shop with pretend deposits. A table full of gift selections set on a table.
"Oh, this looks good," said student Kennedi Green while glancing down at an object.
Right away he began learning how far a dollar goes.
"$18,” he says as he subtracts it from his pretend debit register.
Math interventionist Karen Fancher finds the exercise a valuable lesson.
"I think the kids at a young age can understand why we can't afford what we can or why we can buy what we can. What's the difference between a need. What's the difference between a want."
Fifth grader Audrey McDermott understands.
“I’m looking at prices and then subtracting beforehand and seeing how much I have left and if I have enough for other gifts.”
Classmate Juan Ocon knows, "I got to be wise (about) what I'm gonna do.
But even the best of shoppers can come up short.
Student Tristan Vidrine notes he has $5.00 left in his pretend account.
"I only have a gift for my mom and my dad, but I need one for my brother and sister. And my grandma. I'm broke."
According to a recent survey, 66-million Americans are going into debt this holiday season.
Budget lessons at an early age may diminish that trend.
The PTA provided another lesson by sponsoring a Santa’s Workshop. Kindergarteners to fifth graders got to shop with their own money.
Trinkets were spread on a table. Each one was a dollar.
“I think it’s huge to understand that you only have so much money so let’s figure out how we can spend it wisely," said Fancher.