Children who reside in AAI shelters are introduced to the concept of financial literacy. Stipends are earned by the children who perform chores: $1 per day for the younger children and $2 per day for the older children. The children hand-paint their own "piggy banks" which are kept secure by staff. Children are encouraged to save their money for large purchases or for future needs, but they are allowed to purchase anything as long as they record their expenses in a check register. This encourages the children to pay attention to where they are spending their money.
Impulse buying is discussed as well as the pitfalls of payday loans and excessive credit card usage. Children are taught how to budget, set goals, maintain a check register and save money. All aspects of financial management are covered in age-appropriate lessons, including compound interest, math skills, balancing a check book, comparison shopping, coupon savings and discounts. In this way, children learn the value of money and how to use it wisely.
The older children are taken to the mall or other local stores once a month for shopping trips. Younger children are allowed to go shopping at the "in-house" store every week. The In-house store is located at the AAI administrative offices and is stocked with small toys and books frequently purchased by younger children.
Desert Schools Federal Credit Union funds this program for children in Pinal County.