Centsibility:The Planet Girl Guide to Money by Stacey Roderick and Ellen Warwick is a practical, highly readable guide to money management that targets teen girls. There are several other Planet Girl guides in this series already, most of them more crafty in theme (Fully Wooly, Injeanuity, Stuff to Hold Your Stuff). I’m usually pretty skeptical when it comes to “advice books” aimed at this audience. I find that they can really talk down, or else pigeon hole teen readers, suggesting that there’s basically one standard type of teenage girl out there who thinks and acts and dresses a certain way. As it turns out, I’m pretty impressed by this tiny guide. There’s a lot of useful, straight-forward info here that will help girls feel more in the know when it comes to money, and possibly lead them towards managing their cash with greater responsibility.
Money management isn’t a topic that all parents discuss with their kids. It isn’t usually covered in school. Yet it’s a life skill that can be complicated, intimidating and even scary, and is absolutely connected to just about everything else about being an adult. While Centsibility certainly focuses on money concerns of particular interest to a teenage girl, the information and money skills that it addresses easily transfer to “grown up” life (handling savings, setting goals, budgeting, thinking before spending, finding deals, charitable donations).
At the beginning, I thought that the thrust of the book was going to be purely how a girl can earn money to buy the things she wants. Happily, that is not the case. Yes, in the Working Girl section, there are many suggestions for how girls might go about getting a job or starting a small from-home business, but that’s just one aspect of the book. Later, readers can test their “purse-onalities” to see what kind of spenders they are. I think that this could help to encourage self-reflection before spending, which is such an important money skill to hone early in life. There are sections on finding deals, considering workers’ rights when making purchases, and thinking about the motives of advertisers as they target teen girls. Centsibility also touches on debt and donating to charity, and has a bunch of cool money-related crafts scattered throughout for fun, and for fund-raising.
This is a sassy, smart and super-readable intro to the world of personal finance. A great gift idea that could be the launch of some great conversations about spending, saving and giving.
Centsibility and the other Planet Girl Guides are published by Kids Can Press.