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5 Popular Children’s Movies and the Money Lessons We Can Learn from Them

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When we think back on all the movies from our childhood, we usually remember a funny scene, a plot twist, and a favorite character. Who knew there are some actually helpful money tips in between the sleek animations and rosy-cheeked child stars? Take a look back at these educational kids’ movies and remind yourself of these key money lessons for kids and adults.

Movie: Home Alone
Lesson: Keep your money in a secure place.

How can you not reach for your wallet when the main character, Kevin McAllister, steals the “life savings” from his older brother Buzz? From that moment on, if you first watched this movie as a kid, we bet you were careful with where you stashed your cash. As adults, though, this task is so much more complicated than using a piggybank. We have a range of options — 401(k)s, Roth IRAs, certificates of deposit, and so on — along with various ways to keep track of it all and keep it secure.

Movie: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Lesson: Money won’t buy manners – and sometimes not even happiness.

One of the five lucky kids to find a golden ticket was the spoiled rich kid, Veruca Salt. Her dad bought thousands of Willy Wonka chocolate bars and paid his workers to search for a golden ticket for her. Despite all he did just to make Veruca happy, she was never satisfied. Even inside the chocolate factory, she was a greedy brat. Finally, she got what was coming to her when she ended up in the garbage after being deemed a “bad egg.” Little Miss Salt taught us that no amount of money can buy a pleasant personality, and no matter how rich you are, being rude and unappreciative is just trashy.

Movie: Blank Check
Lesson: Money can be more trouble than it’s worth.

When an unexpected incident leaves a signed but blank check in the hands of 11-year-old Preston Waters, he fills it in for $1 million and buys everything a kid could ever want. Eventually the troublemakers behind the check return for their money. After getting chased, having a few close calls, and almost getting into trouble with the law, Preston’s adventure proves that some money isn’t worth the trouble to get it.

Movie: All Dogs Go to Heaven
Lesson: Choose your business partners carefully.

This animated cartoon put very adult issues on the big screen, namely by killing its protagonist, a German Shepherd named Charlie, right at the beginning. He had been framed by his business partner and put into the pound as a con to push him out of the business and subsequently run over by his so-called partner. In between this story of a dog that goes to heaven and returns to Earth to become a good dog is the message that you should always be cautious about financial decisions, even ones with people who seem trustworthy.

Movie: Toy Story 2
Lesson: Friends and family are priceless.

When Woody finds out he’s the lead character of a collection set of toys worth lots of money, he chooses to leave his old pals to follow the path to stardom. Once he thinks it over, Woody realizes that he’s not willing to trade his friends for fame. Coming close to being separated from them forever, he sees that making it big was never as important what he had back at home. Some things you can’t place a dollar amount on.

CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison and financial education blog. It helps make credit “donkey-proof” (easy to understand) with financial tips and deals for college students, young adults and small business owners. 

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