• Angie Wise

The $20 Challenge

How far will twenty bucks stretch in the hands of an eight year old? A fun and educational activity for kids to get a better understanding of the value of everyday things they take for granted.

After being inspired by the ABC show 'Teenage Boss' we came up with a fun activity that our eight year old daughter was giddy with excitement about.

She had to design a meal plan for herself which included breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and drinks for a whole day that cost no more than $20.

There were no restrictions and no coaching, just a gentle reminder to make good decisions. In theory, she could go out and buy twenty chocolate bars.

With $20, a shopping list and a calculator in her hot little hands, we went on an excursion to our local supermarket. With strict instructions Mum or Dad could not influence her choices.

Her original plan was:


Cereal + Milk




Pesto Pasta


Crackers, carrots, apple and lollies


Carrot + apple juice

When we got there, she picked up a bag of carrots and deliberated over the type of apples – green won out.

We then moved on to the cereal isle, which proved to be her fist compromise. She initially grabbed the sugar laden Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, but they were $5, and after she had looked around, she swapped them for Lowan Whole Foods Cocoa Bombs which were still a fun treat but $1 cheaper with less sugars (phew).

Soup was the original plan for lunch, but at $6.50 she ingeniously decided to have pesto pasta for lunch and dinner. This meant she had enough for a $1 bottle of sparkling water, a packet of lollies and a curly wurly.

We got to the checkout and the final tally came to $20.48, how could this be? She calculated everything which came to exactly $19.99. They had overcharged us for the pasta. So we questioned it and yes, the true final tally was $20.

We were super impressed with her decision making and the critical thinking that went into the activity.

The $20 Challenge is a fun way to explore simple maths, planning ahead, the concept of compromise, learning what things cost and the hidden costs in a simple meal.

The cocoa bombs were used as breakfast, snacks and a dessert (frozen cocoa bombs in milk). The carrots and apple were used to snack on and juice. The pasta was used for lunch and dinner with leftovers for another day.

Now we've successfully got through that challenge, I'm going to take up the gauntlet and design a $20 meat-free daily meal plan for a family of three. I'll let you know how that goes.

If you're game, give it a go. Have fun peeps!

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