teaching kids

Teaching kids to manage money

A few years ago, our church offered a Christian financial planning program that focused on getting people in control of their money. The class changed everything money-related in our marriage (for the better!) and made us much more conscious of what habits we wanted to impart to our children.

We ordered a junior financial planning kit for our daughter, Anna. One of the main points in the junior program is that a weekly allowance is out because then kids learn that they get money for nothing. The program favors a chore/commission approach instead.

We created a chore chart for Anna with age-appropriate chores with associated commissions for each one. If she did the chore that day, she’d get paid, if not, then no money. At the end of the week, we’d tally up how much money she had earned and pay up. She sorted her weekly pay into three pouches. She used one to save, one for spending money, and one for giving. The giving envelope came with us weekly to church for the offering. Any time we went to the store, she could bring her spending money.

We have admittedly fallen away from following this as closely as we did in the beginning. But the principles we learned from that program have endured. I’ll offer the kids chores to do or to support a lemonade stand in the summer if they ask for spending money. They both love putting money in the offering tray on Sunday mornings, and gathering contributions for the offering has become part of getting ready for church in our house.

My rule for shopping with the kids is if they want something that isn’t on my list, they better have brought their spending money. And if they forgot, then we can bring it next time. This has worked surprisingly well at squashing a lot of the begging that occurs on our expeditions to Target

I feel like Andy and I have established a fairly good base of teaching our kids to manage their money, but there is still a lot we want them to learn. I want to teach them about budgeting and living within their means; to save strategically for future and potential emergencies; that credit cards are not the key to freedom I thought they were in college; and to give generously using their gifts from God to benefit others.