Thursday, March 10, 2011

Children and Money

And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

My daughter, Jenna, rides the bus to school. Last year, she made friends with some older kids and came home asking me for an iPod because many of them had one. After I declined her request, she got very upset and couldn't understand why we wouldn't just go to the store and pick one up for her. In that moment, I realized that she had no idea about the value of money or how it worked in our day to day lives. My husband and I took that opportunity to start teaching our kids about money.

Why teach kids about money? First, how we understand and handle money has a direct correlation to our spiritual lives. Money is a competitor in our love for and attention to God. It can easily get in the way of our relationship with God if we don't handle it right and/or place it above Him. As parents, we are the only ones who can model and teach our kids how to appropriately deal with money. And most importantly, kids need to know that God is their ultimate provider. When they understand that money really doesn't grow on trees but that it is God-given, their faith will grow. They will understand the freedom and joy in giving as well as being good stewards of God's gifts to us.

Next, teaching kids about money prepares them to be responsible adults who will someday run a Christ-centered household of their own. Understanding the difference between a want and a need, the importance of saving, and the joy in giving to God and other people will help shape their financial habits early and give the a good chance at financial health in the long run.

After some trial and error, we have found a system that works for our family in teaching our children about money. Each child has three envelopes that are kept in a certain place in their rooms. The three envelopes are "give," "save," and "spend." Each week, they are required to do chores (age appropriate) in order to receive their allowance. When they receive their allowance or any other monetary gift they are to put 10% in "give," 10% in "save," and the rest goes in their "spend" envelope (or wallet). Typically, they use their "give" envelope for Sunday School offerings. We encourage that 10% of their money to only go to church. We are trying to model tithing a bit for them. Any time that they have wanted to give to some other cause, they have used their "spend" money.

Did Jenna ever get that iPod that she wanted? No:) But she did save up $25 for an MP3 player. It took her months! But she saved and saved, which meant that she didn't spend and spend! She had a goal and learned that she couldn't just impulsively buy something else that caught her eye at the store because she had a bigger goal in mind. I was very proud of her!

God is the provider of our needs, and just as we have learned to be good stewards of what He has given us, we owe it to our kids to give them the tools to be good stewards too.
Dear Jesus, Thank you for all you have given to us. Thank you for providing for us and loving us so much that you would send your Son to die on the cross for us. Please help us to use your gifts wisely so that more people would know about You. Amen.

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