One of our main goals as parents, after raising our children to love and follow Christ, is to give them the tools they need to be successful, productive, generous adults. We want them to have a solid foundation that makes the challenges that are bound to arise later in life more manageable. One of the largest areas of difficulty for many adults is managing their finances. There are so many ways to go wrong and when given the wrong information, or no information, people can make some horrible decisions regarding money. We know that we have, and continue to, struggle with properly managing our finances. We do not want the boys to start out their adult lives with the same struggles we have had, so while we are first working on ourselves (afterall, living by example speaks volumes over what we actually say to them) we are also trying to plant some early money management seeds in our youngsters.
I have to give a lot of the credit to Laura from Happily Ever After as it was her post about teaching her young daughter how to begin being wise with her money that sparked the idea to do the same in our home. I had always planned on being intentional in teaching the boys about money but never gave it a thought to start so young. But I realized, that just like everything else in parenting, you give them what they can handle at each stage. For our 3 and 4 year old that is an "allowance" of a dollar a week. They earn this by doing their part to contribute around the house. That includes keeping their rooms tidy, clearing their own plates at meal time, picking up toys around the house, etc. We give them this dollar in the form of 10 dimes (thanks again Laura, you are too smart!) as this makes it easier to show them how to split up the money. 1 dime goes in their God jar for tithing, 4 dimes go in their spending jar and are available to them to spend as they see fit, 5 dimes go in their piggy banks which are for saving and can't be touched. I can't tell you how much they love this and we are seeing good things developing because of it. They are learning about the value of money, counting, fractions as well as responsibility and being a good steward of their money.
Today they actually got their first chance to spend some of that well-earned money. We made a trip to the dollar store last week and they saw some light-up batons that they loved and continued to talk about all week. So I told them that when they got their allowance this week we could count up what they had in their spending jar and if there was enough they could chose whether or not to go buy the batons. They each had two dollars which we told them was enough for just one thing at the dollar store (darn tax!) and they both chose to spend it. You should have seen their little faces as they marched into that store, chose their batons carefully, waited in line and handed the cashier their money. I think they were happy with their decision:
I would love to hear the things you are doing in your family to help your kids learn the value of money...feel free to share all your great ideas!