I’ve always believed in teaching my children how to handle money correctly, so as soon as Isaac was old enough to begin to understand, I began to read all about teaching children to be good stewards.
I stumbled upon this spend, save, give method and I knew that it fit our personal beliefs on stewardship as well, so it was a natural fit. Of course, the website I read was trying to sell me a super cute bank with separate spend, save, give sections. Let me tell you a little bit about the system.
Our kids have chores every day. We don’t pay for all chores. We believe that there are some things that should be done simply because we are a family and we work together as a team, so our children have daily chores such as making their beds, cleaning their rooms, etc that they do not get paid for. That’s just part of their morning routine. However, some bigger jobs that need to be done such as mowing the lawn, cleaning out the car, and major yard work we do offer pay. Of course, pay comes in varying degrees according to age and ability. Isaac now can mow the lawn by himself, so we usually give him $5 or so. Hannah can pick up sticks to make the mowing easier, so we give her $.25. To her, it’s a fortune!
Once they complete the job and it meets our expectations, the child is paid. When the child is paid, 10% goes to the “Give” bag, 10% goes to the “Save bag, and the rest goes in the “Spend” bag. On Sundays, we empty out the “Give” bag and the kids take their offering to church. It really means so much to them to be able to put their money that they earned in the offering plate. They are now helping take care of the church and of God’s people. What a great feeling!
“God loves a cheerful giver.” -2 Corinthians 9:7
Over the years, I’ve tried all kinds of methods for keeping this stewardship system going. Of course, I’m too cheap to buy the super cute bank that they sell, so I’ve tried mason jars (which worked, but seemed to get lost an awful lot), and we’ve tried keeping it in a paper register similar to a checkbook (but there’s just something about actually seeing your money). Finally, this year, I think I’ve found what really works. I bought these pencil pouches at Wal-Mart this year for $0.47, three for each child, and I taped a label on each one. Our kids are all color coded. Hannah is pink, Lydia is purple, and Isaac is blue. They hang up on our mail center above my desk where they are handy and can be easily seen by eager-to-earn kids.
When the kids have enough “Spend” money to buy something they’ve been wanting, we will take them to the store with us to purchase it. It’s a great learning experience to talk about sales tax and rounding up too. And, we’ve had a couple of instances where one of the kids spent their money a little foolishly. When they realized it, it made for a good conversation about how not every cool toy is a quality purchase.
There’s no exact right or wrong way to do this. Even though we don’t do this, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving your child a couple of dollars each week as an allowance to teach them how to handle money. The big idea here is that somehow we provide them experiences with money early so that they can see financial success and financial failure on a smaller scale while they still have time before they are required to make important financial decisions that lead to big successes and big failures.
How does your family handle teaching stewardship?