Teaching children biblical principles, is especially important when it comes to how they handle money.
Rachel was one money-smart kid. By age 6, she was already developing remarkable financial habits by dutifully dividing any money she received: 10% for church, 10% for saving, and the rest for spending, as her parents had taught her. Rachel was receiving an allowance of $1 per week and had $32 set aside for saving and spending—proof that she had been holding her money for a while.
Then one day, Harvey, a colleague of Rachel’s father, lost everything in a devastating fire at his home. At a potluck dinner organized to raise money for Harvey’s family, Rachel gave Harvey all the money she’d been saving. Rachel’s story reflects a remarkably mature approach to honoring God with money.
God’s Word teaches that it’s wise to give and save. However, sensing and responding to the Holy Spirit’s leading to give away money she had set aside for other purposes showed that Rachel had not just learned biblical principles of money management from her parents; she had developed a Christlike heart for giving.
Are you wondering how you can teach your kids wise money habits? Here are some tips:
As soon as kids receive money, help them with giving and saving habits before spending any of it. Starting with a similar approach to the division of money that Rachel was taught can set children on a solid path toward saving and stewarding even what little they may have.
Point out that these practical habits are taught in the Bible. For example, Proverbs 3:9 encourages us to give back to God the first and best portion of what we receive. And Proverbs 21:20 teaches that it’s wise to save, noting that “the foolish man spends whatever he gets.” Doing what the Bible teaches is one way we show our love for God.
Reasons to Save
Saving also helps children value what to buy and diminishes the possibility of impulsive spending. When our kids spend their entire allowance and then see something else they want, we can empathize but must hold firm to the principle that they need to wait until they get their allowance or can work for pay. Kids will find that it’s satisfying to buy something with the money they’ve saved, and it may motivate them to take better care of their purchases.
Guiding children into the habit of saving also introduces them to real-world economics. Most things won’t be freely given to them in life; they have to earn them. Teach them now that the wise approach is to wait until they’ve saved enough money before buying something.
It’s easier to teach children to save by encouraging them to develop attainable goals for things that don’t take too long to save for—perhaps a book or inexpensive toy. As they get older, have them begin to save for bigger expenses, such as a bike or skateboard.
To make it easier to save for more expensive goals, encourage children to draw or cut out a picture of what they’re saving for. Have them create a financial goal “thermometer.” Instead of degrees of temperature, make the tick marks be financial milestones with the total at the top. Have them color it in as they make progress.
Little Steps, Lifelong Impact
Teaching a child to save might not seem like a big deal—but it is. Not having enough money is a stressful way to live. Think about that the next time you see your child putting 10 cents of every dollar into his savings jar. Imagine his future marriage and the peace of mind he and his wife will enjoy by living with margin.
Think also about how God cares enough about maintaining a reserve to include instruction about it in His Word. So, let’s teach our kids to save, cheer them on when they do and help them see that it’s part of what it means to follow God. Then one day, if they decide to give away all their savings because they see a need and feel compelled to help meet it, let’s cheer them on all the more. Thank God that our kids are learning not just biblical financial principles. They’re developing hearts for Jesus.