Skip Navigation Links

Teaching kids about Money

While you are keeping your family's financial house in order, be sure to inculcate your good habits into your children. Teaching your children godly principles is one of your main responsibilities as a parent (Deut. 11:19).

A friend of mine hit on a dramatic and graphic way to impress upon his children the value of money and the wisdom of budgeting and saving.

His income was being sapped by high electricity bills because his children constantly left unneeded lights burning. His children were fairly young, but his simple method could be adapted for older children and even teenagers.

My friend gathered his children around the kitchen table one evening. On the table were numerous stacks of pennies. Each stack was labeled to represent different household expenses: tithes and offerings, mortgage, food, heating, electricity, clothing, entertainment.

He explained that the pennies represented the money he brought home from his job and that the stacks showed where the money went each month.

"Now each of the bills we have has to be paid," he said. "And if one of the bills is larger than we expected, we have to take some money from one of the other areas to help pay for it." His children nodded, keeping their eyes on the pennies. They understood his reasoning.

"One of the things we like to do most is go out and have a good time, isn't it?" he asked.

"Yes," his small son answered. "We like to buy ice cream!"

"And we like to go to the movies," said his daughter.

"Right," my friend agreed. "But this month our electricity bill is bigger than we expected, because we leave lights on all over the house when we don't need them."

His children could see the inevitable coming.

"So you know what we have to do?" my friend continued. "We have to take money from somewhere else to pay the electricity bill. The only place where we have extra money is in our entertainment stack."

My friend moved pennies, one at a time, from the entertainment stack to the electricity stack until there weren't any left in the entertainment stack. His children's eyes widened each time he moved another penny, the chagrin on their faces deepening until it resembled despair.

"Now," my friend announced. "Our budget for this month is balanced. Maybe next month we'll have enough money to go out and have fun," he said hopefully. His kids could tell he was on their side and was just as sad as they were.

After the family meeting was over, his children immediately began running all through the house, shutting off lights. From then on, they made sure no money was wasted on unneeded electricity. My friend's electricity bill went down and his kids learned an important lesson.

Don't forget to teach your children about money management.