Guest post from Angi of SchneiderPeeps
Over the last few years, our children have done some pretty cool things. They’ve had opportunities to go to Boy Scout Jamboree, Philmont and Northern Tier High Adventure Camps, get training with Actors, Models and Talent for Christ, start a beekeeping business, and go to jewelry school. These are all things that have cost thousands of dollars and that THEY have paid for themselves.
We are pretty proud of what they have each accomplished… and so are they. As I look back over the years, I see several things that I believe have helped our children learn to be wise with money.
1. Learn to work
All of our children know how to work. They are each responsible for their own belongings and for helping with household work.
Even small children can empty small trash cans or put away silverware. Whether to pay your child an allowance or commission for household work is a very personal decision, one that parents need to carefully consider.
It’s important that children learn that in order to have money they need to work, but it’s also important for children to learn to work hard even when pay isn’t involved or if no one is looking.
One interesting thing that has happened from working hard when pay is not involved is that my older children are regularly hired to help friends with projects that they have going on in their home.
2. Learn to save
When our children were young, we required them to save a certain percentage of all their money. As they have gotten older we have not needed to have this requirement; they all have learned to save for things they want – both big and small.
Some of our children have learned this discipline quicker than others, but all of our older children are savers.
3. Learn to give
It’s really important to us that our children learn to give generously. At a minimum, we have always required that our children tithe on their earnings.
We no longer have to require this, they just do it naturally. But, we also want them to give in addition to their tithe, so we have made sure that they have opportunities to practice giving by filling shoe boxes for Operation Christmas child, giving to a family in our church whose home burned down, purchasing curtains for our local Women’s Shelter, sending clothes and school supplies to a friend’s village in Kenya and taking meals to families who have had a new baby or are experiencing a hardship in some way.
4. Learn to be content
Contentment is hard to teach because it’s a choice that we each have to make in our hearts. But that doesn’t mean we don’t encourage our children to be content.
One way we’ve done this is by being content and thankful for what we have and not chasing the next new shiny thing. We try to buy quality items and then keep them for years.
One thing my older children have observed about electronics is that as soon as a new product is released the company is already working on the next generation. It can become a vicious cycle trying to always have the latest and greatest technology or clothing style or car.
5. Learn from mistakes
My children have made mistakes in their financial journey. Fortunately, those mistakes have been minor compared to what can happen when they are on their own.
It’s hard to see them struggle and the “mommy” in me really wants to rescue them from their choices or to forbid a choice that I know is unwise. However, I’d rather see my child make a mistake that costs only a hundred dollars and learn the lessons he needs to learn than to make mistakes as an adult that cost thousands of dollars.
If I keep them from making mistakes or rescue them from the consequences, I just delay them learning the lessons they need to learn.
Learning to be financially wise does not just happen, it has to be something that we diligently teach our children.
Angi Schneider is a minister’s wife and homeschooling mom. She blogs about their homesteading and homeschooling adventures at SchneiderPeeps. Angi and her husband, Carl, are also the authors of Hope-Thriving While Unemployed, an ebook to help those who are unemployed or underemployed.