Kids Like to Spend Money
Joey and Carla Link
April 11, 2018
Your kids each get a wad of cash from their grandparents for Christmas and birthdays. A few weeks later they ask you to buy them something and you tell them to spend their own money. When they tell you they don’t have any, you look at them dumbfounded. Where did that money go? Money seems to slip through your kids’ fingers and even they can’t account for what they spent it on. Have you ever taught your kids how to handle money?
We were laughing with our son recently as he is starting to work with his son to train him to understand the value of money. We reminded him of the time when he was around 7 years old when we gave him the job of emptying the dishwasher for .25 cents a week (It was a long time ago!) After his mom reminded him for the umpteenth time to get that task done one day and threatened to take the money away, he told her he had decided the .25 wasn’t worth it! We realized the chores we gave our kids had to have value to them to get them to do them, but we never paid them for doing chores again. We told them everyone in the family had chores to do every day as a part of being in the family.
Kids choose to do what has value to them. For our kids to choose to buy something with their own money, it demonstrates the value/worth of that item to them. So what are your kids looking at? What is alluring to them when they walk through a store? If they had their own money would they want it badly enough to buy it themselves?
When our girls were teens and wanted a certain brand of jeans that were more costly than their clothing budget allowed we decided we would offer to pay what we would for the other jeans and they could pay the rest. This caused our girls a real dilemma because what they wanted was to have the expensive jeans and for us to pay for them! What we were doing was challenging them to understand the value of the jeans to them.
It doesn’t take long for kids, even preschoolers to get the “I wants”. It is up to you to teach them money matters and how to handle it. Here are a few suggestions:
- Have a plan for handling money. We gave our kids 3 containers to use as banks. One was for money to spend, one for money to save and one for money to tithe. Every penny they got for jobs or gifts was divided these 3 ways: 50% savings, 15% tithe and 35% to spend.
- Teach them to tithe. We wanted our kids to learn to tithe when they were young so it would be an ingrained habit when they became adults. They loved putting shoeboxes together for Samaritan’s Purse and used their tithe money to buy the items for their boxes. They often gave more money to their tithe account so they could do more boxes. We made sure they saw us put our tithe envelope in the offering plate every week at church as well.
- Have them start saving their own money for things they want. This is not to be confused with using money in their savings bank. We opened a savings account at a local bank for our kids and they loved to deposit their savings money in their own account. This account was used to buy their first car and pay for college. The money they would save for something they want to buy is the money in their spending bank.
- Talk to them about jobs they could do at their age to earn money. At age 12, I (Joey) started delivering newspapers 7 days a week. I learned a lot of lessons from this job I had for 7 years, some of which I liked and some I didn’t. (You can guess which category paying for a window I broke throwing the paper through it came under!) Or getting up early every day before school to deliver the papers even on Christmas Day.
- Make a list of extra jobs around the house your kids can do to earn money like shoveling snow in the winte These should be jobs over and above their normal chores and other responsibilities.
The downside for parents is, if you have not taught them right from wrong, you may not like what they buy. For instance, if you have a girl who is drawn to tight fighting clothes or a boy who wants to play violent video games and you believe both are wrong for your kids, you need to be sure you teach them what is right and wrong about it. Our kids didn’t have the freedom to spend their money without our blessing.
The last thing kids want to do with money is to be responsible with it. The first time your child gets money for a gift or job such as mowing a lawn or babysitting, they start thinking and dreaming how to spend it and what they can get with it. Their next thought is “how can I get more of this money so I can buy more things?” This mindset is difficult to overcome, but oh so needed in “training our kids in the way they need to go.” (Proverbs 22:6)