As of 2022, the average American carried $101,915 in debt, according to one Experian statistic. It is becoming more and more acceptable to carry debt, despite the crushing weight that debt holds over people. Between rising costs of living, student loan debt, accessibility to credit cards, and societal pressures, many people today find it nearly impossible to stay afloat financially. Proverbs 22:7 says that “the borrower is slave of the lender.” So how can we teach our kids to be smart with money now? How can we leave a legacy of wise and cheerful givers like Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 9:7?
Four Ways You Can Teach Good Stewardship in Young Children
1 – Study Together
Have family bible study on what it means to be a good steward and to be a cheerful giver. Pray together and ask God to give your family wisdom in this area. Here are a few passages you can start with.
Psalm 24:1 Proverbs 22:7 2 Corinthians 9:7 1 Corinthians 4:7
1 Timothy 6:17 Luke 12:13-15 Matthew 6:19-21 1 Timothy 5:8
2 – Say NO to “allowances” and YES to “commission”
Regularly giving kids money for merely existing, a.k.a. “allowances,” can contribute to an attitude of entitlement. Conversely, allowing children to work for their money can create a sense of humility and accomplishment. One example of incorporating a “commission” could be using task charts. Most kids are expected to do certain daily chores as part of being a member of their family. After all, parents don’t get paid to clean up after themselves. ☺ An additional option of weekly paid tasks can give them an opportunity to earn their own money. Once a week is “Pay Day,” when they get to receive their commission and divide up their money. As they get older, they can apply that work ethic and get a summer job or start their own small “business” (lemonade stands, lawn care, etc.)
3 – Spend, Save, Give
When your kids earn or are gifted money, a great way to practice good money management is to create a “Spend, Save, Give” system. The kids can label envelopes or some other kind of containers. Come up with a plan together for dividing up their money. For example, if they were to earn $5 from their optional task chart, they could put $1 in the “Give” jar, $1 into “Save” and $3 into “Spend.” I’ve seen kids beam with joy as they took their own “Give” money to church for the contribution, or as they chose a local charity to donate to.
4 – Let them help you do the monthly budget
When you sit down to calculate the monthly budget, let your kids see the numbers and even help do the math. Let them help you make the weekly grocery list or plan a meal one night. The more real-world experience, the better!