Summer; warm weather; poolside adventures; a few trips to the Zoo. Family-fun activities are sure to be on your summer to-do list.
But what about teaching the kids how to handle money?
With summer in session and school not their biggest time-consumer, kids have a great opportunity to stuff their piggy-banks. But before they’re off mowing lawns, painting fences, or scooping ice cream, there are a few lessons worth teaching them.
Here are some pointers I’ve learned that I think can help you too.
The Three Buckets
If your kids are making some money this summer, the first step is to give them places to put it. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was the “Three Buckets” strategy: Give your kids three clear buckets labeled “Give,” “Save,” and “Spend.” They put the cash they earned in these buckets. This helps your kids understand two things: The value of watching money grow over time, and the importance of not spending all of it at once.
When your kids learn to put money aside to give and save, that sets up good habits for them to handle money well later.
How Much Does That Cost?
One of the most eye-opening experiences for me was learning how much it costs to go grocery shopping. I remember when my mom would pull out cash to give to the cashier and I’d be thinking “Wow, it takes THAT much to feed us?”
Help your kids understand the cost and value of everyday goods. Show them the receipts, pull out cash to pay for more things like groceries and clothing, and tell them to look at the prices. When they know how much stuff costs, it’s easier to learn things like budgeting later.
Teach Them To Be Generous
Money touches a lot in life, but it is not life. Help your kids to see money as a tool, instead. Teach them how to use that tool to help others.
Find opportunities that get your kids to support ministry in your community. One great suggestion is the Salvation Army’s LemonAid campaign. Your kids can run a lemonade stand to raise money that the Salvation Army uses to help poverty-stricken kids in Central Ohio get hot meals, after-school and summer education, mentorship, scholarships, etc!
And perhaps one of the best lessons to teach them is to tithe to church. Help them count out 10% of their income to give to church every month. This sets a good habit of giving and being involved in the ministry of your church. And it helps them put God first in their finances, a lesson I’m still learning today.