Not all four-letter words have four letters. Perhaps you rank “budget” with the worst. A budget, though, is just a tool for handling your money, and like any tool can be useful or not. As parents, one of the joys we have is teaching our children principles of wise stewardship of God’s resources.
I taught my five children the concept of budgeting in a simple, hands-on way. Taking four envelopes per child, I labeled them Save, Give, Spend, and Tithe, and tucked those envelopes inside a larger clasp envelope with the child’s name on the front. Money from chores, birthdays, Christmas, or whatever other money they earned or received was divided by percentages and placed in the envelopes. Together we set goals for the money like, “Your sister’s birthday is in August, so if you want to buy her a present, how much money do you need in your “Give” envelope by then?”
You could buy your child a new bicycle or the latest PlayStation, but maybe you prefer to teach him the discipline (and excitement!) of saving and buying it himself out of his “Save” envelope. A quick peek into the “Spend” envelope will help her choose between the movie theater with friends or the latest pair of Vans.
Like all budgets, your child’s budget will need a makeover from time to time. Eventually, you will even switch to online or app budget tools because larger sums will be kept in the bank and the spending will take place with a debit card. But by the time they are teens, they will have learned the “pain” of actually handing over an Andrew Jackson to the cashier. And that we can’t spend the same dollar twice, so we all must choose wisely. After all, money really doesn’t grow on trees!
Whatever method you choose, teach your children early on to wisely manage what God gives them. “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
About the Author: Anita Nish is a born-again follower of Jesus Christ, pastor’s wife, mom of five, and homeschool mom of 20+ years. She has a Bachelor’s degree in French and English and a Master’s degree in English education. After serving her family and her church, her third greatest desire is to teach younger women the principles of Titus chapter 2: to love their husbands, to love their children, and to be workers in their homes.