Spending fun quality time with your children while teaching them about responsible money management is one investment that is sure to pay off. However, be ready to learn some rich lessons of your own as your new “expert” financial stewards question your spending habits. “Mom, why did you buy those designer diamond-studded flip-flops with your credit card after you told me I had to save money and pay with cash?”
Help Your Family Become Better Stewards
- Family tradition. You don’t have to go out and spend lots of money to have fun or to make someone feel special. Get your child involved as you plan and prepare a special home-cooked meal for Father's Day, birthdays or other important event.
- Family outing. One of the best places to learn about stewardship is the grocery store. By comparing prices, sticking to your budget and only purchasing items on your list, you teach your children financial stewardship.
- Here’s a good checklist to discuss spending and saving with your kids:
- Do you really want or need it?
- Will you still want it in a week?
- How will you pay for it?
- Can you find it elsewhere for less money?
- Is there something better you should be using your money for?
- Games. Classic board games that use money (like Monopoly, Life and Payday) are great opportunities to talk to your kids about stewardship.
- Object lesson: The power of compound interest. How much does a slice of pizza cost? Would you believe nearly $65,000? If a slice of pizza cost $2, and you buy a slice every week for 50 years, you'll spend $5,200 on pizza. However, if you give up that slice of pizza and invest the money instead, earning 8% interest compounded each year, you'll have over $64,678.87! Read Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock by Sheila Bair to explain this to your child in easier terms.
- Resources. Visit the US Securities and Exchange Commission website for ideas to teach your older kids about savings (www.sec.gov/investor/students/tips.htm). Read The Berenstain Bears & Trouble with Money with younger kids to discuss ideas about financial stewarship.
- “I will” statements. Encourage stewardship in your home by committing to the following statements. Say these “I will” statements aloud with your children, and encourage them to apply them to situations in their everyday life.
- I will save more and spend less
- I will budget my money, time, talents and energy
- I will look for the best value
- I will make good choices with what I have
- I will not confuse wants with needs.
Sarah Holmes lives in Norman and is the founder of Wildflowers Character Resources. Find more at www.thecharactermom.blogspot.com. “I Will” statements used with permission of Character First, www.character first.com.