For the love of money

Thanks to everyone who participated in the conversation yesterday regarding vaccinations.  It’s an important topic and I’m glad people are talking about it.  And thanks for being so respectful of one another and of the differing opinions.  It was nice to read the different perspectives without feeling any tension.  You guys are great!

On Wednesday, I took the kids to Target to buy Tia a new stroller for her baby dolls.  An overzealous neighbor boy broke hers and I promised her a new one if she did a good job getting her ears cleaned out.  And since she didn’t scream (thank you Vercet), she got the much coveted stroller.

Sloan had seven dollars in his wallet.  Lee and I don’t give the kids an allowance, but on occasion we reward them for work they do around the house, particularly when that work is done from a serving heart.

And, oh my, that seven bucks was burning a hole in his pocket.  So, after picking out the perfect baby stroller, we headed to the Star Wars isle.  Did you know there is little to nothing you can buy for seven dollars?

Sloan found the toy he really wanted, but it is 25 dollars.  So he put it down and looked around and said, “Well, I guess I’ll just buy something I don’t really want because I’m ready to spend my money.”

At that moment, a huge light went off over our heads and a voice blared over the loudspeaker, TEACHABLE MOMENT, TEACHABLE MOMENT!!!!

Okay, not really.  But wouldn’t it be nice if that happened?

I did however, get down on Sloan’s level and explain to him the wisdom in saving his money so that he could buy the thing he really wanted.

“But that will take too long,” he protested.

It took a little convincing, but I finally helped him understand that waiting and working to earn the money for something he wanted would be better than wasting his money on something he didn’t really want.  What a lesson, huh?  I need to remember that myself sometimes.

So, we came home, Sloan’s back pocket still burning with unspent dollars.  Last night, Sloan rushed to his room and “cleaned” it up – which means he tossed all the loose toys into the closet and shoved the door closed.  Because that’s how we roll in the Stuart house…

“Can I have a dollar?” he asked.  Sound the alarm! TEACHABLE MOMENT, TEACHABLE MOMENT!!!

“Son, did you do that because it needed to be done, or because you wanted money?” Lee asked.

“Because I wanted money,” Sloan replied oh so honestly. 

Lee then tried to explain to Sloan that there are certain things we do because we’re supposed to.  But I could see Sloan get more and more dejected and confused, and I could understand why.  You see, once, maybe twice, we have given him money for cleaning his room.  It wasn’t because he cleaned his room, but because his heart was so pure and sweet and we were rewarding him for that.  But we obviously didn’t do a good job explaining that to him, so I could see why he would feel frustrated with us last night.  But then it got worse…

“I LOVE money, though.  I just want it so bad!” he cried.

Yikes.  We have some training to do.  Teaching kids the proper way to think about and handle money is a little daunting.  While Lee and I don’t spoil our children by any means, we are blessed to be able to provide them with not only comforts, but special privileges as well.  We try to make them aware of the fact that Lee and I work hard for our money and we work to spend it in the proper manner. 

I know as they grow older, there will be more opportunity to have a discourse over how and where it is wise to spend money, but we want to start training them now.

We also talked with Sloan about giving a portion of the money he earns back to God as a tithe.  Oh, he was not happy to hear that.  We had a lot of discussion about it this morning.

What are some things you’ve done to train your children in finanaces and the responsiblity that comes with money?  Nicole, could you leave the name of the piggy bank you guys use in the comments?  I would like to get one of those.

I think it’s important to not only model to our children the correct way to spend, save and give money, but also to give them the opportunity to practice.  So Lee and I are working on some projects that Sloan can do around the house to earn more money.  Today, I’m going to have him and Tia wipe down all the baseboards in the house.  Which, wow – I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this earlier!  I hate cleaning baseboards!  Is it bad that I’m excited about the benefits of teaching this life lesson?  Ahem

So, please, help me out.  What are some ways we can teach our children to be responsible in earning, saving, spending and giving money?  What are practices that have been effective for you?


  1. First of all kudos for the baseboards job for the kids! We’ve been doing that for a couple of years and I LOVE that it’s no longer my job!!

    We look at allowance as a tool to teach about financial responsibility, not generally in exchange for jobs done around the house. (It seems in reading other peoples’ blogs and talking to other parents that people generally take one stance or the other, so I’m just putting mine out there!) Though, if they do something above and beyond what is expected, they might get a little extra money. However, that’s usually b/c we’ve asked them to help with something, not because they choose to do it on their own.

    I think this bank has been an excellent tool in helping us teach the boys how to divide up money. Their allowance is equal to half their age in dollars, so Luke gets $3 a week now, and it’s divided like this: $1 for saving (which gets transferred to his savings acct); $1 for spending (he can choose what to do with it – usually pool his money with Bennett and get something bigger than he can afford himself); $.25 to donations and $.25 to the church. That leaves an extra $.50 that we just rotate into the four bank sections. The donate money we’re using to help them choose causes that are important to them. Last year before school started, Luke donated some school supplies that he bought with his own money. This year, the boys are mainly saving up to send our Compassion child a birthday/Christmas gift.

    We use the Money Savvy Pig. We just put a sticker over the “Invest” portion to make it the church donations, since to us, invest was equal to savings.

    It’s not always easy for the boys because it’s not like they’re earning enough spending money to get what they want very quickly (especially when they know that other friends get allowances that might be the same amount or more but they just get to spend it). But I really feel like we’ve come SO far in teaching the value of a dollar. Not long ago I came home from a garage sale with a great Star Wars puzzle that I’d gotten for $.50. Luke was in awe that you could get something SO COOL for so little money! And before we started this a year or so ago, he’d have given no thought to it at all.

    Sorry this is so long! Good for you guys looking into a way to teach Sloan (and the other kiddos) about tithing and a good attitude about money.

  2. Thank you, thank you! You guys have done a great job in this area, and while I feel like we’re on the right track, I know there are areas where we can be more helpful in our kids understanding of money and responsibility. I love that pig – I’ve it from the first time you blogged about it – so I think it’s time we got around to buying one for our house.Thanks for the great suggestions! I’m off to make chocolate chip lancakes for your kid!! 🙂

  3. Melissa Cable says

    just now reading this, our friends call their allowance a salary. Because grownups work for their $ and earn a salary. They have a list of chores the kids do and at the end of the week they get their salary if most of them are done. If they have to be reminded or nagged or bad hear, they lose like 10 cents- a paycut if you will. Anyhoo, thats just theirs, we do absolutely nothing in our house, no allowance, no chores, no teachable moments 🙂 But we are rethinking that as parker is googling over his $3.

  4. Melissa Cable says

    and wow, that money savvy pig is kind of pricey, I guess I gotta start saving my money to buy 3.


  1. […] couple of weeks ago, I told you about our desire to better teach our children how to handle money.  Last night we had the opportunity to reward Sloan for his patience and great attitude in working […]