Growing your little seedlings (children) requires a proper start with finances and these projects can help you.
I was starting work and riding in my car sans children, I was enjoying some financial podcasts, which my children hate to listen to. They want music not talk. They don't care what the talk is, they just hear words and act like they are listening to something that is causing their ears to bleed. Anyhow, I was listening to Financial Rock Star with Scott Alan Turner (I will actually discuss the reasons for the podcasts in a blog post soon) and I wish I could remember which podcast it was (episode 31) and it talked about teaching kids about compound interest. Since my kids listen better to any voice other than my own (it's not that they are disobedient, they just thinking everyone else carries more wisdom than me), I made them listen to that part of the podcast specifically when he mentioned how much money you would have if you were 15 years old and invested $100 and did nothing with it until retirement age. My son, who is 15 years old, perked up and now said he wanted to do that. Well, since I had to research it, I thought I would share it. First, I am giving you a link to have your own lesson in compound interest with your kids (yay- math lesson!). Second, I am including information on ways to get started because it isn't simple since children are minors. Third, a link to the Scott Alan Turner episode so you can let their sweet little ears by charmed by someone else.
This game was designed for a group setting for all ages. I think that some pretty young children can be introduced to the idea of money management with this game. To start seeds of a fruitful finance, you need to start earlier than later. This is also great to help them understand that the bible can be a resource for managing life, not just hearing stories as it often seems for many young children.
Have them all in a circle. Assign one person to be “sick” and unable to participate in physical activities. Tell the kids you will be their boss and you will pay them a “dollar” (fake money) for each 30 seconds of work.
Have them do the following (or other physically active “jobs”) and pay them one fake dollar after each task is done (no work no payment: Proverbs 10:4 Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth).
· 30 seconds of jumping jacks
· 30 seconds of running in place
· 30 seconds of standing on one leg (give them a breather)
· 30 seconds of hopping
· 30 seconds of arm circles
· 30 seconds of lunges
· 30 seconds of squats
· 30 seconds push ups (on floor, on wall, use knees – whatever they can do)
· 30 seconds marching
· 30 seconds walking around the room
At the end they should end up with $10.
Ask the following questions:
Do you all feel you worked for your money?
Do you feel anyone helped you earn your money?
What about God?
Who created you?
Who gave you the arms, legs and body to do the required jobs?
Who allowed you to be healthy enough to do the work? (Perhaps point out the “sick” child who couldn't earn money).
So did we earn our money all by ourself?
Lay out a Bible. Read and explain verses about tithing (try to refrain from too many wordy scripture - or summarize)
Proverbs 3:9-10 Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting...
God doesn't only want us to give part of the money back to further his kingdom, he wants it to remind us where to put our treasure and what should be important in our hearts.
Refer to: 1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. Matthew 6:19-21 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 2For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Have the children take $1 to put on top of the Bible as a symbol of giving to God (usually this would be the offering plate). Explain that this is 1/10 or 10% of what they have. It leaves them with plenty still. Also, it may not seem like they gave very much and of course they can give more but it all adds up when everyone gives.
Now, what about the sick child? Is it fair they couldn't perform the required duties? God provides for them too but often through us.
Acts 20:35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Proverbs 22:9 The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.
Again, I feel that God asks us to do this because it will build us to be good Christians with great character but we can also be blessed spiritually just by helping others. He designed us this way.
Ask them to give a dollar to the “sick child”.
Remind them that just as when they gave to God, they still have quite a bit left, a little ads up quite a bit. Have sick child also tithe (try to even out money- perhaps say because the child has been sick they have fallen behind on their tithing and bills and make it where everyone has $8 left).
Now, the third thing we are supposed to do with our money is save it (bring out the piggy bank) Most people try to save whatever is left, but that rarely works well. Usually, there is little or nothing left so we need to put some away first before we go shopping, etc. if it's already tucked away we will have to find a way to wait or make do without that money. We never know if we might become sick too or if we have a really big expense like our car broke down and needs to be repaired so we can even get to work. We are to save and be prepared for those things as well.
Refer to (you may need to better explain these particularly):
Proverbs 21:20 The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.
Proverbs 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.
Have each child place a dollar in the piggy bank. Ask them to pretend that instead of this being dollars from all different people, pretend that each dollar is a dollar being added each month. It may start small, but it very soon starts to grow and grow which hopefully will grow enough to cover you when you really need it (not just when you want something).
Now point out that everyone still has $7 left and that is enough to take care of their bills. Have them pay $4 for bills (give examples of bills but explain they usually cost much more than a few dollars).
With the $3 fun spending money, let them “purchase” a prize from a prize bin/shop.
Recently, we helped at a garage sale that was raising funds for several charities. (Tiny Hands International http://www.tinyhandsinternational.org/ and a Honduras Mission I believe it's Nueva Esperanza Honduras http://www.hopeinhonduras.org/). I talked to my kids ahead of time before we went to help and helped them to understand why we were participating. In addition, thinking of the lemonade stand post (http://moneygarden.weebly.com/3/post/2013/06/lemonade-sale-vacation-souvenirs.html), I offered to allow them to sell lemonade and cookies again but this time for donating to Charities.
They manned that lemonade stand for 2 days- rotating shifts and allowing other kids to help. They offered 2 cookies that they had assisted in making and a small cup of lemonade for $1.00 donation. They manage to raise $140 in funds. A lot of people donated additional money, moved by the spirit of children ready to serve a cause. My children were incredibly proud of the work they accomplished and they focused on the needs of someone else.
This month we are packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child (discussed in this blog post- http://moneygarden.weebly.com/2/post/2013/11/update-and-addition-to-homemade-christmas.html) and I hope to do more than that.
What happens when kids get involved?
This happened to be on the K-Love Facebook Page this week:
God, today I am thankful for Your promise of an ABUNDANT life. Oh Lord, help us to move beyond a "survivalist" mentality and into the ABUNDANT life You have called us to!
For You say, "The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)." John 10:10 (Amplified)
Father, show us the ways we can enjoy our lives more, show us the abundance that You have already provided, and help it to overflow on those around us.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
Pick a purpose for your family. It's BEST when the kids can do something of a service nature, rather than just spending your money. Here are some suggestions, most of which we have done ourselves:
Don't wait! This is the season to do good, as much as it is a season of shopping. If you start now, you are likely to continue giving and doing on into the new year. As always, please share your ideas and experiences!
It's time for your child to pull all their work together, roll up their sleeves and let the cooking fun begin!
Decide, based on the age and responsibility of the child, how involved you should be. Allow some room to breathe and make mistakes. Afterall, we learn from mistakes often more than we do from a success. However, consider having a secret back up plan for this meal, just in case it goes really south.
Cooking is excellent for math skills. Fractions and measuring become visually concrete through hands on experience.
Following directions, especially when baking, is typically tested in while cooking and can help them in all areas of their life. Even later when it comes to reading "the fine print" for financial documents. If they don't learn to read completely and understand the consequences of skipping over information, it could lead to big boo-boos as adults.
Work ethic is not something you can easily teach, but it can be gained with giving them opportunities to do a job, do it well and receive praise for the effort done. Depending on the outcome, this might be a good opportunity to explain what work ethic is and why it is important. However, be sure to really praise good effort and allow this to be a positive experience.
Discuss the exercise with the child over the meal. Ask open ended questions and encourage absolute honesty. The answers could already be blatantly obvious to you, but the Socratic Method of teaching is really the best way to get the child to internalize a lesson. Asking questions and leading them to an answer you already know, rather than just telling them is going to leave a lasting impression.
Some suggestions would be:
Good luck and share your experiences!
Having your child find or print coupons for items on their list isn't a difficult task for most middle-aged to older children. If you already coupon, they might search through your current coupons for ones they need. Online searches for products via search engines or websites like coupons.com can help them in their search. Of course, Sunday papers provide coupons, but some Sundays in the month are better than others. It won't always prove beneficial, but giving them a little exposure to planning, saving and searching certainly will help them later in life. Also, show them that a coupon won't always save you money (i.e. if you can just buy the store brand for less money), but it can be like cash when used for items you were already going to purchase.
First, explain to your child that (generally) it isn't cost effective or good time management to hit several stores just to save some money. Next, explore the store circulars to decide if one particular local grocery store might be better for what you need than another. Let's say they are making a dish that requires ground beef and ground beef is on sale at the X grocery store but not at the Y grocery store. Meat is often the biggest expense and following the store ads is typically the only way to save on it, so perhaps getting all your items at the X grocery store would be the wisest choice. Also show them how coupons and sales can combine to make pretty significant savings.
You may consider giving an older child a budget for the meal and shopping trip. This may prove frustrating for some, but for children close to graduation, it really is a great dose in reality. Learning how to make a dollar stretch and stay within your means, is a lesson that all future adults (and many current adults) need to learn.
This may take a lot more time for a newbie, but eventually when one gains knowledge and associates a "usual cost" for something, it takes much less time. For each item they need to try and find the best deal. This is a way to show them that the lowest price isn't always the best deal. An item may be in a smaller package for only a little less money or a package that is twice the size of the smaller one that costs more than double the alternative. Many stores show you cost per oz. in the small corner of the price tags. This is the only effective way to compare the cost of items. If the store doesn't have this, show them how to calculate it (use your phone calculator or if you happen to bring one, it can be handy). I wouldn't exhaust them on this, because they may never do it again as an adult, but exposing them to the ideas can give them awareness needed for the future.
Sticking to the List
Last of all, insist they stick to the list. Have them carefully follow and check off the list. They can use notes to remember if they have coupons for items.
Goals are an absolute essential in relation to money and financial responsibility. There can be a lot of discussion regarding goals. Later, kids need to learn about opportunity cost (giving up one thing for something else more important) and refining our goals into SMART goals (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely). We are
starting with the basics right now. This is like a brainstorming exercise in goals and an introduction
What exactly is a goal and why on earth are they so important?
I asked my kids what a goal was and my daughter said it’s what you try to put the ball into when you play basketball or soccer. At first I thought, “Well, I didn’t mean that kind of goal,” because I was referring to life goals. Then, before I opened my mouth I realized it’s a great analogy for kids to understand. I explained that the purpose of a game of basketball isn’t the dribbling, the passing, or running. In fact, it’s not even taking the shot. It is simply trying to get the ball through the hoop as many times as you can; more than your opponent. All those other things are necessary toward reaching your goals, but if you took away the hoops or nets, we would all be running, passing, and dribbling for no reason. Goals keep you on track and help you do what you really want to do.
We decided to make a goal list for the family, especially for the school year since we homeschool, but I said any goal they wanted to write down was just fine. I particularly was looking to teach a bit about goals and learn about what field trips or lessons to plan. I learned a lot about them and I think they learned about themselves too. You could have them write down just some general goals, but expect to help guide them. Unless they are teenagers, I wouldn’t worry about the financial goal idea yet. If they are old enough though, you could use the basketball analogy to tie in goals with their
money. If you don’t have a plan with your money,
Who doesn't love a good lemonade stand? As a financial minded individual, any opportunity to help my kids learn a little about handling money sounds like a great project. Summer is the perfect time of year because for one, it's hot. In addition, there is a good chance you will be going on a vacation/staycation (water park, beach, etc.) and they would do well to have spending money.
Even my well-grounded children have a harder time not wanting little goodies when we are visiting a location that they won't likely return to soon. Plus, they want to hold onto that memory and are afraid that when they leave, that it will all be gone. Having some spending money is a great way to handle the desires and to teach them to budget. Having a lemonade sale teaches them about the value of money because they had to earn that spending money. It gives them ownership of their funds and a great since of pride in having earned their spending money.
We live a bit out of the way of traffic to have a lemonade sale typically. However, last summer, we were having a garage sale with friends in a more urban environment which offered enough traffic for an old fashioned lemonade stand. We were going on a big family road trip to The Grand Canyon, Washington State (husband's family lives there) and Yellowstone National Park. We knew the kids would want things here and there so having money they earned would alleviate trying to decide how to make souvenir shopping less painful and expensive.
What we used:
Large batch of lemonade (put it in something with a spout or it will get dumped out inevitably)
Fresh baked cookies (because they smell good and make you thirsty)
A chair for each child
A money jar
Small paper cups
Napkins (for the cookies)
A sign to help promote
I left them to it and my daughter was quite the sales lady. She really wanted to have money to spend. She was pushing major cookies and lemonade that weekend. They rotated shifts in the end, but that was left to their management.
In the end I divided up the money (added a little proceeds from the garage sale to make it even) and put it in an envelope for each child. They did pretty well too. The best result though was what I saw when we went on our trip. They were selective, careful, and made fantastic choices. When it was their own money, they were much more willing to wait for what they really wanted. They loved showing of their hard earned purchases with pride too!
Gardening is a great first project!
I don't care where you live, you can grow something. It can be a windowsill herb garden, a tomato plant in a pot, a raised bed in the corner of your yard or a full-fledged farm!
What it teaches:
I really recommending letting each child pick one specific vegetable or herb to learn about as well as grow and nurture. As a homeschooling parent, I like the added benefit of science thrown into gardening. You can certainly take it to many different levels. However, if you take on too much to quickly, they will probably become overwhelmed and quit.
Help them pick something hardy, correct for their location, and preferably, something they will eat.
Note: I have seen kids who won't eat a carrot from a grocery store consume their own homegrown carrots quite happily!
Decide where, when, what and how before you actually start planting. Researching something before taking on a task could be an added lesson here.
Try to make it a fun team project with a very positive atmosphere. This is a time to point out that work can be strenuous and tiring but we can still have a great attitude while doing it (their future boss will thank you). Remember, especially for little ones, they haven't seen the fruits of their labor and won't for some time. Help tide them over by trying to make the work fun.
Harvest the Knowledge and Plant
Remind them that everything we consume is provided by people working hard. Even if it's the hardworking parent making the money to buy the food from the hardworking farmer, work is still involved to get what we need and want. Help them see the whole process of planning, working, waiting and reaping by tie all the lessons together as you dine on your feast.