Many of us spend the summer going on some form of a vacation. What better time to teach about money than when our children actually see us spend it? So today, continuing in our “Teaching Your Children About Money” series, we are joined by my good friend, Andrea – a warm-hearted wife and mother of four from northeast Indiana.
Please tell us a little about yourself and your family.
I am Andrea. I have been married for over 12 years to my best friend, CJ, and together we have four beautiful children. Jadyn, age 9, Asher, age 7, Selah, age 4, and Levi, age 1. I have the privilege of staying home with my kiddos and holding down the fort.
What teachable moment regarding your children and money would you like to share?
Our oldest happens to want everything while on vacation (and not on vacation really, we are working on that area too). She will ask for everything. It is exhausting for us, and if I am being honest makes us feel less than loving. It is exhausting for her too as she is always being told no, which makes her feel less than loved.
When we went to Disney two years ago, I came up with a plan for their souvenir money. This trip happened to be close to Christmas, so instead of gifts, we asked family to give the kids money for the trip. We then loaded the money onto Disney gift cards so that each child had their own.
Before we went, we picked out the souvenir we would buy the kids (on that trip it happened to be a pressed penny book that we filled as we went through the parks). Anything else they wanted (candy, toys, and other such stuff), they bought with their own money. Spending their own money really made them weigh their options more and decide what they really wanted.
Our oldest was like a different kid, and we were all much happier! Though we don’t always have a holiday to bank on around our vacations, CJ and I still establish an amount each child has for souvenirs before we leave. And when it is gone it’s gone.
What is the most rewarding part of the experience for you?
Watching our kids’ pride as they manage their own money and make their own decisions. Seeing how grown up they were when the money ran out. It was one of those moments as parents where we felt like we got it right!
What is the most challenging part of the experience for you?
After they handled it so well, it was hard to not want to buy them just one more thing.
When you were a child, what was your favorite money moment?
I love organization and having all of my ducks in a row. So having my own checkbook to manage was like a dream come true for me.
Let’s say a young couple with a newborn sits beside you on a bus. They lean over and ask you, “What are the three most important things we should teach our child about money?” What do you tell them?
1. Give regularly – Tithe from the start of that first job. It’s not a bad habit to be in, and God will bless you, whether you choose to see those blessings or not.
2. Give freely – It does a heart good to give to someone who needs it, but I don’t think that is most children’s natural go-to when they get a twenty dollar bill. So it is our job to help them experience/understand that.
3. Manage well – God gave you what you have, be it a lot or a little. Manage it wisely. A lot of anxiety and overspending can be avoided by knowing how much you have and where it is going.
This article is part of an ongoing series called “Teaching Your Children About Money”. If you have a teachable moment to share, please feel free to tell me about it at lauraharris(at)piggybankdreams(dot)com.
Join the Discussion: What other financial lessons can your children learn while on vacation?