Memorable Monday Moments
Learning how to Budget
or Jeff’s Jeans vs. Steven’s Shoes

One of our memorable family nights took place when we followed a suggestion found in the Family Home Evening Resource Manual on how to teach your children about money management. It suggested getting a bunch of $1 bills and then having the kids help you “pay” all the bills. Supposedly they get the idea that it takes money, and lots of it, to keep a family running smoothly.

We adapted it to fit our needs. We divided the kids into two groups and gave each of them an envelope. Inside the envelopes were cards with various dollar amounts on them. One said how much income they received that month, and the others had all the various expenses – mortgage, taxes, tithing, savings, insurance, food, clothing, entertainment, school supplies, laundry, etc. One group had enough income so they could pay all the bills and still have money left over, the other group didn’t. It was interesting to watch them try to decide what “bills” not to pay, and they definitely got the idea that when our needs/wants exceed our income, we have to make some tough choices.

After that, on a regular basis we would involve them in the family budget by having them help us rank our wants. This was particularly useful in the “clothing” category. When they saw that $50 couldn’t buy everything everyone wanted, but it would buy a pair of shoes for the brother who had outgrown theirs and a pair of jeans for the brother who had holes in his, those who didn’t need anything were willing to wait for their turn.

And it also helped them see why as parents we chose camping vacations over trips to Disneyland. Any vacation is better than no vacation at all!