Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees

by Mum Dee on May 2, 2010

Our children are growing up in the lap of luxury in this world of ours. They are inundated with endless ads selling them on the idea of all the things they are supposed to want and desire. Our culture teaches them that happiness comes from having lots of stuff!

From the time they are born we do our best to get them everything they could possibly need. They have endless amounts of clothing, shoes, toys, books etc. When did any of our children have to walk around in shoes with holes in them or that were too small and hurt their feet. That ‘s probably not something that we would have allowed to happen. After all we are good parents, right?

I guess from their perspective it must look like we just go to the store and get what we want whenever we want it. It’s that easy! Once they have some money of their own they can have what they want and cut out the middle man, their parents. How perfect!

How are we supposed to get them to see that money is precious and not that easy to come by? That they should be prudent with how they handle it? They are teenagers now and let’s face it are not that easy to convince. Probably the best place to start is by allowing them into our world. That is the where there is the real cost of living. All teenagers are looking forward to getting out into the world and having their own place. Let’s take advantage of that interest and start talking about what is involved in living on their own.

They will be shocked when they find out how much you shell out just to keep a roof over their heads! Then there is the cost of all that food they love to gobble up and bills to pay that allow them to watch TV and keep up with their friends on Facebook. Where do you get all that money to buy the car that costs $29000? How about the families clothing and personal needs. “It really costs that MUCH!” will be their shocked response.

It would be fun for them to see what kind of salaries young people can expect when they are starting out in the job force. A site that my daughter’s high school uses with their students is Career Cruising (You can only access this if your child’s school, your local library or community center has a license for it. These institutions can give you a password to log in.)  It’s a great site to use that covers every imaginable type of career from disc jockey to music therapist. They can find out what they will earn and how they can go about preparing for the career of their dreams. They also have some fun quizzes to do to discover what their talents and strengths etc. It is exciting to see what entry level salaries are like in different positions. Once they realize what they can expect to earn they can play with that amount and try to develop a budget so that they can see how much they will have to earn in order to have all the things they want and need. There is an interesting pdf file on devotional.net that will give them a fair idea of how much of their income they can reasonably expect to spend on housing, clothing etc.

Hopefully by this point they will be starting to have some understanding and respect for the money that is given to them. We also should not be shy to expect that our children should have to do something around the house in order to have spending money. After all once they get into the real world they will have to produce something in order to get paid. If they are doing something in order to have money in their pocket they will naturally start to be a little more careful with it. It isn’t really free anymore. This is good preparation for their adult life.

There is a wonderful workbook that I used with my children titled “Money Matters for Teens Workbook” by Larry Burkett. It is chock full of engaging and easy to understand info accompanied by cartoon type illustrations. The topics range through money basics, spending money to giving back to the community. It is available in 2 formats, one for teens aged 11-14 and another for teens aged 15-18. Check out this review from a thrilled parent that was posted on amazon.com

109 of 113 people found the following review helpful:

5.0 out of 5 stars Presents excellent advice in a format that appeals to teens., July 23, 1999
By A Customer

What a user-friendly book! Easy-to-read print, lots of cartoon-style illustrations, short chapters, easy-to-follow activities in each chapter – all that and excellent information, too! Just the thing for my 16-year-old. When I saw this book I knew it would be a hit, but I didn’t know just how big a hit. My kids choose their favorite subjects to work on first each day, and this book has become number one. But, does it work? I’ll say it does. Chapter 5, “Money Management Made Easy,” introduces Larry Burkett’s envelope system for managing money. As soon as my son read this, he gathered his envelopes and he’s been using the system faithfully ever since. If that was all he got out of this book it would be worth the price. But he is also learning how banks and checking accounts work, how loans and credit cards work, the dangers of borrowing, how to buy a car, and even how to get and keep a job.

Larry Burkett’s money management principles are very scripturally sound. Although we have tried to raise our children by demonstrating and teaching sound principles, sometimes hearing from an “expert” can be just what it takes to convince them to do what they should do because it’s the right thing to do, not just because Mom and Dad say so. I think that is what the bottom line will be with this great book. I am very happy with it and recommend it highly. ~sbd

You can have a lot of fun helping your teenagers to understand money and finances. It is another great adventure on the road to seeing them through to becoming the incredible adults we know they can become.

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