Kids & Money: Not Enough

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Elena Key

Elena is a Southern Baptist missionary serving in Brazil now for 31 years. She is the wife of my loving husband, a mother to three wonderful young adults, mother-in-love to a wonderful daughter-in-love and a soon to be son-in-love, and grandmother to two precious little ones. Her undergraduate degree is in Music Education and she has a Masters in Educational Leadership which she started before she had children. At age 50, she went back to school and finished her degree in 2014. She has the gift of encouragement and has tried to use it to encourage those God has brought into her life.

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We tried to teach our kids the value of money from a young age. We taught our kids to separate their money into three envelopes: save, give, and spend. After some time our first kid, Jonathan, started accumulating enough money to make his first purchase with his very own money.

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When Jonathan was five years old we went to the local toy store. After a while Jonathan found a toy that he liked. I knew that this toy was probably more money than what he had. But we went to the checkout lane anyway.

At the checkout lane, the young man at the cashier smiled at us as we approached. When Jonathan went up to him he reached up and placed all the money he had on top of the counter. The young man smiled at him and said he was sorry but that wasn’t enough to pay for the toy.

My mother’s heart tugged at me and I felt for him. Yet I knew there was a lifelong lesson he was about to learn, “if you don’t have it, you don’t spend it.”

So we told Jonathan that if he really wanted that toy then he would have to save up more money. Several weeks later Jonathan finally had the amount needed to purchase the toy. What was interesting though was that when we went back to the toy store he no longer wanted that specific toy he had wanted so bad the time before. He ended up purchasing another toy.

This experience taught Jonathan two important lessons.

A. You spend only when you have the money.

B. You need to really think through if what you are purchasing is really what you want.

Here is a more recent picture of our growing family in December 2014.

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Further reading:

Dave Ramsey: 9 Ways to Teach Your Kids About Money

Forbes: 5 Most Important Money Lessons to Teach Your Kids

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1. To seasoned parents: What important lessons or values did you teach your kids when they were growing up?

2. To newer parents: What important lessons or values do you want to pass onto your kids?

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About Elena Key 2 Articles
Elena is a Southern Baptist missionary serving in Brazil now for 31 years. She is the wife of my loving husband, a mother to three wonderful young adults, mother-in-love to a wonderful daughter-in-love and a soon to be son-in-love, and grandmother to two precious little ones. Her undergraduate degree is in Music Education and she has a Masters in Educational Leadership which she started before she had children. At age 50, she went back to school and finished her degree in 2014. She has the gift of encouragement and has tried to use it to encourage those God has brought into her life.

19 Comments

  1. What a great lesson… As a mom I totally get the wanting to help them out to get what they want, but some lessons are too important to learn. Thank you for sharing this story.

    Marissa

    • Marissa, it’s not easy seeing our kids go through tough spots but it makes it all worthwhile when lifelong lessons are learned. Thanks for your comments.
      Elena

    • Susannah, yes it was hard seeing Jonathan go through that, it tugged at my mother’s heart…but I knew it would benefit him in the long run.
      Elena

    • Karla and Jessica…yes it is a hard lesson…but as I look at my grown kids now and see how they have learned to live balanced financial lives, it has paid off.
      Elena

    • Mhar…so glad you are teaching your children at an early age about finances. It definitely pays off when they become adults. Elena

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