We have recently flown overseas to be with friends and families over the long summer break. It was a much looked-forward to, and much talked-about holiday, and we wanted the experience to be a special and cherished one for our little ones.
We wanted to ensure that they would be keeping up with some school work over the long holiday and knowing that we would be doing a fair amount of shopping while away, we decided to introduce our children to some basic concepts of money.
We wanted to grant them the joy of being able to spend on themselves, but at the same time, teach them what it means to be grateful and what it means to be a steward. So we set off to print our very own home currency, which for publication’s sake, we called “Jonesalia”.
These currencies come in denominations of $1, $5, $10, $20 and $50. The youngest in the family has the smallest denomination and the bigger currencies are given in honour of their grandparents :).
Every note has their picture, the value, their imprinted name (replaced with a title in this post), their name’s prophetic meaning and a bible verse on money. The backgrounds have been scribbled by our oldest two.
At first we decided that these notes were only going to be used while we were on holidays, but learning through trials and errors over the past few weeks about what worked and what didn’t, we have now so much more ideas about developing this concept of teaching the kids money and stewardship further.
They were free to spend their earning on little toys and trinkets (mainly stickers, stationeries, fashion accessories etc) while Mum and Dad had the honour of spending on them for the big item expenditures (including food, snack and tickets to various kids’ entertainment places).
These monies were kept in their wallet as they earned them (which prevent real money from being stolen or left lying around) and become converted into the currency of the country we were in at the time (as we were travelling between different countries) for the purchase to be made.
We first started printing these notes because we wanted to teach them basic money matters – how to earn them, keep them, and spend them. As we progress we find that we were teaching them many things along the way. Basic maths on addition and subtraction,what the Bible says about money, practical money management, wise spending tips, differentiating needs versus wants and understanding what they can afford or not to buy has all given us the benefits of teaching them on delaying immediate gratification and understanding the value of the hard earned dollar.
For our 4.5 year old son, it was about understanding how real money works. He was barely grasping what it means to have money, let alone trade it for goods and services.
On the more positive side, we were able to reduce some, not all, of the nagging and begging with wanting to buy EVERYTHING that looks fun or cute with getting him to think, and count, whether he could afford it or not.
It was a great way to teach our children on basic money concepts but we were all the more pleased to see how our 8 year old daughter was growing in responsibility and confidence, in earning and then spending, her very OWN money.
It was such a joy for me personally to be able to say to her, “you can spend it, honey” without having to worry about making the decision over little things.
We rescaled these notes into smaller pictures and laminated all of them for greater durability. We got the children to cut them and we drew so much attention from friends and families who became interested in seeing what we were doing as a family.
Over this new year, we aim to extend our children’s understanding on money and stewardship by setting up a family bank, teaching them tithing, giving, blessing others, and some simple basics of investing. Stay tuned!