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How much money is in your pocket right now?

No matter how much money you have, you probably feel like it's not much.  Because when you're in high school, what can you really do about money? In a lot of ways you might feel powerless with how much you or your family earns and how it's spent. 

But what if you have more power than you realize? 

You have the power to help your family, change your habits, and even impact others in a big way.  The TRUTH is, money matters. Right here. Right now. When you choose to change the way you think about it, when you choose to own you attitudes and your decisions with the cash you do have, God can do some big things in you and even bigger things through you. 

 

 

 

Think About This by Tim Walker:

I don't carry a lot of cash in my wallet, and the reason is simple: It disappears too quickly.

As a parent, there's always something that costs $5, right? Hey we need $5 for lunch on the field trip.  Or $5 to get into the football game. Or $5 since our small group is meeting at Starbucks this week.

Five dollars seems easy. We all know have teenagers is a lot more expensive than that, and with college on the horizon, it's only going to get more costly.  But in the midst of being a walking ATM, I also want to find ways to teach my kids how to handle money of their own.

At our house, it's not a new topic - we've been talking about it for years.  When my sons were younger, each had the three jars - for savings, giving, and spending.  It was a great concept, and for years that seemed to work well.

In fact, one of my sons really took to the process, with his giving jar filled with green from birthdays and holidays.  He was reluctant to spend that money in case something better came along. But, another one of my sons would spend any money he had as soon as he got it, and another would sve up for pricey items, but spend it all, drainging his savings everytime.

In other words, threes sons = three different conversations when it comes to money.  Sure, I could enroll them all in a money managment course, but I can't guarantee that all three will walk out with the same new financial skills, because moeny isn't just practical, it's emotional.

So as a parent, I'm learning to adjust and coach each one of them individually.  And, like any good parent, I'm learning through trial and error. In other words, I really screw up sometimes, and sometime they fail miserably at it.

 

 

 

Guideing Principles for Money Matter.

  1. Mistakes aren't bad. At least not yet. I want them to make mistakes while they are still under my roof so I can help them navigate their way through the aftermath of their choices.  In fact, sometimes they will learn more by doing something poorly instead of always doing something well.
  2. Change is not bad. As technology continues to change and evolve, so does the way we handle money. It might be simpler to teach them to handle money by only dealing with coins or keeping all their savings in ceramic piggy banks, but at some point, they will graduate to real money with real savings or checking accounts and real Starbucks and iTunes apps that debit from somewhere. We can help them prepare for that, too. So before that times comes, determine how you are going to handle the following and have a discussion with your teen.
    1. Debit Cards / Credit Cards - The use of plastic continues to increase in our electronic world.  Have you prepared your teen to spend money in a responsible manner. 
    2. Bills - Our teens do not need the full weight of managing all the bills we might have, but teens need to learn what it means to manage their money so they are able to pay for bills.  Give them responsibility to pay their portion of a cell phone, data overages, car insurance, or social events. 
  3. Talk About it A LOT. Maybe the most important thing we'll do is talk about money. Talk about how you handle what you have. Then, talk about how they will handle what they have and coach them along the way - both through success and failures.  Then, keep talking.  Money isn't a conversation we've had once.  It's conversation we've had many times. My three sons are different and each of them go through different seasons. So it's a new conversation when they have jobs and when they don't, when they have lots of school activities to pay for, or when their actions let us know we're in a new phase and it's times to talk about money... again.

 

 

Try This
One of the best ways for your teenager to begin learning how to handle money is to help them identify whether they're a natural spender or a natural saver.  We all have a tendency to lean in one direction or the other, and it can be helpful for teenagers to inderstand which way they lean. 

Over the next couple weeks, ask your kid a few questions:

Does saving money come easy to you?

Is spending money at the mall or at the movies enjoyable or stressful for you?

Even if you know the answer, asking your teenagers questions like these can go a long way in helping them understand whether they're a spender or saver.  Once your kid has identified whether he or she is a spender or saver, you can invite them to use their strengths to help you with one piece of the family budget.  While you don't want your kid to feel the full weight of the family's budget, inviting them to participate in one area can go a long way in helping them understand proper money managment.

Consider sharing details from the family buget with your teen.  How much do you spend on gas, electricity, cable, or even how much are you saving in an emergency fund? Depending on his or her level of maturity, if there's an area where he or she could brainstorm ways to more efficiently use the family's budget, invite them to do so.  Maybe say something like: Currently we are overspending on the family cable/internet plan. It'd be great to reduce it by $20 a month. Could you help me research ways we can do that? 

 

Used with permission ©2017 The ReThink Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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