Christian Ways to Teach Teens about Money
Did you know teens in America are a money spending block that advertisers target? That’s one reason it’s so important to teach teens to use money wisely!
Here are some practical principles to impart to your young adults.
Everything, including our money and possessions, belongs to God because He made it, and we are accountable to Him for how we take care of His stuff.
When unexpected money arrives, does your teen see you and your spouse pray and ask the Lord what He wants you to do with it? I tell my children, “All our money belongs to the Lord and we are accountable to Him so we try to honor Christ every time we spend or give money.”
When teens understand this, it can be very exciting for them to have such a grand purpose in money management!
Mike and I grew up tithing so we taught our children about tithing when they were very young. All of our kids still tithe as adults, and it makes me glad!
Tithing is a reminder that everything belongs to Him, and we are just giving back a small portion.
Economic basics like the economic cycle, inflation, GDP, banking, and international trade are not difficult concepts for teens to understand if they are taught with the right materials. Videos, living books, and conversational textbooks can make understanding economics easy and even fun!
We live in a culture that wants to play now and have someone else pay later, but God wants his people to work hard.
Work is fulfilling, and teens acquire their work ethic in their homes. Seeing Mom and Dad enjoy their work and having their own chores from a young age imparts a solid work ethic. I don’t pay my children for their chores, but I do give them opportunities to earn a little extra money like editing a book, helping me clean out a closet, cleaning out the car, or washing my car.
Start a Business
Along with hard work, teens learn a lot about life and money by starting their own business. All of my children have stepped out to earn money through a small business, and it’s produced good fruit in their lives.
Jenny Rose gave voice lessons from our home. Sarah Joy photographed senior portraits. Jimmy started a lawn business. Each one earned money and felt a sense of satisfaction of a job well done. It boosted their self-esteem but also gave them a taste of business expenses and handling money and equipment.
Giving children an opportunity to experience paying bills is such a great way to impart wisdom. I have them look over our personal bills so they can see how very expensive life is! It is a shocker for them!
Another thing we do is the Apartment Project! My teens have to completely plan a move from our home into an apartment on paper. They find a place, “furnish” it, and keep meticulous records of the cost. They find out about cable, internet, electricity, and other bills. After this project, I’ve had many students stand amazed about how much it costs to live on their own. The expense shocks them!
We are big savers and live debt-free. In fact, it makes me laugh to see all the little compartments my husband has in our savings budget: car repair, medical, future appliances, gifts, and 20 more categories!
We teach our teens to save up for big purchases by putting a little away each month. We explain how much money they have saved on interest by saving instead of borrowing. Saving took root in all my children during their teen years. Imparting this wisdom took many casual conversations and being a consistent example. Hearing debt stories in Bible study helped, too!
Holidays and birthdays are a great time to teach teens to be generous by letting them make or buy their own gifts for loved ones. Giving gifts means more when you put time or money into them.
We also teach our teens to give to the poor. I started sponsoring a Compassion girl in college, and we have continued with Compassion. Our children have each had a season where they write the letters to our sponsored child. Without any prodding from us, they all sponsor children as adults. In fact, some of my grandchildren are now writing letters to sponsored children.
Another thing we do is donate to food drives and fill shoeboxes at Christmas.
Create Your Own Economics Course
When my oldest daughter started high school, I made a list of all I wanted to impart to my teens about money.
- Financial Management (personal and household)
- How to Start a Business
- God’s Word on All These Things
After I made my list, I created a course for them that included living books, hands-on learning opportunities, and a little bit of fun! They learned about economics and how to manage money. They also started a business including marketing, managing a ledger, and having an attitude to serve their customers.
After graduating all five of my children, I have taught my course in several co-op courses, and it is a favorite!
Best of all, I have seen the fruit of teaching my children about money in their adult lives. They live debt-free, work hard, and honor God with their money. I’m grateful that I took the time to teach my teens about money.
You can do it, too! Just list the things you want your teens to understand about money. Choose books and assignments that will impart wisdom. Have numerous conversations with your teens about money. You will be surprised how much they remember.
Handling money God’s way definitely goes against the grain, but in the long run, if our teens honor Christ, they will live lives that are far less stressful than those around us. God honors those who honor Him.
Until next time, Happy Homeschooling,
Meredith Curtis, homeschooling mom, writer, speaker, and publisher, loves to encourage families in their homeschooling adventure. She is the author of Economics, Finances, and Business 1-credit high school course, American Literature & Research 1-credit high school course, and HIS Story of the 20th Century. You can check out her books, curricula, unit studies, and Bible studies at PowerlineProd.com, read her blog at PowerlineProd.com, and listen to her at Finish Well Radio.