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Protecting the Child, Preserving the Family, and Honoring Life

Learning to Manage the Family Money


In a sense, today’s culture is all about spending money. We all have to have the newest phone, the designer clothes, and the fastest car. Many people spend more money than they have and the families and marriages suffer because of it. Money issues are the third leading cause of all divorces according to the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysis 1 and research shows that parents can pass bad money habits to their kids.2

The following are good principles and practical ideas to help parents manage the family’s money.

  1. Learn to manage money before it manages you3
    • Learn self-discipline and self-restraint. “Do not confuse wants with needs… If we are not careful, it is easy for our wants to become needs. Remember the line ‘There, there, little luxury, don’t you cry. You’ll be a necessity by and by.’”4
    • Financial peace of mind is not determined by how much we make, but is dependent upon how much we spend.3
    • Heber J. Grant has said: “If there is any one thing that will bring peace and contentment into the human heart, and into the family, it is to live within our means, and if there is any one thing that is grinding, and discouraging and disheartening it is to have debts and obligations that one cannot meet.”4
  1. Use a budget3 (This link is to a budget worksheet)
    • Every family must have a predetermined understanding of how much money will be available each month and the amount to be spent in each category of the family budget.
    • A budget helps you plan and evaluate your expenditures.
    • Budget for a specified period (such as weekly, biweekly, monthly), according to your pay schedule.
    • Balance income with expenditures, and spend less than you earn.
  1. Pay off your debts (This link is to a debt elimination calendar)
    • Once you pay off one debt, use that money to pay off another.
    • Work toward home ownership3
    • Home ownership qualifies as an investment, not consumption. Buy the type of home your income will support.3
  1. Build an emergency fund
    • Start with $1,000 and work towards having enough savings to cover 3-6 months’ worth of expenses.3
    • It is most important to have sufficient medical, automobile, and homeowner’s insurance and an adequate life insurance program.3
  1. Teach your children
    • Fred Gosman has said, “Children who always get what they want will want as long as they live.”4
    • Teach children while they are young the importance of working and earning.
    • Help your children save for their futures (college).
    • Teach children to make money decisions in keeping with their capacities to comprehend.1
      • Based upon appropriate teaching and individual experience, children should be responsible for the financial decisions affecting their own money and suffer the consequences of unwise spending.3
  1. Save for continuing education
    • This is money well invested. Based on potential lifetime earnings, the hours spent in furthering your education will be very valuable indeed.3
    • College tuitions and housings expenses continue to rise. Don’t let college sneak up on you. Saving now will put you ahead of the game when your kids graduate from high school.5
    • Teach your children to save for college.
  1. Be generous in giving and sharing with others
    • S. Lewis said: “I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. … If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, … they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.”
    • Simply put,

Build wealth, become insanely generous, and leave an inheritance for future generations.5


For more information see:
5 http://www.daveramsey/.com/baby-steps/
Budget worksheet:
Debt elimination calendar:
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Drafting a Family Mission Statement


A mission statement is a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual. Therefore, a family mission statement is a summary of the goals and values of a family. It encapsulates the rights, roles and responsibilities of each family member in addition to the family as a whole. Important features of a family mission statement include

  • brevity: the statement should be precise and concise, getting the basic points across without using too many words
  • values: principles, ethics & standards of parent & child behavior; the important things in life
  • goal: purpose, objective, aim or desired result

“A family mission statement sums up what we believe and how we choose to live, giving clarity to children and parents alike.” – Wendy Speake

When life gets crazy, a family mission statement can act as an anchor that reminds a family where their focus should be. According to the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health, a feeling of “connectedness”  with parents was the primary factor that helped protect teens from becoming involved in any high-risk behavior (including drug and alcohol use and sexual activity). A family mission statement can help foster a feeling of connectedness between members, decreasing the liklihood of behavioral problems from kids and marital problems between parents.

Our children and adolescents are listening, especially if we practice what we preach. Drafting a family mission statement can give parents an opportunity to explain and explore values with their children and the best way to do so is for all members to collaborate, from the youngest to the oldest.

Creating a family mission statement is easier said than done and it’s likely the process will take a significant amount of time. If necessary, dedicate a a couple weeks or even a month to having family discussions, jotting down notes, making a draft and finalizing the statement.

The following steps may assist you in drafting your own family mission statement.

  • Have a special family meeting with in depth discussion
    • Questions to ask include
      • What do we value most?
      • What do we need to be doing in order to be our
      • best selves?
      • What do we stand for?
      • What do we want our family to do?
  • Make a list of values and ideas that are important to your family
    • each member should participate in this process
    • examples include
  • Condense list into roughly 10 or fewer ideas that are most significant
  • Write out your statement, proofread & make final edits
  • Finalize and hang family mission statement in a prominent place in the house
  • Refer to statement daily & redraft if/when appropriate (rarely and with reservation)

Each step could take place on a different day during a different family meeting, or the whole process can take place in one day. It’s up to you; but remember, take as much time as you need because (hopefully) your family will look to the statement for years to come.

For more information:
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Family Activities for Winter Break Fun


Finding a way to keep children entertained during the holidays can be tough. We might want children to watch television so we can get to cooking or get other things done around the house. However, instead of keeping kids up in front of the television we can plan activities for the children.

Some ways to reduce screen time and get children up:

  • Set Screen time Limits and be an example.
  • Focus on family time during the meals and keep the television off. (Research shows that families who eat together tend to eat more nutritious meals)
  • Get outside and do activities such as sledding, ice skating, snowboarding. Or just play in the snow and build an igloo or snowman.
  • Spend time with family. This could include playing with siblings or cousins when visiting extended family. Playing a board game is another great way for kids to stay active and not be in front of the television. Another idea is to dance to the radio. Have a talent show for the family and include singing, dancing, or playing an instrument.
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen, or another organization during the holidays.
  • Decorate the house together.
  • Go to the library and get books for children to read about the holiday.
  • Work on Art Projects. Examples from my childhood are colored Styrofoam. shaped like trees and snowflakes with markers. You could also find ideas on Pinterest.
  • Find a new recipe or decorate cookies.

For more information:

20 Christmas Games Your Whole Family Will Love

21 Things to Do During Christmas Break

14 Easy Christmas Crafts for Kids to Make

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