How to be better stewards of our money, so we can be generous givers and include our kids in the process!
An interview with Katie Jones, Christian Money Coach. Listen to the Podcast HERE.
Mallory: Let’s talk about MONEY, including creative ways to get our kids involved in saving and giving, as well as, how we as parents can prioritize giving to the church and to others, while being financially responsible ourselves. So to get some expert advice on this topic, I interviewed Katie Jones!
Katie: Thank you so much for having me! I’m really excited to talk about this topic.
Mallory: Yes, and I’m excited you are here to help, because I don’t know a lot about this subject to be honest. So you’re going to be a big help today!
Mallory: Katie is a Christian money coach with Agape Investing, where she helps young families learn money management skills that are rooted in the gospel, so they can start living abundantly, giving generously and radically advancing the kingdom of God through her mentorship program called Redeeming Your Finances.
She’s also a real estate agent and lives in Denver, Colorado near the Rocky Mountains that she likes to expose with her family. So that’s just a little bit about Katie before we start the interview. Katie, a question I always like to start with asking: How do you like to have your quiet time?
Katie: Good question. Honestly, it’s changed over the years, which I’m sure that’s true for many people trying to figure out what works best, but I like to do it in the morning in general. I usually have to wake up, go to the gym and then I come home and do my quiet time. I used to do my quiet time first thing, but I always ended up falling asleep during my quiet time. So, I had to reverse that and just know God probably cared more about my alertness during my quiet time with Him more than anything. Once I switched it up, it worked for me to stay consistent and awake, so that’s what I’ve been doing for the last few years.
Mallory: Well, the fact that you go to the gym instead of sleeping in later is impressive to me, but I’ll be honest and admit I don’t do that! I do get sleepy sometimes though, so maybe I should give it a try!
Mallory: So moving on to our “money talk” subject—Most moms reading this at some point, or maybe the time is right now, know the stress at the end of each month when the bills come and they are not really sure how to make ends meet. Our kids see it too, at the very least, they can at least perceive the stress but might not know the cause.
So how can we as moms, be better stewards of our money, so that we can teach our kids to give God our best and not our leftovers? We can’t expect our kids to learn to give sacrificially to others with their time and money, unless we model it for them. What are some small creative ways to let kids be a part of giving to others and to the church?
Katie: I think the first part of your question is so important, that kids really won’t learn a lot of this stuff unless we actually model it for them, or they will learn from what they observe otherwise. So if we’re not intentional about how we are trying to model what we do with our finances to our kids, then they’re going to pick up on other things. And honestly, that’s one of the first questions I ask a lot of my coaching clients, is what did you learn from your parents?
Whether they intentionally sat down and taught it to you, or whether it was something you perceived from them about how they use their money. And many of my clients quickly realize they have to be very extremely intentional about money and invite our kids into that conversation.
One of the first things I recommend to people, is inviting your kids into your church giving process—whatever that looks like right now. Let your kids drop the money off every Sunday, encourage them to contribute too from their own allowances or birthday money, explaining to them why you’re giving and ministry work that the money will be going towards! This was they can get excited about giving to the local church so you can expand and to missions all over the world.
Another simple way, is to participate in something like Operation Christmas Child. Sit everybody down to explain what the shoe boxes are for, where they’re going, who they are helping, why we’re helping them. This will get them excited and they may want to contribute to buy some of the toys for the box or to pay the shipping that’s included in the box. So those are just a few ways to bring kids in on your giving process.
Mallory: I love that and will admit that my kids don’t really know our giving process to the church, so that is a way I have been challenged to bring them in on that more.
Mallory: Now Katie, if a mom is reading and thinking, “I know that our family needs to tithe, but it seems like the money just drains out every month and there’s just nothing left.” As Christians, I think we all have good intentions to give, but if we don’t make it a priority, many times it just doesn’t happen. So what are some practical ways that we can get consistent so that we’re able to tithe monthly?
Katie: Yes, this can be a struggle for sure and definitely hear this problem often. Where I want to start is by saying many of us, including myself years ago, think giving is something that we do when there’s money left over, but the Bible challenges us that we need to give to God first. “Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things are given to you,” and that includes how we go about managing and using our money.
We have to seek first kingdom opportunities, and that includes giving to our churches and other ministries. Putting God first with our money is really crucial. So that way at the end of the month, maybe we don’t have enough money for another Chick-fil-A run, but that’s okay, your family will be blessed for your obedience.
A practical tip for being consistent with our tithing is to set it up as an automated gift to your church. Most churches offer online giving opportunities, so that way the money comes out at the first of the month versus thinking about it at the end of the month when maybe there isn’t enough left over.
Mallory: That’s a great suggestion! And it says in the Bible, if we aren’t giving back to the Lord, we could be missing out on blessings. I definitely don’t want to miss God’s blessings, but God isn’t going to give you more until, he can trust you with what you already have now.
Mallory: Could you share with us, Katie, more about what the Bible says about that?
Katie: Yes, I take all of my clients to Malachi 3:10. It’s the only place in the entire Bible where God asks us and tells us to test him and it’s with our tithes. It says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of Heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
God is basically saying here: when we trust Him by giving back to Him what is already His in the first place, all of our money and everything comes from Him. So it’s already His, but when we give it back to Him, God promises to bless us beyond what we have room enough to store!
God’s blessings don’t always mean greater financial wealth, more stuff or even being more comfortable. It might not be good health, a better job or a bigger house—These are the things that we typically picture as blessings, because that’s what we see from the world, but we can’t put God in a box for how he blesses us. Money its only a foundation or training wheels of true faithfulness. When we are faithful with our little worldly wealth that God has given us, He knows He can trust us with more like it says in Luke 16:10-12: “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much. And whoever is dishonest with very little is also dishonest with much.”
So we need to show Him that we can be trustworthy stewards over what he has entrusted to us. Then when He sees that we can be good stewards, He can give us more important kingdom responsibilities. That is what true blessing really looks like, but it is hard for us to see and understand beyond things of this world!
Mallory: Yes, “His ways are higher than our ways.” We don’t have any idea of the great things He has planned for us, if we remain obedient. Thank you for sharing that. Another thing that I think we can model for our kids, is like you were saying, just being responsible with the little we are given including with our saving.
Mallory: So let’s say that a mom wants to save for a family vacation, or she needs to send her kids to private school, because that’s going to be a better situation for their family? Or Maybe she wants to start putting away money for Christmas? —We’ve talked about giving to God first, but just getting into some practical money advice, how we can we be better savers, so we can take that Disney vacation in a few years or whatever it is we want to do, and still be responsible with our money?
Katie: My parents didn’t teach me a lot about finances myself, which a lot of people are like, “then how did you learn about money?!” But one lesson they did teach me when my sister and I were in middle school, and we were begging for a the new iPod touch, and they sat us down and explained that iPods are expensive and money didn’t grow on trees!
Sharing that to make the point that we have to be really careful with the decisions that we make in how we’re actually spending the money we have. If we always use our money to buy the latest gadgets and not really thinking about the opportunity costs that we have with each dollar, then we won’t have money for things like taking nicer vacations, private school or saving up for a nicer Christmas celebration. My parents told my sister and I that with each dollar, we have a choice to make. Sure, we could go and buy new iPods, OR we could go visit grandma and grandpa in Florida and go to Disney with them. This is a basic way to teach your kids opportunity costs, so we can teach responsibility with how we’re saving our money and planning for future decisions.
Mallory: Yes and look how you still remember that so clearly and how impactful that small lesson was to your life. So, it obviously sticks with our children and those are conversations we should have more of in our homes.
Mallory: For example, I think any mom could identify with me on this: you’re in a store somewhere, let’s say, Target, and you’re just there to get a couple of things for the house. The kids are with you and ask, “Can we go look at the toys?”
Nowadays you don’t have to go far before you see the little value bins when you walk in loaded with junk and toys, or if you make it to the check-out home-free, then they spot it by the register! It’s a nightmare for a mom! So your kids sees whatever it is they “have to have” and it’s something in a smaller range, unlike an ipod.
However, it is still not beneficial to buy kids something every time, even if it’s just $5 or less, because they come to expect that mom is going to say yes to buy me that item every single time. So maybe we could talk about some ideas about teaching them, okay, if you want _______ (fill in the blank) then you can do some jobs at home for me, or you can save your own money, and we can come back and purchase that. I’ve realized personally, that I wasn’t doing my kids any favors by getting them things every time we would go to the store.
So what’s your advice on how a mom handles this? How can we teach our kids the value of saving their own money and encourage them to do that?
Katie: I think first off, by starting with that opportunity cost chat I shared about earlier. Explain there are always choices to be made and allowing them to make their own decisions by showing them what those decisions are. For example: Say to them, “You can buy this small toy from Target in the dollar section right now, or would you like to save this dollar so you can save up to buy that really big LEGO set you wanted?” This will show them that a dollar can get you this small thing right now, but many of these dollars saved will add up to buy that new Star Wars LEGO set (or whatever it is they are wanting!)
An additional idea to add to that conversation with your child, is to print out a picture of that one BIG item they are working towards to help them stay motivated in saving and learn how to set goals. Once printed, maybe even make a chore chart on the bottom of the picture and say, “Okay, if you do a whole month of chores, instead giving you an allowance necessarily, we can save that allowance to put towards this one big thing you’re saving for.” This teaches them patience, saving, long-term goals. I think it’s a really cool idea to help not only save money in the short term, but just teach them a lot of other things as well.
Mallory: That’s a great idea. I’m thinking I might take that idea for my boys— It’s giving them a visual for a goal and that’s great! Thank you for sharing that.
Mallory: Okay, so my last question is, it’s important to keep the peace in our homes and in our marriages, but sometimes the devil uses money to start breaking things down: our communication, our peace and our marriage in the home. So for a mom right now, struggling when the bills are come in and it putting a lot of stress on her marriage, what can you say to encourage her today?
Katie: First, I just want to start by letting you know that you are not alone. I speak to many couples who honestly believe that they are the only ones out of their friends, or their family members, who struggle with money in their relationship. But the reality is, that half of married couples, even within the church alone, have had money fights with their spouse.
So just knowing that first off, there are people around you everywhere who struggle with the same thing. It is very common, but still not something you want to become regular in your home, to have money fights. If this is something you are struggling with, it does need to be dealt with. By dealing with it, I don’t mean that you argue more, or that only one person takes on the burden of managing money, but that you both need to start to work to communicate and to find some common ground.
A really good place to start the conversation is to set up, what I like to call a “dream date.” Go out to a nice dinner or order food after the kids go to bed and just relax together and talk about your dreams. Dream about what you want to do with your family, for your future and for you as a couple. give yourselves both space to speak freely, without any judgment of what the other person wants to do, and write down every idea that comes flowing out.
Then after this fun evening, take a few weeks to think on your “dream list” and take another evening to come back together and start making a plan, one goal at a time to figure out how you can start getting on the same page to save for those things. Realize the importance of these goals and dreams for both of you, because these are things that God has uniquely and specifically placed on each of your hearts to accomplish, meaning they are important not only for you as a couple but also for the kingdom of God.
It’s really crucial that you do work to be on the same page, but have fun with it! Maybe you make a visual representation of your goals, like the example earlier for your kids, like putting up a picture of that dream house or vacation you want to take, just making it very visual that you’re working together for this goal.
Communication is obviously key through this process, but if it is a serious struggle in your marriage, then I highly recommend getting some professional help, whether it’s from your church, or outside of your church. Finding someone who can help you both talk through these things together, will do wonders for your marriage!
Mallory: Great Advice! If the mom feels she has connected with you Katie, and she wants to contact you for help in this area or more information, could you share your contact info?
Katie: Absolutely! I am super reachable, whether it’s through messages on Instagram @agapeinvesting or you can find me at my website: agapeinvest.com on the contact page. We can even jump on a call together and talk through a few of these things. Sometimes it’s good just to get it out, so don’t hesitate to reach out, please!
Mallory: Thanks so much for sharing that with us, Katie! Be sure to check out her website agapeinvest.com for a FREE mini course called six steps to redeeming your finances. It’s a course to discover how to manage your money and honor the Lord using biblical money principles. Check it out if that’s something that you feel like you’re being led to do after reading this interview.
Adrian Rogers said this, and it’s a great way to end this great interview:
“Give God what is right and not what is left.”-Adrian Rogers
I think that’s so practical to end with, because we’ve learned how important it is to give to God first, because He gave us everything that we have and nothing is truly our own. This quote is from an article from my hosting ministry LOVE WORTH FINDING, so if you would like to check out that article “Guarding Your Family From the Money Trap” CLICK HERE.
Thank you again for joining me, Katie!
Katie: Mallory, it was such a pleasure! I really do pray that this conversation is a blessing and hopefully gives families inspiration to be more generous and to work on any money issues they are having.