Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Christmas Gift for Savannah

A Christmas Gift for Savannah
Peggy Mack
October 11,2013

I know what I am giving Savannah, my bonus granddaughter of 11, for Christmas. It is $120. That doesn't sound exciting, I know.  It feels cold and no more like Christmas than a toothbrush.  But I had a clear thought this morning and it zapped me like one of those lazer beams. I want to give her a gift of understanding how to make money last all year.  I figured out, with my little budget, it is what I can afford for my plan.  Now of course, she will have other gifts, but this one is my favorite "bright" idea.

I am not going to just hand her six $20 bills.  I want the money to have a message that will last all year and may make a difference in how show handles money before she begins working to help save for college.  She is in a perfect age group of 9-11 to begin understanding, handling, being responsible for and learning how money works to make your life strong for the things you want to accomplish.  When I was 10, mother was teaching a lesson on money and budgeting for  a  Girl Scout badge The fog leaves me there with no other memories of how the lesson went. My excuse is 53 years have passed and much has happened in my life since that time.  And yet, her efforts to teach me how to budget have me making a budget each month as I pay my bills and live with a promise to check my bank statement daily.  You never know how a tiny lesson from long ago will leave a positive gift for the future.

So here is my plan for Savannah's Christmas Gift

Before Christmas I am going to purchase a colorful, printed, paper box from Tuesday Morning. I saw them last week.  They are perfect and I love them. 

I will wrap it all in Christmas paper and bow with a Christmas card on top of the package to open first.

The Christmas letter will state:

Dear Savannah,
 This year I am giving you $120!! But this is a special $120.  It comes with a BIG challenge. Your challenge is to use this money, slowly, carefully and wisely.  ONLY open ONE envelope on the 1st of EACH month.
Don't worry!  I will help.  I will text you or call you each month to remind you to open your envelope.  Today I can show you the instructions and the challenge!
Merry Christmas, Savannah!  Welcome to the challenge!  I know you will do well!

G'ma Peg

PS...There will be a Christmas reward next December if you do well AND...Next year, if you meet the challenge,  I will give you $240 for Christmas!!!!

By next Christmas you will be able to see how you have made money last all year and made it do special things!!!!

Open your savings boxes next Dec and give:

$12 to the church
$12 to the Firefighters Association or other charities that do good works
$36 for your college
$50 on gifts for others...or yourself. 

Inside her box will be taped to the top a list of what to do.   In the box will be 12 envelopes Inside each envelope will be a total of $10; one $5 bill and 5 $1 bills with a printed sheet with instructions. There will be three, small, metal piggybanks labeled Church, Good works, College Savings.

The instructions will state:
$1 to God's church
$1 to good works
That leaves $8.
$3 to savings for college
$5 for you to enjoy or to buy a gift

I was listening to one of the wizards on finance the other day on television and he was pointing out two things.  Kids cannot be successful adults with family budgets if they are not taught how to budget as kids.  He goes so far as to set a place at the table for "savings and investments" written on the name tag.  The kids are visually aware that when they are discussing what they "want or need", they are aware that part of money in the family is set aside for savings and investments.   I wish I had been better at managing money and had looked at budgeting, not as a tedious, boring task but the key to making money last and work for our joy and success in making it do what we want it to do. 

The %s are off for Savannah but since she has no bills her main bill that she is facing is college.  She will see that as painful as it is to save, there's still not much saved at the end of the year and the $50 she had to spend is gone and most of it she will not be able to explain how she used. 

There's so many good lessons in here.  One of the toughest is learning to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and the other is being responsible for showing gratitude to God by giving.  Learning how to handle money is not a lesson taught in schools and has to be a lesson taught at home.  

We have a young population who believe their parents are endlessly wealthy and in spite of their mumblings, they always come up with the cash, gifts, etc.  The message to kids is get money-spend money.

The number one reason for divorce in America today where the divorce rate is 60% and 90% of those are over money.   What an attack on marriage and families in our country.  

I cannot fix those statistics but I have a chance to make a tiny difference like my mom did long ago with a young, impressionable child. Who knows how it might help her decades from now?

Dear Heavenly Father,
Teach us to use our money with wisdom and responsibility.  Help us to see that when we treat money as a gift from you, you can guide us to use it to do good works and to provide a joy filled life for ourselves.  Encourage us to teach our children and grandchildren how to make money a positive part of their life.
In Jesus' Name,

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