Child Guidance


Chapter 24—Economy and Thrift

Eliminate Extravagant Habits—Teach your children that God has a claim upon all they possess, and that nothing can ever cancel this claim; all they have is theirs only in trust, to prove whether they will be obedient. Money is a needed treasure; let it not be lavished upon those who do not need it. Someone needs your willing gifts.... If you have extravagant habits, cut them away from the life as soon as possible. Unless you do this, you will be bankrupt for eternity. And habits of economy, industry, and sobriety are, even in this world, a better portion for you and your children than a rich dowry.1 CG 134.1

Instruct the Children in Economy—The light given me now by the Lord is that we are to be careful not to spend our precious time and money unwisely. Many things may suit our fancy, but we are to guard against the expenditure of money for that which is not bread. We shall need much means to advance the work decidedly in our cities. Everyone is to have a part to act in the Lord's work. Parents are to instruct their children in lessons of economy, in order that the younger members of the flock may learn to share the responsibility of supporting the cause of God at this time.2 CG 134.2

Love Not Expressed by Extravagance—Practice economy in your homes. By many idols are cherished and worshiped. Put away your idols. Give up your selfish pleasure. Do not, I beg of you, absorb means in embellishing your houses; for it is God's money, and it will be required of you again. Parents, for Christ's sake do not use the Lord's money to please the fancies of your children. Do not teach them to seek after style and ostentation in order to obtain an influence in the world.... CG 134.3

Do not educate your children to think that your love for them must be expressed by indulging their pride, their extravagance, their love of display. There is no time now to invent ways of using money. Your inventive faculties are to be put to the stretch, to see how you can economize.3 CG 135.1

Christ's Lesson in Economy—There is a lesson for us in the feeding of the five thousand, a lesson that has a special application to those times when we are placed in trying circumstances and are compelled to practice close economy. Having worked the miracle and satisfied the hunger of the multitude, Christ was careful that the food that remained should not be wasted.4 CG 135.2

He said to the disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” Though He had all the resources of heaven at His command, He would not suffer even a morsel of bread to be wasted.5 CG 135.3

Discard Nothing Useful—Nothing that can be utilized should be thrown away. This will require wisdom, and forethought, and constant care. It has been presented to me that the inability to save, in little things, is one reason why so many families suffer for lack of the necessities of life.6 CG 135.4

They Never Learned to Economize—There is much work to be done for the Master, and men who might today be occupying high positions in connection with the work of God have failed because they never learned to economize. They did not limit their wants to their incomes when they entered the work, and their spend-thrift habits proved the ruin of their usefulness in the cause.7 CG 135.5

How to Teach the Right Use of Money—Let every youth and every child be taught, not merely to solve imaginary problems, but to keep an accurate account of his own income and outgoes. Let him learn the right use of money by using it. Whether supplied by their parents or by their own earnings, let boys and girls learn to select and purchase their own clothing, their books, and other necessities; and by keeping an account of their expenses, they will learn, as they could learn in no other way, the value and the use of money.8 CG 136.1

The Value of Keeping Accounts—When very young, children should be educated to read, to write, to understand figures, to keep their own accounts. They may go forward, advancing step by step in this knowledge.9 CG 136.2

Let children be taught to keep an account. This will enable them to be accurate. The spendthrift boy will be the spendthrift man. The vain, selfish, self-caring girl will be the same kind of woman. We are to remember there are other youth for whom we are accountable. If we train our children to correct habits, through them we shall be able to influence others.10 CG 136.3