Friday, November 4, 2011

Three Cups... A Review

My kids started earning an allowance a few years ago, and at the time I tried to have them set some money aside for savings. I didn't know what I was doing, and I've made some modifications since then, but I'm likely to modify further now that I've read Tony Townsley's Three Cups, a book I received for free from the publisher.

It's a children's book, meant to be read to children (or for children to read on their own, I suppose), but what the book does is begin the conversation about what we should do with our money. Kids with new sources of "income" will be eager to spend every last penny of what they get, and if that's what they do, they will continue that pattern for the rest of their lives. This book sets up the groundwork for doing more with what one has, in a simple, tangible way, by putting the money into three cups, and not just one.

The cover's simplicity gives away the system (this was from the Amazon webpage):

Three Cups

When children get their allowance, they divide their earnings into three cups. They give some money away (charity, church, good causes), save some, and then spend the rest (or collect more in their spend cups so that they can save up for something bigger and more expensive). It's simple, yes, but the strength of the book is that it isn't bossy at all. It doesn't dictate a particular percentage go in any given cup (that's presumably for parents to decide), but what it does do is show the positive effects brought about by each cup. Saving means that the children have some security in the future (adults could learn from this), giving money to causes makes other less fortunate people happy (and makes us feel warm inside), and earning money to spend also brings joy. 

It's almost too bad we don't have an equivalent book for adults... but if we read it to our kids, perhaps we can learn from it, as well. In any case, it's time for me to dig through my cups and find the six I will use on my two children... to encourage good habits at an early age. 

What are your spending habits, readers? Do you do all three? I don't do enough of the giving and saving... but that can change.

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