The lifelong task of teaching your children financial responsibility can never begin too early. From the time they first learn to count, your children should learn the value of money and how to manage it wisely. Long before they are exposed to the lure of credit cards, the following principles are just a few financial smarts you can teach your homeschoolers:

Money Doesn't Grow on Trees
Children should learn that money is earned by working, and they can only spend what they've already earned. Instead of an allowance that can lead to an entitlement mentality, emphasize the concept that hard work equals a paycheck. Using a daily chore chart with stickers and graduating to money as they grow older, pay them regularly for completed tasks.

Delayed Gratification
Young children need to understand that once money is spent, it's gone, and before something else can be purchased, more money needs to be earned. After a long day of work has left them tired, dirty, and sore, place some money in their hands for the day's pay and say, "When you're tempted to spend your money foolishly, just remember how hard you worked to earn this." Passing this wisdom to your children should help them resist impulse purchases.

For every dollar earned, 10% is given to the Lord (Proverbs 3:9, Malachi 3:10), 10% is saved for unexpected expenses, and the remaining 80% is used as working capital. Using separate jars for weekly tithes, savings, and spending money helps young children visualize how to stick to a budget with their earnings.

Needs, Wants, and Desires
Although your children probably think differently, food, clothing, and shelter are the only things they truly need. Teach them the difference between a need, a want, and a desire to keep them from joining millions of Americans who rack up huge monthly debt and stiff interest payments from credit cards.

A Penny Saved Is a Penny Earned
Teach your children how to make their money work for them by opening a savings account for them at a local bank. Although interest rates aren't as good as they used to be, your children can still watch their money increase when they record interest payments and other deposits to their account. You can also encourage them to follow their account's activity online.

Sales Mean Savings
As young children grow older, teach them to be smart shoppers and take advantage of seasonal sales, discounts, and rebates. Show them how to get more for their money by using coupons and browsing the sales racks first.

Practice What You Preach
Of course, the best way to teach young children how to handle money wisely is to be a good role model. As they observe you praying about your purchases, giving to others, saving for goals, and accepting spending limits, they'll also discover how to be a good steward of God's blessings.

Teaching children how to manage money doesn't have to be the biggest challenge you face as a parent. Like the academics you teach, start smart money habits now while your children are young and put them on the right road for future financial success.

Do you give your homeschoolers an allowance? Please share why or why not in the comment field below.