Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured. —Proverbs 13:18, KJV
This passage from Proverbs talks about being wise with money. Other versions of the Bible use the word “discipline” and state that those who lack discipline will face poverty.
Being wise with your money not only helps you to be successful in life, but it is also a good witness to the unsaved. You never know where a conversation may lead and if your thriftiness ever surprises someone, use that as an opportunity to share God’s Word and explain the motivation behind your discipline.
So, what does all that have to do with picking out a cell phone for your kids to have at school? The simple answer to that question is, be wise with your money.
Chances are you will be paying for this phone while your kids are still in school. There is a lot of chaos and things that can happen at school. So ask yourself, “Should I spend a lot of money on this phone so that my kid will be happy with the coolest new gadget, or should I realize that there is a good chance this phone may get lost or stolen and it would be better to get something cheaper?”
Most kids are going to want the latest and greatest. They want the coolest thing out there. That usually means you’ll be spending a lot of money.
Some phones can cost up to $600! To put that in perspective, would you give your kid six one-hundred dollar bills to take with him to school and keep in his pocket or backpack? Probably not. So, why would you want him to have a $600 phone to carry around?
There are a lot of great no-contract phone carriers out there with a full line of smart phones and data plans. These give you the option to have all the same access as those top-of-the-line phones at a fraction of the cost.
Companies like Cricket and Virgin Mobile offer a lot of these options. You can get monthly plans with data as low as $50-60 a month. Generally, you do need to pay full price for the phones since you are not signing up for a contract, but there are plenty of smart phones to choose from that are less than $150.
Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. —Romans 13:8, KJV
If you do decide to go with one of the big cellular companies and get your kids contract phones, consider putting the phone in your children’s names. If you have teenagers in high school, this could be an excellent teaching tool that will help them learn financial responsibility and build up some credit as well. If you already give your children an allowance, tell them they have to use some of it to pay you back for the cell phone. If you do not give an allowance, tell them they have to do some added chores around the house or neighborhood to pay for the cell phone. Use this opportunity to show them that nothing but the love of Jesus comes free of charge.
Building up credit in your child’s name is a very big bonus to consider at a young age. The economy is still struggling and getting lines of credit is incredibly hard right now.
A cell phone is an easy way to get your child started. Nowadays, banks and credit card companies expect people in their early 20s to have a credit history. When one approaches them with no credit history they are very skeptical and reluctant to do business with that person. So, if you are going to spend that extra money for a fancy phone with a major carrier, at least get your child some credit history in return and teach him a valuable financial lesson about responsibilities and monthly bills.
And, as always, pray to God to ask for guidance. Say a prayer with your children when you give them the new phones and ask God to bless them and thank God for the privilege and ability to have a cell phone.