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Three Cups Book Review Teaching Children About Money

Three Cups

The book Three Cups teaches children how to save, spend and be charitable with money is as easy as one, two, three

As a parent, I want my children to learn the value of being fiscally responsible as well as giving to their fellow man. 

It is a hard concept to teach. 

When my six year old *needs* that toy in the magazine, we sit down and talk about how much money it costs, how many hours a person with a job would have to work to pay for that toy, and whether the toy is a *want* or a *need*. 

Money is a foreign concept to children; come to think of it, it’s a foreign concept to most American adults too. 

We live in a society where immediate gratification is the norm, and we blur the line between wants and needs.

Teaching children how to save, spend, and be charitable can be as simple as 1, 2, 3. All parents want to teach their children good money habits from an early age. Many start by giving them an allowance. But it’s equally important to teach children a positive, generous attitude as they learn to use money responsibly. Filled with warm, memorable illustrations by award-winning painter, April Willy, Three Cups is the story of one family’s unique and effective method of teaching personal financial management—and how one boy reaped first the small, then the immeasurably great rewards of the lessons he learned. Families will be delighted with the heart-warming tale and want to integrate the three-cup system in their own children’s lives.

The book Three Cups shows how one boy learns that sometimes delayed gratification while helping someone in need can give so much self-fulfillment. 

My eight year old and I sat down to read the book together. 

She received the Sacrament of First Holy Communion this past spring and received quite a bit of money as gifts from family and friends

I made her open a savings account with the money, but that money has been burning a hole in her pocket. 

She really wants to spend it – on nothing really – but on everything she sees. 

I let her keep her piggy bank money, which is coins that are lying around the house and oddball money that she has received from us for different things. 

We haven’t given her an *allowance* yet because we don’t believe children should receive money for just *being*. 

After reading the book, she divided her money into three groups: Saving, Spending, and Giving. 

This book helped her see that if she works hard, she will be able to save, spend, and give on her own. 

On Friday, after we returned from an art field trip, she went out, unasked, and raked all of the leaves in our front yard. 

She even removed the leaf blower and blew off the sidewalk and walkways. 

I gave her $6 for her effort. 

At Mass, she gave $1 from her own piggy bank (instead of mine) in the collection basket and $1 in the Poor Box: 1/3 of what she had earned on Friday. 

She told me that she is saving $2 to add to her Savings Account, and she is going to save her spending money for Christmas gifts for her friends.

She got it!

And it was a much easier process using the book Three Cups than it would have been if Mommy mandated the process. 

My six-year old isn’t ready yet; we read the book together, but those *wants* still feel like needs to him. 

Mommy still controls his piggy bank money in the meantime. 

He’ll get it eventually.

Three Cups is published by Thomas Nelson, written by Tony Townsley and Mark St. Germain. With the holidays, it’s the perfect time to adopt the values of generosity and financial responsibility.

Written for children ages 4-8, it’s a great resource for parents.

Available online through

*I received Three Cups in order to facilitate an honest review. The opinions expressed are my own and were in no way influenced by the sponsor. Other experiences may vary.


Lauralee Saad loves homeschooling her three kiddos: Ballerina, age 8, Big Boy, age 6, and MESS, age 3.  She enjoys sewing when she can find a spare corner to set up her machine and dig out fabrics, cooking and baking – especially if the kiddos are helping, and enjoying a good book after the kiddos have gone to bed.  She is thrilled to be welcoming a baby girl into the family in March of 2012.


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