When Tony Townsley, chief financial officer for Hokanson Companies Inc. and Assistant Scoutmaster for Del-Mi Troop 152, and his wife set up an allowance system for their children, they knew they wanted to impart the values of personal financial management and philanthropy.
The solution they came up with was simple: Each child would get a set amount per week, but that amount would be divided into three categories: Saving, spending, and charity. The money would divided into these categories and stored in three corresponding coffee cups.
Fifteen years later, the “three cups” method is still working for the Townsley family. Son Jake, a 15-year old Life Scout with Troop 152, has not only built up his savings account, but has helped numerous organizations with his “charity cup.” He has chosen to donate his hard-earned money to hurricane relief through the Red Cross as well as to the Humane Society, and is currently saving his charity money so that he can put it toward his Eagle project.
Daughter Emma, 12, has given her charity money to local nursing homes and hospitals.
Tony, who teaches the personal management merit badge for Eagle-bound Scouts, believed that the method had been so successful in his family that he recently released a children’s book, “Three Cups,” explaining the system.
Though the timing is accidental, many of the lessons taught in “Three Cups” are especially relevant due to the state of the economy.
The book, written by Mark St. Germain and beautifully illustrated by April Willy, is available at the Indianapolis Scout Shop as well as from the book’s Web site, www.3CupsBook.com.