Lesson 46: Financial Responsibility

Young Women Manual 2, (1993), 175–78


Each young woman will understand the need to become financially responsible.


  1. 1.

    Make a copy of the handout “Financial Responsibility” for each young woman. The handout is at the end of the lesson. Also bring pencils.

  2. 2.

    Make a wordstrip of the following statement: Provident living is being “wise, frugal, prudent, making provision for the future while attending to immediate needs.”

  3. 3.

    Ask a young woman to tell about the kinds of work she has done, either to earn money or to help her family. Ask her to discuss how this work has helped her prepare for the future and how she has used any money she has earned.

  4. 4.

    Bring a ledger or notebook to illustrate ways of keeping financial records.

  5. 5.

    Assign young women to present any scriptures, stories, or quotations you wish.

Suggested Lesson Development



Distribute pencils and copies of the handout. Ask the young women to answer the questions on the handout. Assure them that only they will see their answers. After they have completed, ask that they keep the questions in mind as the lesson is being discussed.

We Must Learn to Take Responsibility for Our Personal Finances

Teacher presentation

Explain that we must each learn to take responsibility for our personal finances. No matter how small or large our income is, we can manage it wisely, and we will receive many benefits from doing so.


Read the following quotation:

“If there is any one thing that will bring peace and contentment into the human heart, and into the family, it is to live within our means. And if there is any one thing that is grinding and discouraging and disheartening, it is to have debts and obligations that one cannot meet” (Heber J. Grant, Gospel Standards [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941], p. 111).


Ask each young woman to silently consider what might happen in each of the following situations: (1) if financial reverses suddenly came to your family, (2) if your family were suddenly faced with major medical costs, (3) if a parent passed away unexpectedly, (4) if the family income somehow stopped today. If any of these situations occurred in your family, how could you help? Would your present needs be a drain on the family’s resources? Have you made any preparations that might help in such circumstances?

  • Has anyone had any experiences such as these that you would like to share?

Explain that if we can help ourselves and take responsibility for our personal finances, we are well on the way toward provident living.

Wordstrip and quotation

  • What is provident living?

Display the wordstrip. Explain that Sister Barbara B. Smith defined provident living as being “wise, frugal, prudent, making provision for the future while attending to immediate needs” (Ensign, May 1976, p. 118).


Help the young women define frugal and prudent. Explain that although they may be limited at this time in their earning power, they can make “provision for the future while attending to immediate needs.” Ask them to refer to their answers on the handout. Where could they improve to become more provident, more responsible, and better managers of their present finances?

Presentation by young woman

Ask the previously assigned young woman to tell about the kinds of work she has done. Ask her to explain how she uses any money she earns.


  • How is this young woman’s work helping her prepare for the future?

Ask the young women to suggest wise and worthwhile ways in which they could use any money they earn.

  • What are some good ways to save money for the future?

  • What kinds of purchases are wise and provident?

Display of ledger

Display a ledger or notebook. Ask the young women to look at the sample budget outline on their handout.

Teacher presentation

Point out that accurate record keeping is a vital part of good money management. If we are to take responsibility for our finances, we should have some sort of book or notebook to keep a record of our income and our expenditures. This record will be useful in helping us budget our money. There are various ways of keeping a financial record, but all have basic information in common.

Refer to the budget outline. Explain that it allows a person to keep track of how much she earns and control how much she spends.

  • How could keeping such a simple record help you take responsibility for your finances? (You know how much money you have; when it was received, spent, or saved; and whether or not you are living within your budget.)

  • What other benefits might result from establishing good habits of record keeping?

Taking Financial Responsibility Will Help Us Become Self-Reliant

Teacher presentation

Explain that Church leaders counsel us to become independent and self-reliant by being financially responsible regardless of economic difficulties around us. Read and discuss the following quotations:


“The Lord desires his Saints to be free and independent in the critical days ahead. But no man is truly free who is in financial bondage” (Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, Oct. 1973, p. 90; or Ensign, Jan. 1974, p. 69).

“We must recognize that financial problems are the reason for much unhappiness and are certainly a major factor in family difficulties and divorce.

“The Lord has told us that if we are prepared, we shall not fear (see D&C 38:30). What a blessing it is to be free from financial fear” (Franklin D. Richards, in Conference Report, Apr. 1979, p. 55; or Ensign, May 1979, p. 38).


  • Besides learning and practicing principles of good money management, what are some qualities we need to develop to become financially responsible? After the young women have responded to this question, write on the chalkboard the following three qualities and discuss each, using the material provided.

  1. 1.

    Be disciplined. We are repeatedly urged to avoid debt and not to let our desires exceed what we earn. It takes discipline to pay tithes and offerings, to regularly save, and to live within a budget.


“The key to spending less than we earn is simple—it is called discipline. Whether early in life or late, we must all eventually learn to discipline ourselves, our appetites, and our economic desires” (N. Eldon Tanner, in Conference Report, Oct. 1979, p. 119; or Ensign, Nov. 1979, p. 81).

  • How can budgeting our income help us discipline ourselves?


  1. 2.

    Be unselfish. The scriptures give us valuable counsel on this subject. Read together and mark the following two scriptures: Doctrine and Covenants 68:31; Jacob 2:18–19.


  • How does paying our tithes and offerings help us follow this scriptural counsel? What worthy people or organizations exist in our community to which we might contribute?


  1. 3.

    Use wise judgment. A woman who was suddenly faced with widowhood related her feelings about the importance of young women learning early how to use wise judgment in budgeting and planning personal finances.

“I don’t think it is the ideal thing to be a working mother,” she said, “but under some circumstances you have to put your mind on providing for your family’s future. I made sure my daughters prepared themselves so they could take over the financial responsibility for their families in case they had to. I encouraged my sons, when they were dating, to look for young women capable of raising their children alone” (Maren E. Hardy, “Widow Discovers Her Own Potential, Gains Successes,” Church News, 10 July 1982, p. 7).


  • How might these suggestions help us make wise judgments in budgeting our money and planning our future lives?

  • Why is it important for us to learn to be self-reliant in financial matters?

Case studies

Ask the class members to decide which of these three qualities the young women in the following case studies need to develop and practice. What could each young woman have done to prevent the problems and improve her financial self-reliance?

  1. 1.

    Christina had always wanted to go to college after high school graduation, but she had to change her plans when she found out she did not have enough money to do so.

  2. 2.

    Tamara’s parents suggested that she contribute her share of the monthly fast offering, but she had her heart set on buying a newly released music album.

  3. 3.

    Martha told her mother that she would pay for half of her music lessons if her parents would pay for the other half. She was able to keep her part of the bargain for only two months and then was unable to continue her payments.

  4. 4.

    Sarah decided that since school was beginning this month, she would put off paying her tithing until next month when she would not have so many expenses.

  5. 5.

    Rachel wanted to buy a new dress to help at a friend’s wedding but found she did not have the money for both the dress and a gift for the bride, so she asked her parents if she could charge the gift on their credit card.

  6. 6.

    Janette spent her extra money on junk foods and candy. She often complained that she did not have enough money to spend on clothes, cosmetics, and other grooming necessities.


Teacher presentation

Remind the young women of how important it is for us to learn to take personal responsibility for our finances. We can use financial resources wisely and so avoid problems both now and in our future lives. We can become self-reliant without financial fear, feel the joy of having our own possessions, and enjoy the happiness and security that come from provident living.

Lesson Application

Encourage the young women to obtain some kind of notebook or ledger to begin keeping proper financial records. Suggest that they take home the “Financial Responsibility” handout and discuss it with their parents, asking for help in learning to take responsibility for their personal finances.