The following is a formal plan or schedule to help young men and women track their savings for their full-time mission. The cost is based on the $500 per month price tag the Church announced in 2019 would go into effect in July 2020. Anticipating that increase from the previous $400 a month cost, I updated these charts and graphs to $500–then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the Church kept the cost at $400 a month for full-time missions for Latter-day Saint youth. Assuming the Church will eventually go through with the price increase and not wanting to update the charts again and because most missionaries should err on the side of saving more, I’ve kept the $500 a month price tag in the content on this page.
Savings Plan–Brief Instructions
Instructions on how to use this schedule for saving for a mission is included in the downloadable PDFs below, but I’ll repeat it here. In short, there are a number of boxes in the printable handout, with each box representing $100. Youth should fill in each square, or somehow mark them, when they have saved each $100 increment. When all the squares on the sheet are filled, the youth will be, financially, ready to go on a mission.
The cost to serve a mission is $400 (at a future date $500) per month. That comes to $9,600 ($12,000) for a young man’s 24 month mission and $7,200 ($9,000) for a young woman’s 18 month mission. The main chart in the printout will have 120 boxes, or 90 boxes, for young men and women respectively, each square representing $100, plus 20 extra boxes for the additional expenses of getting ready to go. Missionaries are expected to buy and bring this additional gear, which adds an average of around $2,000 to the cost of getting ready to go on a mission. When all boxes are marked off, the youth will have the money saved up that is needed to pay for a mission.
This plan recommends easing young people into saving by starting small and roughly doubling the amount saved each year and having them prepared to go by the time they reach 18 or 19. Of course, many people may end up getting a late start, so depending on when the youth starts saving, individual timing may vary.
Try to Pay for Your Mission, but Don’t Let Money Stop You
When many youth and their parents first see the attached schedule, they may be a little overwhelmed. But remember, though youth should try to pay for their own mission, the lack of finances should not stop anyone worthy from serving. To help get youth started or to help them get caught up with the plan, parents, family, and friends may consider donating to the youth’s missionary savings fund. To get my son motivated to save and to help him get caught up, I’m telling him that I will put $100 in his mission fund when he comes with me to the bank to open up a savings account. Parents may also want to take a look at this list of ideas for earning money and saving for a mission.
Blessings of Paying for Your Own Mission
Living and past prophets have taught that God will greatly bless the young people who are financially prepared and have saved for their own mission. Elder M. Russell Ballard has said that young people preparing for a mission “ought to have a job and save money for their missions. Every mission president would concur with me that the missionary who has worked and saved and helped pay for part or all of his or her mission is a better prepared missionary” (How to Prepare to Be a Good Missionary, Liahona, Mar. 2007).
President Spencer W. Kimball said to the youth, “Every time money comes into your hands, through gifts or earnings, set at least part of it away in a savings account to be used for your mission.” He further said, “How wonderful it would be if every boy could totally or largely finance his own mission and thereby receive most of the blessings coming from his missionary labors.”
- More details on the cost of missions for Latter-day Saint youth.
- Mission Savings Calculator. To determine how much you will need to save, per month, to be able to pay for your mission.
- Also check out my mission prep checklist for youth, in which I recommended that youth start small and exponentially grow their savings each year.