As parents the amount of personal debt that seems to be the “norm” nowadays scares us silly. Our aim is to make sure that the boys not only understand the value of money but also recognise that saving up for something rather than relying on credit is the best way forward.
I work for myself on a freelance basis so while I have regular clients I also have numerous ones that come and go. With one-off projects and invoices that get paid at various points throughout the month (or the next month!) I understand oh so well that having a safety net in the form of savings and spending some time on our financial planning is a must.
Our top tip for teaching kids about about savings is to start early and give them responsibility!
Kieran (my 6yr old) gets £5 a week for his pocket money. While some might gasp at this amount (many on the school yard have), let me explain. Kieran gets £5 a week and this pays for any sweets, magazines, small treats, toys etc that he wishes to buy. We don’t routinely buy him these things, he gets them himself with money that he earns. To earn this £5 he has to have good behaviour etc but also has household chores that he needs to complete. He understands the need to work for his money, and that if he doesn’t he doesn’t get any.
Both boys have a CTF which assorted monies are paid into however they each have a passbook account that they can use to save up with and have easy access to. Kieran has now got into the habit of taking his £5 down with his book and giving it to the person at the building society so that he can save up for larger toys such as the latest Lego set. He loves drawing it out when he has saved enough and taking his money in his own wallet and paying for items himself (he will tell whoever is on the checkout that he has done this every time without fail). He enjoys the sense of achievement that comes with saving up for his own treats!
Kieran has a hamster (called Yoda). This is Kieran’s hamster and he saved up for the cage etc when we got him. As the hamster is essentially “his” pet he helps to clean the cage and makes sure that Yoda is well taken care of. He also gives us £1 out of his pocket money when we need to stock up on bedding, feed etc as this is a financial responsibility that he has chosen to taken on (although we all enjoy the hamster who is not only very cute but clearly possess super Jedi powers).
We hope that by giving Kieran control of his own money in this way, encouraging him to save and taking responsibility for things that we are instilling the notion that saving up is important, rather than have him blindly fall into the trap of instant gratification and using credit when he is older. So far, so good, and he seems to have a real grasp on the value of things that is rare apparently in a boy of his age. We’ll do the same for Taylor as he gets older and hopefully our children can enjoy a life free of debt and the stress and worry that goes with it when they are adults themselves. There is some fantastic debt management advice available nowadays for those that need it however we’d obviously prefer to educate the boys in advance so that they don’t.
We truly believe that educating your kids and giving them responsibility for their own money when younger is a great way to teach them about savings,
The lovelies at MoneySupermarket.com set me a challenge. I was given £100 and asked to see how much I could get out of it in terms of fun and activities with the boys, over the period of seven days. This challenge is based on budgeting, saving for holidays and events and to see, realistically, how far your money can stretch during the holidays which are significantly more costly than term time in relation to days outs and keeping people occupied. This is a great challenge in terms of making us think about how we manage our money.
The rules of the challenge were for me to set so I decided to include anything bought for the boys, any entrance fees / tickets and treats that were purely for the boys.
This is what we did with our £100.
1. Bought a loaf of reduce bread from Tesco for 50p and fed the duck.
2. Bought these fabulous cards from our local bookshop and have used them to find and identify bugs and beasties on walks, in the garden and even in the park (Cost £4.99).
3. Went to the circus – Kieran’s ticket was £8. His drink and popcorn from the flamboyantly dressed vendor carrying treats to people waiting for the show to start cost…. £6! (Note to self, bring own snacks next time). We didn’t buy the flashing wand, spinny thing or noise maker we were offered though – at £4.50 each)
4. We opened a bakery shop! We spent £13.87 on these ingredients and more, baked (tested a lot) and then Kieran sold cakes to Taylor, Daddy and I, who paid in left over sultanas – and then we stuffed ourselves!
5. We went to Stump Cross Caverns (£4.50 for Kieran to get in and £1.50 for a badge for his collection)
6. Brimham Rocks – a full day out in the sunshine courtesy of the National Trust! We did buy an ice-cream for the boys (£4.50!!) and another badge for the collection (£1).
7. Oh… and we bought bubbles for blowing off hills and rocks! (70p – gift shop prices, will be better prepared next time).
8. We bought a kite (£9.99) and have enjoyed hours of fun!! Turns out my 6yr old is much better at kite flying that I am.
9. We went to a car boot sale that we hadn’t visited before (Wiggington nr York – for my local readers – it is fantastic!). Kieran spent £5 on a HUGE box full of soldiers, tanks, RAF planes and the like which have been great fun during the wetter days!
Taylor bought (with help) 2 x DVDs (£2.50 total) and an In The Night Garden Noisy Book (soon to be “lost”) for £1. This kept them both amused for a while.
10. We stocked up on art and craft “stuff” and generally just made a mess and laughed like lunatics while we did it. Taylor had great fun painting (washable paint my behind!). (£5.75)
11. We went on a train ride! It cost £15 return (would have cost less if I hadn’t forgotten to renew our Family & Friends railcard!) and had a great day out mooching around, seeing the sites, and playing in new playgrounds that were different to our own. We took a picnic too so it was a fairly cheap day out of you discard to rail tickets.
12. This left us with £15.20 on the Sunday evening. So we got a delivery from the local pizza place as a treat with it (there was actually 10p left over so we’ve put it in the “spends” car for next week!).
A great week packed full of fun and activities, indoors and out for less than £100! Mingled in with these activities were lots of free fun things such as running around the park, making cardboard boxes into vehicles and dens and playing football in the garden. Really and truthfully, that £100 could have stretched over two weeks however our challenge was for a week, and as we were all off school / work and what not at the same time we thought we’d have a week to remember.
The school holidays are more expensive than term-time, in food if nothing else, however this exercise has taught me that with some planning and by saving a little in advance, there is no reason why we can’t have a fantastic time without blowing the budget. We are big fans of saving up for things before we get them and will continue to do this for future holidays, for other events and of course for Xmas! It is amazing how far you can make a sum of money go when you have saved it up, have in your hand and can see it disappearing as you spend it!
Thanks to MoneySupermarket.com for asking us to take part in this challenge. We have had a fabulous time!
*MoneySupermarket gave us £100 to use for this challenge.
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