For Joshua’s first birthday he got given a cute little money box, immediately we started filling it up with any money he was given. As people love giving babies and toddlers money, we soon had a fair amount of money saved up for him – of course he didn’t know it existed or what money was back then. But now he’s almost three years old and he’s started to grasp the idea that with money you can buy things. Whenever we go shopping, he tells us to pay at the end and asks to help, so we let him get involved.
Since Joshua was two years old he has been putting any money that he’s given straight into his money box and he saves it up for our holiday each year. He will occasionally dip into it for treats, afternoons at the arcades etc but quite rarely really. For our holiday this year, he has managed to save up almost £50!
In a few years, he’ll be getting pocket money and we want him to know the value of money before this starts. We want to teach him that saving is a great thing to get into the habit of doing, so we have always encouraged him to learn about money. Whenever he wants a new toy, we make sure he understands that it costs money and that if we can’t afford it that he understands that too.
I never got pocket money growing up, as my parents did things a bit differently. Whenever we went shopping once a week I would often get treats or I could ask for some money to go to the corner shop – back in the days when you could buy a can of coke, crisps and sweets all for £1! And when we went food shopping my Mum would teach me how to buy things cheaper, so while I wasn’t being given pocket money I was still learning about the value of money. As parents, it’s our responsibility to make sure that our children have the essential skills and money skills is definitely one of those!
I see so many adults (18+ years old) who work but cannot save for the life of them. They live at home with their parents, work but pay a tiny amount towards living costs – compared to what it actually costs to live – and spend, spend, spend until their hearts content.
As soon as I turned 17 and moved out, I was only spending £3-£5 a week on food (sometimes £10) although, this was a mixture of my anxiety with money and that spending scared me, but also because I was using the tools that my Mum gave me. Without her teaching me how to save money, I would never have been able to spend that little.
We plan on giving Joshua pocket money at the end of the week, as long as he has earned it throughout the week. We have always given him age appropriate housework to do such as helping with hoovering, polishing (with baby wipes), putting his rubbish in the bin and he even offers to take our plates into the kitchen – bless him! So, as he grows up he’ll he given more ‘jobs’ to do to earn money.
Do you give your kids pocket money? Do they have to earn it first? If you encourage them to save, how do you do it?