Updated on October 11, 2013
Saver or Spendthrift – And Were You Born That Way?
How do you teach your child to be good with money?
Are some people pre-destined to be sensible savers, or is it a learned skill?
When I saw the competition by MoneySupermarket.com about SuperKid Savers, it reminded me of a blog post that I have been meaning to write for quite some time.
When I first left home, I was terrible with money. It took me a long time to learn to budget, and if I am very honest I sometimes forget this important lesson. We are constantly tempted, by advertising that persuades us that we just cannot wait to get the newest gadget, by peer pressure to have a better house/car/outfit, and by our own wish for a bit of ‘retail therapy’.
The heady days of easy credit may be past, but companies still try to persuade us with buy-now-pay-later and interest free credit and store credit cards. If all else fails, there are credit cards designed for people with bad credit and payday loans, with horrific interest rates. It is still all too easy to slip into debt – and one that is almost impossible to pay off due to the high interest rates of these shady companies.
Teaching our kids how to budget is possibly one of the most important lessons that we can give them (along with how to sook tea through a Kitkat).
We decided that the best way to teach our children about money is to give them some cash. We worked out what we could afford to give them, and made their pocket money quite generous. Obviously this depends on your own finances, but we have found this works really well.
Our 10 year old gets £4 pocket money a week and our 8 year old gets £3 a week.
The provision with this rather high amount is that they must save at least half of it.
As it turns out, most weeks they save all of it and it goes into a piggy bank. Any money that they get for birthdays or Christmas is added to this pot.
The reward for this is that they are then able to decide what they wish to buy (within reason, but we would have to have a very good reason to refuse them permission to buy something that they had saved for). Our daughter decided that she wanted a computer so saved until she had enough money for a small netbook. When they ‘invest’ their money, they get a 10% bonus from us. With the computer that mean that we bought the mouse and mousepad.
They are also expected to use this money for holidays and days out.
We have found that by giving them a generous amount of pocket money and making them save some of it, they are less likely to ask for things all the time. If they want a game for the iPod, they pay from their own money. If they want a comic, they check if they have some cash left. No more, ‘Muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum, can I have…’ in the supermarket as they know the answer will be, ‘Do you have pocket money left?’.
Giving a decent amount of pocket money also means that they don’t have to save for too long before they can afford to buy something. There is nothing more frustrating that saving 50p a week for a year and then only having enough for a reconditioned video game. They are encouraged by the rising balance to save more that they strictly need to.
We haven’t set up savings accounts for them here in Scotland, so that is next on the list.
What do you do to encourage your kids to be sensible savers?