Teaching my children how to be responsible with money is something that’s very important to me, but also quite difficult to do without lots of arguments and unhappy children. I’m still learning along the way, but these are my top tips for teaching children the value of money and how they should be sensible not wasteful.
- Take packed lunches on day trips and explain the huge saving compared to buying lunch out. To cushion the disappointment especially if we’re with friends who are buying lunch we compromise by buying an ice cream or other small treat.
- Encourage children to save birthday and Christmas money, I always use myself as an example for this, as I saved enough during my childhood to buy my first car when I was 20. My children each have their own savings account and come with me to pay the money in. My 8 year old especially gets a lot of pleasure watching his savings grow.
- If I buy something for myself or the children that’s not a birthday or Christmas present I always explain that I worked hard to able to buy it and thought carefully before spending money.
- I do a lot of my food shopping online, but when I do take the children to a supermarket we all look for special offers together and work out how much money we’ve saved.
- My husband and I save up for things we want rather than just buying them immediately and make sure the children know that we can’t just buy everything all the time. Recently they’ve seen and heard that we would love a new car, but will have to save for quite a long time before actually buying one. I think it’s really important for the children to understand that things don’t always come easy and have to be worked for.
- If the children break or lose something we don’t buy another immediately, they have to either save themselves or wait for a birthday. My 8 year old recently left his iPod on an aeroplane, it’s been quite a harsh lesson for him that we haven’t replaced it, especially as he now has to wait till Christmas, but hopefully now he will look after things better.
- We try and make costumes and cakes for school events rather than buying them, the children actually really enjoy making costumes and I always tell them we can do it at a fraction of the price of buying one.
For me, the key point is to explain why we can’t buy certain things. If the children start to get upset that I won’t buy ice creams or expensive treats everyday when we’re out, I try to make them understand just how much those things cost compared to what you can buy them for in a supermarket, especially when you need to buy three!
Of course, it’s not always easy teaching children the value of money. Our children often end up sharing food treats which I think is really good for them, but on the flip side can make them a bit grabby sometimes when food comes out as they think they need to get in first before someone else takes their share.
Do you have any more tips for teaching children how to be sensible with money?
For slightly older savers than my children TSB have a great under 19s account with a competitive interest rate and ATM card or visa debit card for over 11s.
We received a gift voucher for the creation of this post.