When I was a child I would wait for the weekend to arrive and for my father to hand over my pocket money. I was never in a rush to spend but I did like to know that I had it. What I did do with some of it was spend it on records – yes, vinyl ones! In those days a 7″ single cost £1.39 unless you waited for it to fall out of the Top 40 and you could get in reduced in the bargain bin. The pocket money I had was in cash and it was up to me to look after it. Once it had been spent that was that but I never got low on funds.
Of course cash then was the only way to receive pocket money. Anything you had saved up either got stashed in a purse or a piggy bank. If you were lucky to get a cheque for your birthday or Christmas from an aged relative it might disappear into a Post Office account never to be seen again.
Now there are so many options on how you give your child money and how they deal with it. Do you stick to the traditional cash method? Are they too young to manage a bank account and card? Is a smart phone app a step too far or should we all realise that this is the way money works these days? I asked a selection of mums what they think.
Natasha at Mummy & Moose has recently decided that her daughter needed her own money, “How can they learn to manage money if they don’t have any? I took her to the Metro bank and we opened an account so that money can be transferred weekly. I hope that having the account rather than cash will encourage her to save a little more too. So far so good!”
If you’re not ready to open a bank account yet then try a twist on it by becoming your children’s own bank manager. This is a method that is used by The Rebel Tribe blogger Kelly, “What we have is a home bank where they can fill out the bank book to deposit and withdraw. I think this helps with a truer understanding of money and maths.”
Getting your kids to learn the value of money is a constant theme as Sophie of Yorkshire Families stresses, “I think bank accounts can be great for kids to understand the value of money. Obviously start off with a piggy bank and once they’re old enough you can move them to their own account. My kids budget a lot more when they know they’re spending their own savings rather than using the constant Bank of Mum and Dad.”
Tina at Mother Geek knows that there are a variety ways to make sure your children are financially secure. From setting up trust funds to life assurance you still need your children to do their bit. Tina says, “We have made sure our daughter understands that things cost money, and that she needs to save up to buy them.”
Do you spend all your money or is a case of enjoy some and save some? Carla-Maria from MyBump2Baby has found a way to starting early, “We have a book account at the Skipton for George, 3, he has jobs to do in the garden and we pay him and he spends 10% of sweets and saves the rest for something bigger.”
When raising our own children we often reflect on our own experiences. “I had a bank account from about 11 years old, my pocket money would get paid into there and I loved seeing it grow, saving for things and feeling independent; I think it stood me in great stead for when I needed to manage money myself so I’ll be teaching my kids in the same way about money in and money out and how to save into a separate account for later,” says Devon Mamma Hayley.
Is it all about making sure your children always do the right thing with money? Christy from Welsh Mum of One opened a savings account for her son when he was born two years and intends to give him access to it when he turns 18. He could use it for education, a car or a house deposit but she is going to let him decide, “He can spend this on whatever he wants. I think it teaches responsibility, communication (with shop workers) and understanding of finances. I never want to dictate how he spends that money as I really think learning to choose (and making mistakes) is an important process.”
You may struggle to find a bank branch these days but a visit to one is still very different to other places. Steph over at Renovation Bay-Bee finds that a trip is well worth it, “All my children have a bank account and they love going to the bank and putting their money in. We decided to just open them a normal bank account so we could take them to the bank and pay the money in themselves.”
With her eldest only being 6 Jade from Mummies Waiting knows her children aren’t old enough yet to have their own bank cards but realises it the way forward, “I’d love for my girls to have one. We have pocket money and rules (staying that we can’t tell them what to/not to spend it on etc). The world is going contactless and we would love that for them.”
Are you happy with your child carrying cash? Claire over at Daily Deals UK has found something that gives her a bit of peace of mind, “As a mum of 5 I really worry about my kids taking cash out in this day and age. Banks now offer debit cards for kids as young as 11 and I think it’s great. My son can ring me if he’s stuck and needs a taxi, hungry or anything and I can pop some money in his account within seconds.”
A traditional bank account isn’t the only option these days as Katie at Living Life Our Way has found. She has done a review of mobile apps and payment cards and found this is a perfect for her daughter, “I think this is really good for independence and teaching essential life skills.”
The future is very much on the minds of some mums and the cost of education. Jo at A Rose Tinted World decided to set up a fund for her daughter when she was very small, “We have no idea how much she will need in the way of school and university fees should she decide to go, and even if she doesn’t it would be nice for her to have a pot with which to set up a home.”