I started to lay down the foundations of saving when they were born and both Elizabeth and Alison have a Child Trust Fund account and both mummy and daddy pay into it every month by direct debit. I know that if I had received a large amount of money when I turned 18 I would have wasted it but I hope that I can convince them a car or university fees would be more appropriate.
They also have individual Savings accounts which I pay some of their Child Benefit into, so they have had a bit of money accumulating for things such as clothes, school uniforms and shoes as and when we need it.
Elizabeth is a lot more into money than her sister and is fascinated by the money machines, she already knows my pin number and loves helping me to withdraw money from there. I always explain that the money is in there because Daddy goes to work and if we didn’t have any money in our work account then we couldn’t get any out. She asks if she can get a work out but I am pretty sure I might get done for slave labour if she starts a job at the age of 4.
Elizabeth has a few money boxes and she has lots of money in there, occasionally we cash some of it in when she wants to do something extra fun like go on a great day out or buy a toy that mummy won’t pay for. Elizabeth doesn’t like brown money and insists on silver or gold, brown money is for her little sister Alison who hasn’t quite worked out the difference yet and just enjoys having lots of coins. Elizabeth is suddenly very intrigued by paper money, it seems to be used when purchasing things that are a lot more fun, toys for instance or beautiful new clothes. Coin money is used for sweets which although good they do not last as long.
So how exactly does Elizabeth manage to get so much money at such a young age?
Being good with money is not all about saving it though, you have to know how to spend sensibly too so I allow both of the girls to have some responsibility over their money.
When Elizabeth got ill in August she received a few cards with money in to make her feel better, this was her first real encounter with paper money (as usually when it is in Birthday cards it just gets put into her savings account for when she wants something). I promised her that she could spend the money when she got out of the hospital and that was one of the first things she wanted to do. She had £20 in total and at each item she looked at I told her how much it cost and how much she would have left. She thought hard about what she wanted to buy and decided that a pink hobby horse for £5 and some sweets for £1 was a lot better than a toy for £20 and she happily put her change back into her purse for another day.
Whenever we are planning a day out or a holiday both of the girls are given a purse with a set amount of money inside, this money is for them to spend as they like but Mummy and Daddy refuse to spend any more on them once their money has gone.
A good example of this being successful was when we went to our local fireworks display, there was a funfair and candyfloss and balloons and flashing lights, everything a child could wish for and everything a parents pocket groans about. Both girls were given £10, that was all they were allowed no questions asked.
Elizabeth had been begging for a Scooby Doo umbrella which I had so far resisted in buying for her (I mean how many umbrellas does one kid need even when we do live in Manchester), the umbrella cost £5 her aim at the end of the night was to have £5 left to buy her umbrella the next day. A go on hook the duck (£2.50) a bag of Candyfloss (£1) and a hotdog (£1.50) later and it was time to go home with a nice crisp £5 still in her purse. The next day she bought her umbrella and handed her money over with a big smile on her face.
Alison also had £10, she hadn’t seen the Scooby Doo umbrella but never one to miss out decided she wanted one too. She played hook the duck (£2.50), shared some of her sisters candyfloss (£0) and ate the leftovers from her sisters hotdog (£0). The next day she bought a Scooby Doo umbrella too and still had £2.50 left in her purse, she is a shrewd one that girl.
We also give the girls some spending money when we go to Butlins, they can use it on the arcade, the candyfloss machine, the sweet store or buy something to keep but whatever they spend it on they know that when their purse is empty they can’t spend anymore money.
I think I have taught them well now if only I can remember those tricks when I am out shopping.
This post was written as an entry to Moneysupermarket.com SuperKid Savers Challenge.