Does that £20 note that was neatly tucked away in little Stephanie’s birthday card get spent as soon as possible? Do you children have little regard for the value of money? Ask yourself a more personal question, “Do they have a bad teacher?”
Your children mimic you in more ways than you care to accept. If you’ve dug yourself into a financial hole then it’s not only time to sort out your own mess but it’s also time to teach your child about money.
Here are 7 tips that will set your little angels off on a path of money moderation:
1. The Money Matching Plan:
For every pound your child saves, match it e.g. if your child gets a £10 note as a birthday present and saves £5 in their piggy bank put another fiver in. Starting this plan off when they are young will help to teach them the value of money from an early age. As they get older you can cut down the amount you put into the kitty in order to encourage them to save more.
2. Savings Account:
My parents opened a savings account for me when I was a baby (a longgggg time ago). Over the years I consistently added monthly deposits into the account and, by the time I was 18, I ended up with about £6000. Everything bit of spare cash I had went into the account; from pocket money to paper round money. The money I eventually drew out went a very long way.
3. Goal Setting:
Help your child learn how to plan by setting a goal. If they have decided to buy something expensive but can’t afford it yet it’s time add a little fun into the mix. Draw a picture of your favourite shape or animal. Now mark out target amounts of money e.g. if they’re aiming to save £10 then you’ll need to have 10 marks running up the side of the shape, each one labeled: £1, £2, £3, etc. Now ask your child to colour in the section as they hit each target. Visual progress tracking made easy.
4. A Picture Paints A Thousand Words:
Many entrepreneurs have said that we should have a picture of our deepest desires front and centre. Put a picture of what they want all over the house; in their bedroom, in the bathroom, in the kitchen, etc. This will give them a constant reminder of what they’re saving for.
5. Wish Lists:
Wish lists are a great idea. Similar to having a picture in front of you, lists encourage your children to visualise what they want. If they have a number of ‘must have’ items on the list get them to prioritise the list.
6. Monkey See, Monkey Do:
Or, to put it another way, lead by example and let your children see you practicing what you preach. Have your own piggy bank at home. Alternatively, take your child with you to put money in the bank and tell your child why you’re doing this. Simple yet very effective.
7. Spend Their Money:
I don’t mean raid their piggy bank for a new pair of shoes! Sometimes children forget. My youngest was so focussed on saving that, over the space of about 6 months, she saved up over £100 but didn’t spend it! Obviously, we don’t want them to spend it all but a little purchase here and there can be used a way of teaching your child how to buy in moderation.
Other Helpful Tips:
Regardless of how much money your child saves, praise them.
Give them constant encouragement even if they are a little reckless with their spending.
Future debtors or money savers? You can stick your head in the sand or you can teach them how to save money and give the a good head start in life. Which option do you choose?
This article was written for Which4U by James, co-author for moneysavingzone.co.uk, a site that prides themselves on offering their readers a selection of ideas and tips to help them save money on just about anything you can think of.