AS children settle back in to the new school year, parents and their pockets and purses are almost certainly breathing a collective sigh of relief…
The long summer holidays can be draining – especially on the financial front – as we resort to ever-more costly ways to keep the offspring amused and occupied.
It’s often been suggested that, alongside Maths and English, money management should be a part of every child’s education.
However, unless it finds its way onto the curriculum, we can only do our own level best to lay the foundations of sound financial nous in our youngsters from an early age…
Here at Leek United, we recognise the importance of encouraging good savings habits from a young age.
We’ve forged close links with many primary and junior schools throughout the communities we serve, where many pupils have junior accounts and savings schemes.
But beyond that, there are other ways in which we can all help our youngsters to develop sound financial sense early on:
As adults, most of us have come to rely heavily on our plastic ‘flexible friends’ – but for children, plastic play money can help them to understand how it all works.
Playing shop with them is an ideal, fun way to learn the value of money – especially when the plastic coins run out, and they realise the ‘spending’ has to stop!
Out in the real world…
Once kids have got the idea of how money ‘works’ in the retail world, why not involve them in your own purchasing?
You could, for example, have a week when you put away your own plastic and just use cash for all your shopping.
And the children could help by counting out the coins/notes for certain purchases, to get a ‘real world’ feel for what it’s like to buy stuff.
Try it at your favourite corner shop, where they might have a bit more time to allow your child to tot up ‘all those pennies’ at the till.
How far does £1 go..?
A great way of teaching your child about the value of money is to see what they can find for £1 when you’re in the supermarket together. There’ll be a surprising number of single items that you can pick up for £1 – but it will also come down to a matter of choice: ‘If we buy X, then we can’t afford Y’. And, hopefully, another lesson will be learned…
Needs and wants
When children have grasped the idea that the supply of money – at least for most of us – is finite, it’s perhaps then time to explore the idea of the value of saving with them.
Explain the difference between needs and wants; the basics, such as food, shelter and clothing, versus the ‘extras’ such as holidays, meals out and treats – and the more real-life examples you can give them from your own household budgeting, the better…
A place to save
Once children have agreed on their savings goal, they’ll need somewhere to ‘stash the cash’…
For younger ones – at least for as long as we’re still using cold, hard cash! – a piggy bank is a fun way to physically see (and feel) their savings grow, with piggy growing heavier by the week/month as they feed it more and more.
The only caveat to a piggy bank is, that unless it has a little rubber stopper or other access point, kids may eventually face the heartbreak of having to smash open their faithful little banker to get at the ‘insides’!
Older ones may benefit more from having a junior savings account set up for them – or via a school-based savings initiative; that way, they can see exactly how their savings are adding up the more they deposit towards their target goal.
And if their money attracts even a nominal amount of interest over the course of a year (if their savings plan is a ‘long-term’), then there’s another positive lesson learned about the value of saving!
One of the ways we can educate our children about money and saving is to make it an ongoing dialogue. Keep the conversation going with them, whether it’s a weekly check on how their saving is going, or even a couple of minutes daily.
And if there are corners to be cut in the household budget any time, seek (where appropriate) to involve them in the discussions…especially if it’s a straight choice between keeping the sports channel or jettisoning the children’s movies!
The bottom line…
Good financial habits aren’t formed overnight; they need dedication and perseverance. But if our children get the right advice and guidance early on, the lessons they learn at a young age should stay with them and lay the foundations for a bright financial future.
Leek United has a range of accounts designed specifically with young savers in mind – from our Humphrey Club and Pyramid Max accounts to our Junior Cash ISA and Junior Stoke City Football Club ‘Save and Support’ Account*.
To find out more visit here
*Individual account terms and conditions apply
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