Money makes the world go round.
Money can’t buy you love.
Money doesn’t grow on trees.
We’ve heard them all before. The fact being that none of us can survive without money. I’m not a big fan of the stuff. I hate focusing on it but as an adult it’s unavoidable. Due to many, many, many, life circumstances, I’m not in the best financial position. This has no direct correlation to the level of happiness that I experience. I’m happier now than I ever was when I was earning more. That being said good money sense is something I want to instil in my children.
So how does one do such a thing? I was cautious because I didn’t want them to think in monetary terms about everything like grownups inevitably do. I do want them to be aware than things aren’t free so there’s a bit of a balancing act that needs to happen.
I’ll often have them make a choice to keep in line with my budget. The options could be something like this.
Option one: a trip to the local park (free!) and food afterwards (not free!).
Option two: a cinema trip (not free!) but we have to eat at home (more cost effective!).
This way they can see that you can’t always have it all. You need to cut your cloth to suit your measure.
One of the things that I wanted to teach them was the importance of saving money. It’s a life skill that will stand to them. We went and bought little piggy banks and painted them their own colours and this is where they save. The painting gave them real ownership over their savings and is one of the best activities I’ve ever done with them. My middle lad is like a magpie; he’ll spot silver from miles away and often finds a coin on the street. His little piggy is quite heavy.
They each have accounts in the credit union for windfalls like birthdays and Christmas. If I can’t make it down straight away ‘cause you know, morning tv has me hooked, my mother holds onto the cash so I’m not tempted to spend it. I know, I know, I’m worse than any child.
The credit union had great tips on Facebook this week for their GR8 Savers week. Its practical advice and each tip is very achievable. A good one that I read was to have a savings goal. We do that without over thinking it. The boys will want a new game for the Nintendo switch so we will save for it. This also teaches them that you should consider all purchases and not just buy on a whim. Something I am guilty of more than I’d care to admit.
Another good tip on the credit union site is to reward the kids for saving. I do this by meeting them some of the way for their targets. I know this is not something that’s going to happen for them as adults but they just need a sliver of reality not a full portion. The act of balancing is going well for now. I’m rapidly heading into the stage of pocket money and labelled clothes. Lets hope the work I’m putting in now will benefit us as a family. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to buy myself a piggy bank and take my own advice.