Living in a world where everything we desire can be ours with just a few clicks of a button, can be both thrilling and terrifying! We get the thrill of having so much to choose from at such great prices, but we also have the terrifying thought of having to pay for it all.
In this ‘have it now’ culture where people have become so accustomed to using credit to get the items that they want instantly, I do worry that many people lose out on the feeling of joy and satisfaction that can be had when you save up the money to buy these items instead.
I really don’t want my kids to fall into the same trap, and this is why I’m trying hard to teach my kids the joy of saving up their pocket money to buy the things that they want.
Helping Kids to Understand Money Management
Now, I know that it can actually be a good thing to have a credit card where you pay the balance off each month, in order to give yourself a good credit score. This is the kind of thing that can be helpful when applying for something as important as a mortgage, or even to finance a car, because it tells potential lenders that you are a reliable person who has a good history of paying back any debt that you have. Personally, though, I still have a major fear of taking on debt. Maybe you do too?
You may be wondering why I am blabbering on about all of this, and I suppose the answer is that I am a mother. I have two boys that are aged 6 and 4 and I worry about them. I worry about them right now as my little boys, and I worry about their future and how they are going to manage in the big wide world when they are men. I don’t want them to be sucked into the way of thinking that is so prevalent nowadays, that we should have whatever we want whenever we want it, no matter whether we can afford it or not.
Instead, I would like to think that they will be sensible men, men who will think about the consequences of every decision that they make. Obviously, I don’t mean that they need to think deeply about silly things like what they will have for lunch, or whether they may hurt themselves if they go ice skating. But I do want them to take the important things – like their own personal finances – seriously. So, with this in mind, my husband and I have decided to start teaching them about the art of saving up for something that they really want.
Teaching Kids to Save
Isaac, my eldest, has been asking for his own junior guitar for ages! He loves it when his dad plays the guitar, and so he really wants one of his own. As parents, we naturally want to give our children the best that we can give, but we also don’t want to teach our boys that they will always be given whatever they want. Life just doesn’t work like that and I personally feel that it is important that our children are aware of this before they become adults, so that they don’t feel that the whole world is just going to be handed to them on a plate. With this in mind, we told Isaac that if he wants a guitar that much, then he can save up his own pocket money for one.
To my surprise, he was really excited by the thought of buying a guitar with his own money and once his brother Malachi found out what he was doing, he also decided that he would save up for a guitar. They already had about £10 each in their money boxes, which was very handy because it is taking quite a while to save up. They can earn £1 a week each if they complete their reward charts, so as you can imagine it is quite a slow process. However, so far they have now earned £24 each! They have nearly reached their goal and they can’t wait to get their guitars.
I know that this is a really little thing in the grand scheme of things but to a 6 and 4 year old, I think it is quite a big deal. I want them to feel the satisfaction of saving up for something that they really want and cherishing it. Hopefully, if we carry on teaching them to save for things as little boys, it might just become second nature to them when they are grown men.
What financial lessons do you think are important to prepare kids for adulthood?