As a working mum, I am always on a constant mission to pass over information to my kids. From delaying gratification around homework, to etiquette on WhatsApp, and explaining the power of adverts on YouTube, it’s all excellent fodder for educating them.
I also happen to be a firm believer that doing is the best way of learning for kids and nowhere have I found this is this to be more accurate than around money and their spending habits.
For the last month I have worked at gohenry as their Social Media Manager, but as a mum I have been using gohenry cards (a prepaid debit card and app that gives kids a safe space to learn about spending, earning and saving) for well over a year. Initially it was to stop the never-ending flow of cash from the bank of mum and dad, but in using it I realised I had missed some key lessons around budgeting, earning and saving.
This is just one of the reasons why I find the summer holidays pivotal in helping me to educate my kids about money, especially when I am facing a hefty bill for keeping them amused.
So, it’s interesting to see the new research from the National Citizen Service*, which has discovered day trips, buying video games and the extra cost of childcare during the summer will set parents back £502 over the six-week break. On top of this there’s the £335 per child on food and drinks, and for an average summer holiday, either in the UK or abroad, will set families back a further £422.61 per child.
For me, one way to combat the pester power, boredom and the constant summer expense is to get my children into an earning, saving and smart spending mindset.
- If they ask for money, I offer them the chance of earning with paid tasks, whether this is taking on a daily chore, walking the dog or less bickering for cash (always a winner for me no matter how much it costs).
- I also set up payments for chores on a daily or weekly basis so they can see how much they’ve earned by doing a task and watch their money grow.
- I try to support their entrepreneurial spirit (within reason) by getting them to come up with money earning ideas. Last year it was making cakes to sell and helping a neighbour with their garden.
- As we are going on holiday, I have set up a savings pot on their gohenry account for holiday spending, showing them that X amount a week leads to a total of Y in 28 days. You can also do this with a savings jar.
- My kids also spend an extraordinary amount of time playing games, so I try to subtly encourage Minecraft/Game of Life or anything else that offers money management lessons around earning, spending and delaying gratification.
- Another idea is to make saving a family project. The person who comes up with the best plan for saving money each week, earns extra benefits like a later bedtime or their choice of a movie.
- As for chat, we constantly discuss need, versus want because let’s face it a daily ice cream may seem like a small treat, but one ice cream, five times a week over six-week break is £120. The price of a pair of trainers, or a day out.
- Above all, and this is a hard one, I try to model good financial behaviour so that my kids can see that I am practising what I preach, even if it means not constantly buying coffees and making snap decisions on Amazon Prime. It’s a hard one but it works.