Many of us had a piggy bank or a personalised money box of some sort growing up and for me, one of the best moments related to it was actually smashing it open after a long period of saving and feeling proud of the spilled wealth that could buy me something I was really crazy about at the time.
It's not just a kids' thing though as we grow up and dive into "grown-up" things like savings accounts and ISAs.
I was a big saver until I went to uni but as most students, I didn't really have any disposable income I could allocate to the saving habit I grew up with. In fact most of my 20s were about spending and it was parenthood that gave me a nudge and got me back on saving.
As most parents, I'm now looking to instil a healthy saving attitude in my own child and encourage him to save up and add his pennies into his piggy bank. If, like me, you've read up on good parenting techniques about teaching kids money you've probably come across many of the pros and cons of paying for chores (spoiler alert, it's a marmite topic). How about we try to have the best of both worlds and do things a bit different?
Here's some stuff I'm using to hopefully educate my family towards a healthy relationship with money.
- Things children should do as contribution to the family
Dirty clothes in the laundry bin, dirty plates in the sink, shoes on the shoe rack - you get the idea. These are things I will never pay my son to do as I think they're basic skills one should have in today's society, regardless of gender or wealth.
- Chores you can pay for
This is where I try to keep it fun and give my son a chance to earn some coins which he then saves in his money box. These are ad-hoc tasks and he gets a small coin every time he helps. Now, the fun part is telling him that if he doesn't break his piggy bank before a particular day (ie his birthday) I will double whatever amount he manages to save. As young kids don't really understand the concept of money I show him what he could buy for his current amount and what he'd be able to buy with my contribution if he waited a bit longer. I find it that if you talk in toys and use visuals kids tend to be more convinced about saving.
The things I "pay" my 3 year old to do like help me give our dog a bath or make a shopping list and check we bought everything are basically my way of trying to make him feel responsibility and ownership. He feels very important and trusted and I hope that will give him confidence in himself growing up.
My son gets £1 per week which he donates to his nursery. He knows it's his money but he also knows that the donation box is technically a nursery piggy bank which allows the whole group to enjoy fun activities like picnics and Santa visits.