When you are younger money is a magic thing, you want something so you ask your parents for it (Emmy is a prime example, pausing the TV adverts to show me another must have item to add to her very fast growing list), your parents then either say NO, buy it for you, add it to a Christmas/Birthday list or make you save your pocket money for it. You certainly don’t realise that money just doesn’t appear in Mummy’s/Daddy’s purse and it needs to be earned.
Then later as you get older you may get your first job, setting up a market stall before school or even a paper round – you’ll have your own money, your own wages and this is yours, earned by yourselves but of course at that age you don’t yet have any outgoings so you are free to spend it on sweets, magazines or the latest football shirt if you want to.
It’s only later in life when you become self-sufficient and stop relying on your parents, go to uni, move out or just start paying rent that you realise the value of money and that you probably should be more careful.
It’s a learning curve we all have to go through and as a parent of young children I know I will have to play my part in ensuring they understand this life lesson of the value of money. If you don’t have it you can’t pay for things, that magazine you are demanding will have to stay in the shops. Earlier this year I began teaching Emmy the value of money, she gets pocket money and on a Friday or over the weekend she is able to spend it, when it is gone she can’t ask for sweets/magazines/toys in the shop and has to wait until she has more pocket money. She is also saving for a special toy so she spends half her pocket money and saves the other half.
Both of my children have their own bank accounts which I top up as and when and add their Birthday/Christmas money when it arrives – they can then have access to these accounts and their money when they are 18 and spend it how they choose.
I feel that as a parent it is important to teach children about money, the cost of things and about saving as it stands them in good steed for the rest of their lives.
It’s when they are older, teenagers that worries me – they will want to go out with their friends, to the park, shops, cinema or out for lunch/dinner and of course I will need to let them do this alone as no-one wants Mum tagging along. Now letting them out with a purse full of money is always a scary thought, of course it would only be a little at a time but still in this day and age I do worry about it being stolen.
I’m currently thinking ahead that a prepaid card would be ideal for these situations as I could load it with a set amount and then they could only spend that and no more, it also means if they lost the card it wouldn’t be a huge deal as I would only preload with small amounts. Many of my friends children are teenagers or coming up to that age so it’s a discussion we have had on numerous occasions – on the one hand you want to let them take charge and be responsible however on the other hand you need to have limits set in place and know they aren’t going to head out to buy the latest top of the range trainers because their mates have them.
Thankfully I’ve a few years before letting my children loose on the world alone without me taking charge but it will happen soon.
Those of you with teenagers, how have you managed their spending/money? Do you have limits in place? Do they take cash out with them, have their own bank cards or have you chosen the prepaid card route?