...to put fun over future?

(36 Posts)
Doodledumdums Sat 25-May-13 11:11:59

DH and I don't have pots of money, but we are managing to put a little bit away each month with the intention of saving it for fun things to do with our children (currently just one DC...but hopefully more later on). I had a lovely childhood and did lots of fun things with my parents, and have a great relationship with my parents now and lots of happy memories, but my parents didn't save any money for my future, which is totally fine with me, I am an adult and as far as I am concerned they gave me a lovely childhood and I am extremely grateful. DH on the other hand had parents who saved for his future, paid for him to go to uni and gave him a deposit for a house, but he didn't do fun things as a child, and doesn't have a great relationship with his parents really (though there is no evidence that this is because of a lack of fun activities as a child to be fair!).

For DH and I, we are more keen to share happy times with our kids and spend money on them now, rather than save for their future, but is this selfish? We can't really afford to do both at the moment. My inlaws are shocked that we don't have savings accounts for our son, so have set one up themselves for him, but my parents are very much of the here and now opinion and think you should spend it while you have it and have fun.

I think it's a bit of a moral dilemma! I know money would be useful for him as an adult, but I just would love to do exciting things with him, like take him to Disneyworld, and on fun holidays and things. I'm just having a bit of a mental battle justifying it! Am I being unreasonable to put his fun before his future?

Jinty64 Sun 26-May-13 12:02:58

We haven't saved anything for our children's future and are living for today but we are also not spending our money on expensive days out or Disney holidays. We do a lot of fun things, mostly free or cheap things.

We bought a house in the catchment for our preferred schools which was more than we could comfortably afford but 14 years on has been worth the effort. We also spend on music lessons and memberships of music groups and orchestras as, I believe, this gift is priceless and hopefully something that will bring them friendships with others and joy for their entire lives.

They will need to self fund through university, if they go, although we will help all we can.

If the worst comes to the worst they can always busk.

Doodledumdums Sun 26-May-13 11:25:43

Thank you for all of your replies. It is helpful to hear what you are all doing. I think probably the best thing for me to do is save a little bit for fun and future, and hope that both pots amount to a nice amount eventually. I think as so many of you have rightly pointed out, the key is balance I guess.

I know that you don't have to spend lots to have fun, but I just would love to take my children to Disney one day, and that does cost a lot unfortunately! We will still go camping and caravaning and to the beach etc. But I guess it is a bit silly to exclusively save for this.

If only money was no object, that would be lovely!

Callofthefishwife Sun 26-May-13 10:16:19

I grew up in a positively poor family. I had £125 given to me on my 16th birthday from a savings account that had been set up from my Grandma at birth. Every time I had a pound note in a birthday card 50p would be put away and the other 50p used to treat myself on what ever I wanted at the time - usually Sindy something secondhand out of the local newspaper.

My parents simply did not have money to save for us. It was never an option.

I do have fabulous memories. We used to camp 2 sometimes 3 nights every summer. Those memories are wonderful. We were lucky enough to live close to the coast and I have fab memories of hot days at the beach eating sweaty sandy cheese sarnies and drinking warm orange squash from tupperware cups with lids. We had friends who lived by a stream and our Dads would make us rope swings over the stream. We would paddle and jump in. In spring we would look for frog spawn and catch tadpoles.

Roll on to now. Have 2 DC 12 and 14. We have saved very little towards their future again because we have not had that kind of regular money to put away. But we did use some money my Nan left us to go to Disney in Florida when they were 9 and 6. My Nan specifically said - Do something fun and memorable with it. I still think had we invested that money well it would have meant the DC would have had something but not substantial and not an amount to make going to Uni/buying a house etc a breeze. Weighing up the £££ they would get at age 18/21 and the memories of something we would never have been able to to consider - I am glad we went with the memories. 5 years on that holiday is referred to frequently and remembered fondly.

We usually camp in the UK for 2 or 3 weeks every summer. Again this is not as cheap as camping used to be but probably is one of the cheapest forms of getting away as a family. This past year my DC have really started to talk of these memories and even thank us for taking them.

Memories are precious. A childhood passes in such a short span. 10 to 12 years is all you get to make memories with your children really. It does not have to involve ££££££ at all although I admit we spend about £500 a year on a family camping holiday and one could argue that £250 each in a savings account for their future may be better.

My DC have very little savings. They will leave school the same as I did having to support themselves and we will help out as and when we can. I do sometimes worry. Especially when I speak to come people who are putting away £100 plus every month for 18 years but then these people dont seem to be in the either or camp. They seem to lead a relatively charmed life with several foreign holidays a year, new cars and live in big houses and still have money to spare. It will be hard for my DC to go to Uni (if they go) with people who have everything heavily subsidised but then life is like that - some kids never go on holiday or have days out when their school friends do.

In an ideal world my DC would have a good savings pot but even if we had not camped most summers of their childhood and gone against my nanas wishes and invested her money instead of going to Florida - yes they would have a pot of money but nothing substantial enough to make a big difference to their lives and significantly make uni living alot easier (if they go) and certainly not enough for a house deposit by todays standards.

I think its about balance. We have saved when we can - but its a drop in the ocean and very little, we could have saved more by not having annual camping holidays, but we chose to strike a balance.

RubySparks Sun 26-May-13 09:43:32

Good point Munchkin - because you have 18 years to put money aside for children it really does mount up quickly even when just a small amount. Money is good because it gives you options and that is probably the best thing you can give your children. Also agree fun doesn't have to cost a lot.

DoubleMum Sun 26-May-13 08:46:49

Well, we were lucky enough that we could do nice things as well as save, until DH lost his job and we had to break into their university fund just to survive. Things don't always work out the way you plan. But I agree, time spent with you doing stuff doesn't necessarily have to cost money, you can create memories without spending much.

cozietoesie Sun 26-May-13 08:30:50

I think that my best memories of time with my parents are simply that - time with them. It might have been baking or gardening or DIY as well as going out to see things (usually cheaply) but it was the fact that they included us in things and set time aside to be with us that has left the memories.

I'd put money aside if you don't need it at the moment (and who knows when the family might require it in the future) but not get too hung up on attending 'events'. Just do things with them.

QueVes Sun 26-May-13 08:13:58

The two options are not mutually exclusive.

munchkinmaster Sun 26-May-13 08:09:13

I think the thing about saving for kids is that you do it over such a long period even a little adds up. If you and DH both put in say £7.50 a week that's £750 odd a year. So with interest £15k plus by 18. Imagine if you could say £10 each, that's going to be closer to £20k.

I save a bit each month and put all the fivers random aunties give baby into the bank. It really mounts up.

I think the difference between you and dh's childhood is about the parents attitude, not the cash. I think it's possible to have fun and save.

FantasticMax Sun 26-May-13 08:07:05

I would personally rather save for my DC's future. Fun things don't have to cost the earth. After all, you have presumably benefited from the help the help your inlaws gave to DH? House deposit, helping out with uni education meant he didn't have huge student loans to pay back, etc?

superbagpuss Sun 26-May-13 08:05:39

me and dh are savers
me because my parents had no money and I didn't like growing up in that live for today atmosphere. so I funded my a levels and uni and further training and now earn enough to support my family so dh can be a sahd.

dh because his parents didn't earn much and they taught him the value of money and what savings can achieve.

we save for our DC future so they will have help when they are older, the help we never had

we will also give them lots of fun, inc cheap/ free stuff and a trip to Disney world when they are older - mainly because I have always wanted to gogrin

but we can do this because we saved before we had DC and we make sensible plans now, never living outside our means

It's not what I would do. My parents saved for me since I was a child and I was able to buy my first property at 22. I have a good job but even so, saving a deposit for a flat/house is very difficult and means a lot of first time buyers are in their 30s and beyond. I'd rather do that for my children than take them on expensive holidays.

Kids don't always appreciate the money spent. My nephew complains that he always has to get on a plane to go on holiday and he'd rather go to a caravan like his mates!

CalicoRose Sun 26-May-13 07:46:25

I certainly wouldn't save for a mythical future.

Your DC may or may not want to go to university but if they do they can finance it then. Between loans, what they can earn, and what you can afford.

And it makes no sense at all to save for a house deposit for them unless your own home is mortgage free and you have loads of spare cash.

Who knows where they'll want to live, if theyll want to buy a house, how much it'll cost, how much they'll earn..

It is fine to spend your savings on a trip to Disney land rather than keep it for later.

The way I provide for my kids future is to make sure they get the skills and qualifications and mindset they'll need to get a reasonable job.

It's up to them to do the rest. Because its their life..

oldendaysending Sun 26-May-13 07:42:29

I save. We still do 'fun' family things, they just don't feature going abroad or similar. When children are small they get excited about small things. My DCs are only 2, though.

ithaka Sun 26-May-13 07:33:04

I don't think either option is 'wrong'. It is all about providing a loving, supportive framework for your children, in a way that is right for your family.

DH & I are 'live for today' types, so that works for us. My family were the same as us, but My DH's dad was completely different in outlook. However, we still all loved him dearly (he sadly died a few years ago)and he never judged our more 'relaxed' approach to money.

So I would say it is how you are, not what you spend - do what feels right and don't judge others generally works for most things.

sweetsummerlove Sun 26-May-13 07:27:07

at the moment, we do what free things we can but do enjoy trips and days out. We only put £40 aside into dd savings. Its a small amount, but will pay for her driving lessons and a car by the time shes 18 and that I feel, will set her up for life. Once she's on thr road she can cast her net wide to find work ultimately earning and saving for herself. perhaps it is because I did not come from a comfortable financial background, but although it is extremely generous of parents who do, saving for your child's house deposit? Surely we should be setting them up with the skills to save, pay, survive themselves? Right now dd is enjoying a comfortable life. OH and I work our bums off for it. Hopefully long term she'll see the value of working hard and have a good work ethic herself.

It is very important to me that she has a wonderful childhood. .but id be a bit guttedif her fav memories revolved around the expensive stuff. I didn't have a wonderful childhood but DP did, his favourite memories are is his dad making him a go cart from mdf..playing football at the park..visiting the animals at the pet store. ..and spending time with his family on holidays. but always in that order and holds memories of holidays in caravans and in malta etc just as fondly as each other.

Lazyjaney Sat 25-May-13 23:50:33

Kids will have as much fun running along a beach as going to Disneyland, what you need to give them is love, not money.

Doodledumdums Sat 25-May-13 22:29:25

Yes I guess you are right thebody- it is my choice and not up to anyone else

Um..so don't ask then? Pobble, I feel this was slightly taken out of context! I followed it by saying that I care what other people think, so that is why I am asking! Sorry if I came across as defensive, I was just answering thebody when she said that it is nothing to do with my PIL's. I am just asking because I want to know what other people think about my plans, and whether they are selfish.

I know that there are fun free things that I can do with my children, and I will do these,and create lots of memories that way, but I just wanted to be able to do a few big exciting things, like Disneyworld, but it's just that at the moment, this would be at the expense of saving for his future. I know it is unnecessary, but I went as a child, and just want to be able to take my children too if possible. We can currently afford to save about £40 a month, which I guess won't really go far towards either things, so it's probably not worth worrying about really!

HeySoulSister- that is a good point, the way things are going, further education and housing will be affordable only by the super rich. It is a worry.

I guess the ideal solution is to save half for fun and half for future, maybe if I make wise investments, then this will pay off and i'll make lots of money...you never know?!

Viviennemary Sat 25-May-13 11:36:56

I think there has to be a balance. And unless you are quite well-off I don't see the point of scrimping so your children can have a bit of money when they are eighteen. If you can afford to save a substantial amount that's different. But a small amount won't make any difference at all. That's my opinion.

HeySoulSister Sat 25-May-13 11:33:10

young people will need more support than we ever did i'm sure. further education and housing are the 2 biggest issues that I can see.

SueDoku Sat 25-May-13 11:32:11

P.S. 'Fun' doesn't equate with 'spending money' - paddling in the sea, visiting museums, having a picnic etc are fun without costing much... grin

TheBookofRuth Sat 25-May-13 11:30:01

My mum was a single parent who didn't have a lot of money, but she spent what she did have on holidays and indulgent Christmases and birthdays. All very nice.

However, as I was later forced to drop out of uni because I could do longer juggle the two jobs I needed to survive financially with the demands of the course, I think I would rather she had the forethought to put some of the money she spent on spoiling me as a kid aside so that she would have been able to support me as a young adult.

SueDoku Sat 25-May-13 11:29:56

Give them memories to treasure..! Looking back on a fun childhood is wonderful (whether from the perspective of a child or a parent) and will lay the foundations for a happy life. Of course, if you can manage to save a pound or two now and again (I'm not talking about huge amounts - a fiver here and there soon adds up) then that shows them that it's possible to live a balanced life..! smile

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sat 25-May-13 11:27:46

Yes I guess you are right thebody- it is my choice and not up to anyone else

Um..so don't ask then?

When your kids are older they won't remember whether you've spent £100+ going to Disneyland or nothing going to the beach.

My fondest memories are going on holiday to the seaside with my parents and grandparents and my Grandad digging boats in the sand. Priceless, and free.

Oh, and please don't think that wanting money ever stops (according to my Mum).

HeySoulSister Sat 25-May-13 11:26:56

I grew up in the 70's.....lots of happy memories with my parents. not one features crafts/theme parks etc

ByTheWishingWell Sat 25-May-13 11:25:30

I would go for both- split whatever money you are able to save equally between fun and the future. Fun activities don't have to be very expensive things like going to Disneyworld- I have loads of happy memories from being a child that did not cost heaps, such as going horseriding on the hills, going to the science museum, going to the beach, etc.

However, it is totally up to you, and no business of your PIL.

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