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Teaching kids about money

(21 Posts)
berkshirefem Tue 12-Jul-11 11:10:47

So when is a good age to start doing this? I mean in a formal sense i guess.

I give my 5 year old £2 a week pocket money and I also get her to help me when we go around the supermarket telling her about buy one get one free offers and getting her to count out money. I also tell her about how we need a certain amount of money for rent/ bills etc and how once all of that is covered we can think about the things she needs. I guess that's enough for such a little one?

I also have a step daughter in year 7. She spends slightly more time with us than she does with her mum so i feel that her dad and i are fairly responsible for teaching her about money. Her dad is great with money but her mum has a lot of credit cards and other debts. Nor does she work and relies on maintenance from my DP so i feel DSd is getting a porr example of finances from that end.

we have recently said she can have £30 pocket money a month and if she can produce a budget detailing what her outgoings are going to be each month, this amount will increase. E.g if there are friends birthdays, etc. But only up to something like, £45.

She was outraged at the budget idea and said she is far too young and we are making her grow up too quickly. her mum has backed her up on this so as the budget was a condiditon of her getting the money, we will now have to tell her she can't have it come the end of the month.

This means we will be back to square one having to just give her money ad hoc and buy her things when she wants them - again, a poor example bu tthe kid can't have nothing and never go out with her friends.

I'm confused as to what to do and would appreciate some opinions. My partner is equally confused and worried that his DD is in danger of being irresponsible with money.

Is 12 too young? should we just be giving her money ad hoc? Are we putting too much pressure on her with asking her to plan her finances for the month?

We have also listed some things around the house that she has to do, not big things, just: help clear the table, offer to wash up, make your bed, tidy the bathroom after a bath, manager your time online so that home work is done and books are read... She also thinks that this is a lot to manage as she doesnt have to do these things at her Mum's according to her. I appreciate that may or may not be true and we can't talk to her Mum to find out as she is non-communicative. I do however beleive it to be true becuase DSd just doesn't see things that need to be done, like it's second nature to her to be picked up after.

I feel that this creates inequality in the house as my 5 year old is often reminding her to put rubbish in the right bin (i.e. recycle bin or not) or to put finished toiletroll tubes in the bin/ take her plate to the kitchen etc..

I guess thatis pretty long and there are a few problems in there but any help would be greatfully received. i don't have any expereince of teenagers and the only advice I have had is from my mum who is horrified by her behaviour.

cory Tue 12-Jul-11 11:21:06

I imagine her objections may not be so much about having to plan per se as about having her every transaction scrutinised by an adult who will obviously have totally different ideas as to what is a worthwhile purchase. I only give my dd a third of what your dsd is getting- but I make it clear that it is hers to spend and I do not control this. The idea is for them to learn precisely through making foolish choices. I'd give up on this idea and just not up the money: give her whatever amount you are happy for her to have control over.

(fwiw my teen thinks I make totally foolish choices about my spending money and would love to have the control over that)

About the chores, yes she should be helping. But teenagers are often unhelpful (far more so than 5yos ime) and it won't help if you see everything she does amiss as a reflection on her mum. If she ever suspects that (and teens can be astute) it will call all her loyalty up against what you are trying to achieve. Persevere- but do not judge.

AMumInScotland Tue 12-Jul-11 11:25:37

I don't think most 12yo would be expected to produce a monthly budget - at that age its more normal to give them x amount per month (figure depends on what things you expect her to cover with it - is it sweets and magazines, does it include trips to the cinema, clothes, etc?) and then say "Tough" when they have run out at the end of the month and can;t afford something they want. Then explain how thinking about it at the start of the month might be a good idea. It's all a bit theoretical at this stage, until they have had money and run out, IYSWIM?

I wouldn't give her money ad hoc - that certainly doens't help her learn. But I think your expectations are a bit high in thinking she'll be able to plan a budget when she has no experience of it.

As to chores - your house, your rules - but if many her age just don't notice things need doing, so you may be better to start off with fewer rules till she gets the hang of those. All homework to be done on time is an obvious one. Everyone helps set up and clear the table. Put rubbish in the bin.

Offering to wash up is trickier - better to have a schedule so it's her turn on Tuesday and Thursday or whatever.

berkshirefem Tue 12-Jul-11 11:30:15

I take on board the judging Cory. and thanks for the advice.

How can i remind her to do the things we feel are what we require in our house, without undermining her mum? I have tried to explain that because her dad and i are both at work all day, we don't have the same amount of time to pick up after both of the children. But then, you are right, that comes across as a critisism.. god it's hard.

If your DD gets £10 a month you must be paying for a lot of other things 'ad hoc' for her. This is what we wanted to get away from as she seems to have no idea of What was realistic to ask for, eg. She’d not tell us that a friedns birthday was coming up in the last week of the month and she needed a present plus money to go to the cinema. We feel that to just hand that over isn’t a realistic reflection on life, as obviously you need to plan for these things and make sure you have the money for it. We felt that £30 would allow her to do this. Maybe we should explain it to her again so she understands that we don’t actually 6care^ what she spends the money on, as long as she doesn’t fritter it away on things she wants whimsically but doesn’t need, then come to us for the essentials. i.e. if there are no friends birthdays/ outings/ school discos in a month she can spend it as she pleases. But if there are then she needs to make us aware so we can give her a bit more money and she can manage this… do you think that is unreasonable?

I suppose because we know she is getting such a bad example from one side, we feel we need to work more proactively to counteract it than maybe we would for a child that was living with us all the time. Although I realise this needs to be stealthy so as not to undermine her mum.

berkshirefem Tue 12-Jul-11 11:38:16

Thx too muminscotland, I think we will set days for the washing up. I wanted to teach her to be thoughtful really more than anything as I actually don’t mind if she doesn’t wash up that often. We fortunately have a cleaner to do the main chores so if I didn’t cook and wash up I’d be redundant grin but it’s just the assumption that these things will be done for her that I don’t like. I wonder though if we’re getting her to run before she can walk.. or rather, trying to sort out the bigger picture when we need to focus on the basics.

So, £30 quid (we already pay her iphone bill) and extra £10 if there’s a birthday coming up. Stipulate that it must cover make-up and trips out with her friends, then be strong when she runs out… that’s the problem DP has – she does this little face like “daddy you can’t make me wear my old clothes to the party?” and he gives in.

cory Tue 12-Jul-11 11:56:49

berkshirefem Tue 12-Jul-11 11:30:15

"If your DD gets £10 a month you must be paying for a lot of other things 'ad hoc' for her. "

No, we're just not very well off: she has to accept that you can't go to the cinema every month and that going out for a coffee is not going to be a regular occurrence. Fortunately, her friends are not terribly well off either.

It seems as if your dsd has wealthier friends, so you may well have to adjust for that; it isn't harsh to do without if everybody else is doing without but it is harsh to be the only one.

We do pay dd's drama lessons and very basic clothing and hygiene articles; also for some school trips (but make is clear we cannot afford for her to go on them all). She has to provide extra clothing, any make-up, shopping trips, money to top up her phone etc. Now that she is 14 she gets £13/month but it was £10 in Yr 7.

Basically, she can fritter, but that will leave her stuck at the end of the month as there is no more money to be had, except for serious emergencies.

In your case, I'd let your dsd know exactly what she has and let her take the consequences. Don't get angry, don't preach, you can even be mildly sympathetic (Oh, poor you, that was awkward that you forgot, oh well you'll remember next time)- but firm.

For chores, I'd go for a set schedule- saves hassle.

AMumInScotland Tue 12-Jul-11 12:17:47

I think step 1 with the chores has to be that you set a rota and tell her to do it - that will at least start her understanding that chores exist and there are no passengers in your household. Hoping for her to be thoughtful is probably a longer-term aim, and may not happen for quite a while - teens are notoriously self-centred! Just doing her share will be enough to push for at first. I'd say don't even insist on her doing it with a good grace to start with - she's likely to whinge and sigh and roll her eyes. Just ignore - being cheerful about doing chores she's not used to will not come easy. Just doing them is step 1!

As to the money, I think you need to make sure that DP is on board with this - does he see the need for her to learn this stuff, or is it just you who thins it's a priority? If you want to get him onside, then you may need to stress the fact that you are helping her in the longer term by being firm now.

berkshirefem Tue 12-Jul-11 12:28:02

He sees it as a huge priority. I think he just needs the strength to carry through. we are in the fortunate position where we could afford to spend quite a lot on her so i think often his opinion is "we could have a big row about it or i could just shell out £30 which i won't miss" Although he is now seeing that this isn't kind, but rather cruel and that it has to change.
It was him that came up with the rules and the pocket money thing.

I think the advice about how she may do these things grudgingly is excellent. I need to bear that in mind. I think i am expecting too much, too soon, and considering she isn't having to do these things at her mum's house. How confusing for her.

I am finding it so difficult because as a child we were taught to be very respectful and gracious. For example, if someone bought us something it was good manners to stand with that person while they maid. DSD will just leave you paying at the till while she wanders off to do something else. I literally feel sick standing there paying and then handing her a bag of whatever it is she wants. This happened at the weekend with a very expensive make up brush that I wanted her to have, i think it's important once teenagers start to wear make up that they have the right equipment. But when she just went off looking at other make up while I paid i literally felt like a servant. Then i resented buying it, even though i had wanted to. If she was my DD I would have had harsh words (well, my DD wouldn't do it. I know that sounds naive when she is only 5 but I have spoken with my mum about it and she said I wouldn't have dreamed of doing that when i was a teenager)

I guess i have my work cut out for me sad

berkshirefem Tue 12-Jul-11 12:29:59

Her friends are a mix of poorer and wealthier... she likes to be the one with all the latest stuff... which isn't a great trait is it... (ashamed for not liking quite a lot about her sad)

berkshirefem Tue 12-Jul-11 12:36:34

Obviously there is a lot I do like! I am actually very fond of her.

snicker Tue 12-Jul-11 12:42:46

I don't understand why a written budget should be a condition of her getting pocket money. I think its sensible to give her a chunk of money and tell her that you will pay for whatever you are willing to pay for and she has to pay for everything else. She will run out of money and make unwise choices but that is what helps her to learn.

Its your DH caving in rather than the lack of a written budget that will lead to her being bad with money.

AMumInScotland Tue 12-Jul-11 13:00:59

It's bound to be tricky dealing with someone who has had years of being brought up in a way which is so different from how you would have gone about it - I think you have to start with things which are quite clearly defined about what you want her to do or not do - changing her attitude and overall behaviour are going to be much slower, and you may never see her change in the ways you would like. But you can insist on basic rules about behaviour and politeness - if you are firm and consistent, and develop a good relationship with her in other ways, then you should be able to get a set of rules (for you as well as her) which mke a pleasant environment.

cory Tue 12-Jul-11 13:04:00

I don't think it is going to be helpful to compare her either with what you were like (and tbh your mother's memories may not be that accurate- I know my mum's aren't) or with what you think your 5yo may be like in the future (you don't know).

Just concentrate on what you want to achieve (x chore done, agreed pocket money and no extras) and count it as a win if you get your way (washing up done etc) regardless of any sulks or eye rolls. Don't think about how you are going to turn her into a different person, just concentrate on the task in hand (this bed needs to be made). With homework, providing the school is a good one, I would be inclined to let them take up the slack and give her detention if it doesn't get done. If you trust them, that is.

holyShmoley Tue 12-Jul-11 13:43:45

one think you need to get your head around is that it is OK for different households to have different rules. You can be different to her mother without it being a criticism, but DSD does not get to pick and choose which bits of each she wants to live by. E.g. Perhaps her mother thinks you are flashing the cash and DSD is all 'in daddy's house i can have whateve i want' (or whatever).
With regards the make up brush, we were taught that hanging-on to people in the queue is discourteous to their financial privacy and to other people in the queue.

berkshirefem Tue 12-Jul-11 14:28:57

Thanks all, I suppose I'm just really struggling with having a child with me most of my free time that i have no control over hwo she is being brought up. Personally i don't think she is leaving the queue out of respect for my privacy, she just can't be arsed waiting around as paying is my job.

But short of making her behave like a completely different person in each house I don't know what to do.

I'm sure she is as confused as I am, and I know DP is. My DD is already saying how come DSS can do that and I can't? She thinks of DSD as her actual sister so it's hard to explain that even at 7 years younger, she has more expected of her.

berkshirefem Tue 12-Jul-11 14:43:46

I deviated from the point a bit didn't I! Back to the money. I will speak to DP first and then we can speak to her about the money thing tonight. The budget request isn't so much for her to get the £30 as such, it was so that she could explain to us if she would need more for the month rather than just land requests on us throughout. But also so that she could plan how she was going to spend it rather than blow it all on the first day. She used to get £30 pocket money but about 6 months ago it transpired that she was getting her mum to sub her money at various points in the month and then paying her back with the £30. She would then obviously have no money and come to us for things like going out/ make up etc.

But it seems having read through your advice that the best lesson is to give her the money and let her learn the hard way when it runs out... which is when DP has to get tough. Then maybe over time she will start to learn to budget...

cory Tue 12-Jul-11 16:37:52

I can understand how difficult this whole situation is. I think I would go for a pick-my-battles approach: toughen up about the money but go for a best-interpretation in situations that could be interpreted more than one way (the queue scenario). Clamp down on things you can easily prove are disrespectful (e.g. if she swears at you or expects you to wait on her), but ignore looks etc.

berkshirefem Tue 12-Jul-11 16:49:37

Thanks Cory, I have been thinking today (should have been working - gah, it's only Tuesday!) and i wonder if now that i have given my two pennies if I shouldn't just stand back and let DP deal with it.
It is tricky to explain to my DD why she has different expectations placed on her, and I guess this will be more so as she gets older. But I feel like I sometimes think of DSD as a project that i need to work on to bring her in line with my expectations for my own child... when she's not really my own child.

I think it would be far easier if she either lived with us full time, or we only saw her every other weekend. This half and half business is so damn confusing for everyone!

Will tell DP about the advice on here re the budget, and suggest we just give her £30 a month and tell her exactly what it is for. Then encourage him to be tough if/when that money runs out.

Then I will step back I think and concentrate on my own DD.

matana Tue 12-Jul-11 20:16:45

I think 12 is a good age to start teaching them about money, they're at senior school after all and grow up quickly once they get there. However, from experience, whatever lesson you try to teach your DSD it will be undone by her mother. The message needs to be consistent on both sides for it to work. Sadly, whilst DH and myself firmly believe in teaching our children about being responsible for their actions etc, it has been routinely undermined by his ex. Therefore, we have reached the stage where my DSD is almost 14 and declared recently she won't be getting a job to give her some extra money because she does too many after school activities to fit it in. Presumably the fact that her mother bails her out all the time has something to do with her decision too. She has all the latest technology and has never had to pay a penny towards it. I would probably just ask her to sort out her pocket money with her mum and explain that with pocket money comes responsibility you don't think she's quite ready for yet.

cat64 Tue 12-Jul-11 20:38:47

Message withdrawn

berkshirefem Wed 13-Jul-11 09:35:09

Thanks, matana we tried to say that she should just sort it through her mum when we discovered her mum was subbing her every month but the problem was that she would then be with us (she spends every saturday and every other sunday with us plus 2 or 3 week days depending on the week) her friends would be meeting in town for cinema or lunch, or she'd have a hole in her school shoe or something, and we'd have to give her money anyway. We were uncomfortable with the "bank of daddy" thing whch is why she now has pocket money again. But it seems that you're right, she isn't responsible enough.

Cat64 In my opinion my DSD has been encouraged to set her expectations way too high. She thought when her parents were married that theyw ere rich because her mum would buy her everything she wanted on a credit card (which subsequantly ate up all the equity in the house when they got divorced. So she's very used to haveing the best of everything and going out a lot. My partner and i have a good income between us and could afford to let her go to the cinema every week. But it is my feeling (and I excercise this with my own child) that just because youcan afford to buy your kids things, it doesnt mean that you should I don't think spoiling them is a good thing at all because the money may not always be there and what happens when they get to university and still want all that stuff but can't afford it... they get a credit card!!

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