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I want this... I want that

Content supplied by Barclays

Ice creamAs parents, we can't pretend we don't glance at a friend's new skirt or nippy car, and wish we had the same. But oh, lifestyle envy starts early! Anyone with children will have heard the mantras, 'Can I have this? or 'I want that...' or 'But X has one', and felt their hearts sink.

How do you teach young ones that money isn't the most important thing in life, while getting across the idea that the Darth Vader costume they're so desperate for doesn't come for free? We asked Professor Karen Pine for her tips.

1. Help them get saving savvy

"Encourage kids to save from an early age, even if it's just putting pennies in a jar to go towards a special treat. Studies show that the better toddlers are at delaying gratification, the more adept they will be at handling money as adults. A save-spend-share system is a lovely way to build your kids' financial literacy skills. By putting money into these categories (there's a three-sectioned money box called the Moonjar for just this purpose; £17.95 from Cocoboat, you'll teach children that money isn't just for spending, it can grow and even help others, too)."

2. Agree a weekly payday

"Give pocket money from around the age of five or six. It should be a fixed amount on a set day, with no strings attached - and no handouts in between. This helps children to understand the finite nature of money - we all need to learn that money has to last until next payday and that when it's gone, there's no more."

3. Don't use money as a bribe

"Beware of paying (or bribing) kids to do chores. They should help with washing up, room tidying, bin emptying, etc, as their contribution to the household. If you give them money for doing jobs you'd like them to do anyway, it sends the wrong message. It's important for kids to discover the satisfaction of doing a job well for its own sake, and that cash isn't all that keeps a household running. You can still them let them 'earn' extra money by doing additional jobs such as gardening or cleaning the car."

4. Keep to a budget

"Make your kids aware that the household has to run on a budget, and you all have to keep within it and prune it when necessary. Let younger kids hunt out the best-value buys in the supermarket. Give older ones the holiday budget limit, plus a list of everyone's requirements, and let them shop around to see if they can find the best deal. This teaches them that research pays and all purchases are to be taken seriously."



5. Make allowances

"Give older kids (age 12 and above) an allowance. I found giving them the child benefit worked well. They had to buy everything they needed from this, apart from school uniform, shoes and a good winter coat, which I'd buy. It's amazing how those expensive trainers (that everyone else had and without which they could never show their face to their mates again) suddenly become less of a priority when they were buying. From the age of 14, kids can also work part-time, and should be encouraged to do so. Suggest they open a bank account to put their earnings in, so they learn the ins and outs of debit and credit cards while you're still on hand to help them manage their money. It will pay dividends when they go off to college or start working full time."

For information on children's bank accounts from Barclays, take a look at BarclayPlus

Head to
Barclays on Mumsnet for lots more:

  • Expert information on starting your own business
  • Family budgeting and saving tips
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© Cocoboat 2011. Sourced June 2011. Source

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Last updated: over 3 years ago