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Pocket money for kids: Spending as well as saving is good

Pocket money for kids: Spending is good too!
Pocket money for kids: Spending is good too!

Save, save and save some more. Isn’t that what pocket money for kids is meant to be all about, teaching them the importance of saving? Wrong.

According to Dr Elizabeth Kilbey, the resident expert on the All New House of Tiny Tearaways, its actually about the whole process, so spending it is just as important, and parents would do well to remember that and “let go” so that they allow their children to experience the joy of spending their money, as well as saving it.

Why is spending important?

But surely we should be stopping our kids from buying yet more of those tatty pink, glass bracelet thingies, or those rather annoying, but ever popular, collectibles, including the latest “unbelieveably cute animal in my pocket” or whatever the latest craze is? Again, not necessarily.

If your child is demonstrating that they are able to save money for a period, then perhaps we parents should back off in our control-freakiness, and actually let them spend that money on the latest craze to sweep the nation. Only then will they realise that sometimes its better not to waste money on the plastic tat, and buy the nice silver jewellery instead a few months later. That won’t break, you see?

Learning through mistakes

Our kids learn, and they make their mistakes through their experiences, and why should pocket money be any different?

In fact, thinking about it, haven’t all of us adults learnt rather well from our mistakes with money? Remember that new gadget that you wanted to buy for aerating the lawn; that it was rubbish and broke after a week…well…there you go…

Chatterbox recently used her £1.00 a week pocket money to buy some rather cheep dress up bits and bobs. The tiara broke after a day. The next time we saw something like that, she said:

“Mummy, I’m not going to buy that, its probably going to break because its a bit cheap.”

And you know what, she was right; she had learnt from the last time. Mummy’s strained expression when she let her buy that last piece of tat was all worth it in the end…I think.

Why a balance is important

There is pleasure in the saving, of course, but the joy in spending shouldn’t be missed out on. Dr Kilbey quite rightly points out that this is really “hoarding” and not actually saving at all. Saving implies you have an aim; for example, my little girl wants to buy herself some Sylvanian Family toys. She has a goal, and there is a pleasure in reaching that goal, and then undoubtedly adding those loveable mice to the clutter in her bedroom. This is also a great way for her to begin to learn about money management too.

After the great high of spending, there is the lesson that you need to start all over again for the next big thing…perhaps a nice new top for mummy, yeah? No, the merekat family? Ah well…

For more top tips on pocket money, do pop on to YouTube and see the Britmums chat with Dr. Kilbey (representing which I had the pleasure of taking part in too. Some excellent advice and discussion on there. Nice to know its not just me that finds pocket money a bit of a minefield.

What are your top tips around pocket money for kids?

How to teach children about pocket money

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Helen is a mum to two, social media consultant, and website editor; and this site is (we think) the only Social Enterprise parenting magazine! Since giving up being a business analyst when juggling travel, work and kids proved too complicated, she founded KiddyCharts so she could be with her kids, and use those grey cells at the same time. KiddyCharts has reach of over 1.1million across social and the site. The blog works with big family brands (including travel) to help promote their services, as well as offering free resources to parents of kids under 10. It gives 51%+ profits to Reverence for Life, who fund a number of important initiatives in Africa, including bringing running water and basic equipment to a school in Tanzania. Helen has worked as a digital marketing consultant (IDM qualified) with various organisations, including Channel Mum, Truprint, Talk to Mums, and Micro Scooters. She loves to be creative in the brand campaigns she works on. Get in touch TODAY!

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Rodney C. Davis

Tuesday 18th of December 2012

So this hangout covers pocket-money. I'm assuming that pocket-money is only a part of their allowance. My concern is about how to get them to budget in such a way that a small part of that allowance is put aside in an account for long-term use. what are your thoughts?


Tuesday 18th of December 2012

Hi there, Rodney. My kids are only 5 an 7 so don't get anything other than pocket money. When they reach an age when they might get an "allowance" as it were, I suspect that I shall ask them to do specific chores so they can earn that allowance for more longer term use. Pocket money is something I had only envisaged would be given for a few years. Beyond this, when they are of an age to get a Saturday job, I would encourage them to do that too, as my parents did me. I think that its important that children learn that money is something to work for from an early age. My expectation, hopefully correctly, that the pocket money they have had from a younger age will stand them in good stead when they reach 14/15 so that they understand about budgeting for a longer term goal. Baby steps now to help with the more "adult" steps in a few years time.


Tuesday 18th of December 2012

Great advice in here Helen, pocket money is a mindfield, hoew much, in return for what, how much to save and how much to spend, at the end of the day with all these things it is about getting a healthy balance.


Tuesday 18th of December 2012

Cheers, love. And you're right, balance is the key. So hard to work it all out; my daughter bought a cheap craft kit yesterday, and I had to back off from telling her not to get it, so at least I am learning! ;-)

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