I went out for afternoon tea for a friends birthday at the weekend and the subject of our children came up (as it always does) and with one friend having a daughter going off to university this year, a few of us flinched at the cost of higher education. With the youngest children of the group, my other friend and I debated whether we should start saving now for the university funds ....... it gives me 10 years to save but will that be enough?
Saving money has always been a focus of the Lilypad family but none moreso than during the last year as we have been saving for the wedding (I *may* have mentioned we are getting married), so certain things have been sacrificed in the quest to ensure we do not go into debt for a wedding. It is a lesson that I hope we share with the girls.
The littlest one is almost three, which is a good time to start developing an understanding of money and saving. She can happily count to 14 now (and 20 on a good day), so she can count how many pennies go into her piggy bank.
My eldest daughter is another story .....
She is acutely aware of how much things cost and birthdays are no longer filled with gorgeous dolls and jigsaws, all she wants these days is money. I think if she is honest, she is a little disappointed if someone brings a beautifully wrapped gift, not because she is ungrateful but because she likes the freedom to spend on what she chooses. It is funny how her spending habits have changed since she has her own money to spend, once upon a time she would have asked for everything in the shop whereas now she checks her purse and carefully checks the prices of the things that spike her interest.
She doesn't get to spend all her birthday money though (much to her dismay) as I opened a savings account for her when she was very little, so some is for spending and some is for saving. She might moan now but when she is older, I hope that there may be enough in that account to buy her a little car *fingers crossed*.
I read an article recently that suggested creating three jars – each labeled “Saving,” “Spending” or “Sharing.” So that every time your child receives money, whether for doing jobs or from a birthday / Christmas, divide the money equally among the jars. Then they can use the spending jar for small purchases, like sweets or stickers. Money in the sharing jar can go to someone you know who needs it or be used to donate to a friend’s cause. The saving jar is the one that gets put into the bank account.
I have always got a buzz from shopping and it seems my eldest daughter has inherited the same thrill of buying things although as I have got older, I appreciate that living for today is great but you do have to think about the future and more importantly, the childrens future. Life lessons aren't always the easiest to teach but hopefully making it part of every day life will make it a part of their decisions every day thereafter.
Disclaimer : This post is in association with Santander but all savings experiences and shopping habits are our own!