Recently, I signed up to a new, unique online piggy bank for kids called Qwiddle, designed to help children develop healthy money skills in the digital environment they are growing up in.This week, Qwiddle founder and financial expert – Vanessa Cameron shares a few budgeting and saving tips to help prevent the summer holidays from becoming a financial drain and help your summer get off to the right start. Here is what she had to say:
As a mum of three, I understand what an expensive time the summer can be- you’re faced with 6 weeks (which feels like a lifetime) during which you need to somehow keep your children constantly entertained. The list of ‘I wants’, ‘I needs’ and ‘can I’s’ can become exhausting and rattling very quickly, not to mention expensive. One way of dealing with this is to turn it around by giving your children a little independence with money so they can begin to learn about budgeting, prioritising and saving.
Here’s some ideas as to how you can use the summer break as an opportunity to help your children understand some important money lessons and create a little financial independence for them (and hopefully a little peace for yourself!).
Even though your children are on holiday, they will be spending lots of time at home so there’s a great opportunity to get them to help out with some jobs around the house. Using chores to help them generate a bit of much needed extra pocket money will begin to help them understand that money can be earned, it will also give them an all important activity which can fill a few hours.
Sunny weather can make a lot of jobs more fun so why not get your kids out in the garden? They can help you with any stray weeds or with hanging out the washing. Car cleaning can also be a popular choice (although my car often ends up more dirty than it started!) that said, if they’re out in the fresh air, they’ll want an early night, which is always a bonus for you.
Another great tip can be suggesting to your kids that they put some of their weekly pocket money aside ahead of the holidays. Explain that the more they save now, the more they will have on holiday to spend on fun activities. They might be able to afford that fun inflatable they wanted last year, along with the snorkel and mask as well as unlimited ice creams. Why not set them a saving’s target? That way they have a goal to work towards.
As most parents learn very quickly lots of the ‘fun’ activities your children want to do don’t come free, meaning that a day trip can cost a small fortune for a family. Help avoid conflicts over this by coming up with a list of free activities and day’s out. You’ll be surprised at how many there are out there! If they ask, simply explain that by enjoying some less costly activities means there’s more left in the pot for other treats.
If you have slightly older children the summer can be the perfect time for them to get their first job. Explain just how much money they could save up if they work so many days every week, and what this could mean long term. They’ll also see the benefits of being rewarded for hard work when they’ve managed to save up for the latest, flashiest gadget that they can show off to their friends.
When it comes to budgeting, it’s crucial that children know money needs to last so that they won’t be left struggling. At home or abroad, it’s important that children are given pocket money at the start of the week. Let them know that what they are given now needs to last for the week to pay for ice creams, drinks and postcards. This is a fantastic way to instil good money management and build the foundations of financial independence and responsibility which will stand them in good stead as young adults.
Children also need to know that a big part of money management is making choices. Nobody can have everything that they want and sometimes everybody will have to make sacrifices to achieve bigger financial goals. When your child decides they want their third ice-cream of the day, gently remind them about the other things they are saving for and ask what they would prefer in the long run. Once children understand that instant gratification only lasts so long, they’re less likely to squander their cash on smaller, unnecessary items.
Qwiddle offers the opportunity for children to set goals for things they really want and with their parents they can create tasks which can help them save towards those goals. Visit www.qwiddle.co.uk for more information.