My three children are not totally spoilt, but they don’t think it’s a big deal to buy a replacement this or a new that. Over the course of the summer holidays we must have spent in excess of £100 on ice creams alone and I doubt it was considered a major treat. We go on loads of excursions and the costs do mount up. They have great fun, but don’t yet fully appreciate the outlay. But they’re young and it’s probably difficult to grasp. However, I don’t think it’s ever too early to get children used to the concept of money and more importantly, its value.
My eldest daughter, aged seven, doesn’t get regular pocket money yet. She gets plenty of money from family on birthdays, at Christmas and for holidays. She also gets paid for doing chores on an ad hoc basis. She loves spending and is generous with her money. If she wants something and I say no, her answer is to pay for it herself. It’s great that she is happy to pay for things for herself (and others), but it suggests she doesn’t truly understand the value of money. The fact that she turned up to her school Christmas fair with £50 in her purse (I was mortified) highlights this. I’ve really been trying to curb this type of behaviour.
365-day Penny Challenge
At the start of the year, I saw on social media about the 365-day penny challenge. If you haven’t seen it, it’s very simple: You save money every day going up in increments of 1p each day. So you start at 1p on day one and then 2p on day two, 3p on day three… You get the idea.
It gets off to a real slow start; by day 10 we still only had 55p in there. We’re now on day 54 and it’s accelerated quite a bit already – £3.92 will be going in this week. By the last week of the challenge we’ll have to find £25.41 to put away. That’s a lot, but we’re getting used to the concept of saving, so in a sense it gets easier.
We have set up a side pot where we collect any loose change to help us out when we get to the latter, more difficult stages. My husband has a habit of dumping the coins in his pocket on the kitchen counter as soon as he gets home. The girls and I swoop down and collect them for the side pot – and it’s building up nicely!
It has been brilliant for my eldest daughter’s maths as she calculates what needs to be put in and what the running total is. She is learning first hand how pennies make pounds. My younger two, at four-years-old, simply enjoy counting up the coins that we are putting in each day. We also have discussions about what you could buy with x amount of pennies and pounds. Today we even visited the bank to get some coin bags so that we can change up some of the lower denominations in our collection. They had great fun bagging up lots of pennies.
If we complete the challenge, we’ll have £671.61. That will be amazing! I definitely think they’ll appreciate the hard work that went into collecting it and have a better handle on how much it is worth. Hopefully they’ll also learn about being patient…