And save she did...

kids-and-money-claratiiWhen an item is longed for, saved for, and finally purchased, the value of that item to a child is immense

Recently my daughter had her heart set on buying a horse lego set. She had spied it in a shop and was crestfallen at the asking price of $100. Within hours she had googled the lego set and compared prices across different outlets around our city. Her excitement built when she found it at one store for $79. Some quick calculations and she worked out her savings. The next step was: how to save $79 quickly?

We have a rule in our house, one I’ve borrowed from my parents, that if they aim to save for an item, we will meet them halfway. So if she saves $40 we will put in the other $40. Now savings in our house is based on doing extra jobs that are not part of everyday living eg. $5 for washing the car, yes, we pay low. Quickly her maths calculations were done, 8 car washes equals the money saved.

And save she did, bit by bit eagerly asking to wash our cars each weekend and then came the exciting day of purchase. I couldn’t help but admire the dedication she showed, the research, the goal setting, the process of breaking it down into steps and the pride of a job well done. Learning about money is yet another one of the life skills that parents need to teach their children. You need to learn about your own style of managing money or spending money first. As a parent you need to work out exactly what it is you wish to teach your child and then design your own monetary system, saving system to do just that. We live in a world of borrow and pay later – you know the 48 months interest free, not particularly a monetary style I want to encourage in my children. There is great value I believe in teaching your child to save, have a goal and buy once the money is saved.

Other great lessons that kids should have about money? You need to work for money. It is not just given. (Parents may just give, but the world will not just give to you) You need to save. There is saving to reach a goal and buy and there is saving for the sake of saving – compound interest. One final lesson worth considering is when an item is longed for, saved for, and finally purchased, the value of that item to a child is immense. It will not be quickly discarded or unappreciated. If they make a mistake with their choice of purchase a lesson will certainly be learned. Now compare this to if you bought them an item they asked for on a whim, how different would the attitude and appreciation be?

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