Thursday, 17 May 2018

The Benefits of Pocket Money - Little Minds, Tough Decisions

The Benefits of Pocket Money for Children
There is a lot of debate about whether or not pocket money is appropriate for children and from what age. Another question raised is how much to give. I did a little Googling, in the way of research, and found that in 2016 Netmums set the figure at £6.55, The Sun suggested £5 was average in 2017 and earlier this year HuffPost produced an article which quoted a figure of £11.20 for 2018. This would suggest children's annual pay increases are far more impressive than their parents, but do they really need pocket money, or is it just another expense for parents? After handing out fivers for quite a few years, this is my experience of the benefits of pocket money. 

After consulting my friends and page-followers on Facebook and Twitter, it turns out that people have very different attitudes to pocket money. There is no set amount and many prefer to buy the odd treat and not give money at all. Children are obviously very different and there is no one-size-fits-all, even within families. I know this to be true, because my two children were completely different as youngsters. They are ten years apart, and times change fairly quickly, so perhaps it's not fair to compare them in this way, but their attitudes towards money have always been very different. My daughter started receiving pocket money at the age of around nine but she rarely spent anything. She had a savings account and after two years, she bought her first computer. After that, she saved again and bought a flat screen TV with a built in DVD player. She just never seemed to want much in the way of day to day treats, she preferred to watch her money grow. Fast forward 10 years or so and my son is a very different story, he loves rummaging in shops and tends to 'need' things fairly regularly. Which is probably a more common way for children to be, particularly before they start to understand the value of money. 

Piles of coins with a pink piggy bank in the background.

It was our motivation for introducing pocket money, because we felt there needed to be a cut off point to his weekly demands.We didn't really feel he had a full understanding of the value of money, in terms of us having to earn it and not having an unlimited supply, and there's really no reason why he should, but it is an important lesson to learn. So, we started giving him £5 a week, on a Saturday, on the understanding that he put his washing away each week. This aspect was something I thought about for a long time. I'm not actually a fan of employing my children, I feel they should contribute to the household jobs, as they are part of the household, and I don't get paid for doing housework! Equally, though, I wanted him to learn some responsibility, so I only give him pocket money if he takes care of a task that is personal to him. I see it as more of a reward for being responsible for himself. The reward/bribery ethic we sometimes employ as parents can be a contentious subject, but a little incentive goes a long way and I hope it will build good habits for when he is an adult. Unless he still asks for a fiver each time he completes a chore, in which case it will be a spectacular backfire and I will be in big trouble with whoever he eventually lives with.

A little clock, a yellow stick figure toy and piles of coins.

The most important aspect for us, as parents was to help our children understand that we can't always have everything we want. Children often have this idea that once they are adults, they can buy whatever they like because there is no one there to stop them, but we know this isn't very often true, unless they turn out to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Justin Bieber (please no). It has been really interesting to see the difference in spending since he has been using 'his' money. Now, whenever he wants to buy something, he really thinks about how much he wants it, and if it's good value. It's brilliant. Sometimes he asks me for something and I remind him that he has his own money and suddenly, he doesn't want it that much after all. In terms of saving us money, it's been really useful! The best example of this was recently, when he saw a really cool 'skin' on Fortnite. He had a decision to make. A skin is just a costume that his character can wear in a computer game, so it has no physical value, but there was a chance his friends would get it and he would feel left out. But, it was £20, which anyone can see is crazy money to spend on something in a game. So he had a long think and, although it was clearly tough for him, he made the right decision and didn't buy it. I was so proud of him and this is why I am an advocate for the value of pocket money, it is never too early to put a price on saving.



pinkoddy said...

I have to admit my children do not have pocket money and it seems to be working well (our 21 year old is at uni and has saved money!). But yes I was given it really young because I just didn't see the value of money. I remember being sat down and explained all about the different bills you have to pay etc too.

Jon said...

Great post this. I remember I used to get jealous of my sister who got £10 a month while I got £5 grrrr

Laura - Dear Bear and Beany said...

We haven’t got to this stage yet and I’m not too sure when a good age is to introduce it. A few more years I think!

Kara Guppy said...

We start giving pocket money in the form of an allowance at the age of 11 (when they start secondary school) - it is great for teaching the kids how to budget

Stella Olojola said...

I think I will give my kids pocket money when they are older. Not sure how that would work yet though.

Scrapbook Adventures said...

I think £5 is more than enough - enough for a comic and some sweets - what more do kids want?!

Alex BetterTogether said...

We don't do pocket money - I know a lot of people give it for their kids to do chores but I see those as part of our responsibility to look after each other as a family. Every month I transfer money into her savings account and every now and then she'll ask how much the balance is which I prefer :)

Kira said...

Really good post . Pocket money gives them a sense of earning and saving . Great idea :)

Nazrin said...

I wassn't given pocket money growing up as a child and neither were any of my siblings. I then got given £50 a month when I entered college and at University I had full control over my finances. Since then I have learnt the value of money!

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