Teach your kids to save money

Growing up, my mother and father had a beer bottle that they would put their loose change into.

My parents, my brother and I would lay newspaper on the dining room table once it was full. My brother and I would take turns to empty the contents, then we would all sit around the table and count the money. My parents then put the money into a bank account to be used for holidays.

Even today I still save my change; the beer bottle is gone and it is now stored in a plastic bag. When that is full I take it to the bank and deposit it. It soon mounts up!

I am now teaching my granddaughter Lucy, who lives with my husband and I, to save money.
At the age of seven Lucy started earning her pocket money. My husband and I discussed what her chores should be and they are as follows:

• Set the table for breakfast.

• Clear the table after breakfast and dinner.

• Tidy her room.

• Make her bed.

• Put her dirty washing in the machine.

• Dust the skirting boards every Sunday.

• Feed the cats.

Recently another granddaughter, 15-year-old Bella, came to live with us. Like Lucy, she gets a weekly allowance that she has to earn.

Her jobs include:

• Stacking the dishwasher in the evening and at weekends.

• Emptying the dishwasher at the weekends.

• Vacuuming the house every Sunday.

• Unloading the groceries and putting them away.

• Looking after Lucy on the occasions that my husband and I want to out.

As Lucy gets older she will get more household chores to do; therefore she will get more pocket money. I do not believe that money should be handed to children. It is our responsibility to teach them that if they work hard then one reward is money. Life is not a free ride.

Lucy was given a money box on one of her birthdays. She is paid every Thursday and her money goes directly into the money box. If she wants something in particular then she has to save up for it.

There are so many things from which to choose, which is when our guidance becomes very important. We want to teach her to use her money wisely. Recently she saw a little kitten that she fell in love with. We discussed it with her and said that she was to pay a certain amount toward the purchase of the kitten. I informed her that the kitten was her responsibility and therefore every month she was to pay me $4 toward her food.

When Lucy first came to us I opened a savings account for her. The account at the moment is in my name. Every month I deposit $20 into it. Hopefully when she is finally given the money she will use it wisely.

Some schools offer weekly banking to their students. Open an account for your child and encourage them to put some of their pocket money into it. They will get a thrill watching the amount grow weekly.

By Sally Kabak
Sally Kabak is the author of Raising Grandchildren. Visit www.raisinggrandchildren.net.nz for more information and to view her blog.