My top tip to instil good saving habits in your children is to stroll into a high street bank together and open a young savers bank account with a small starter fund. So simple and yet so obvious, not an internet account, not in mum’s top drawer but a real bank where they physically take their money and can actually learn how saving works. We did just that two years ago. James, Sophie and Ella each clutching a piggy bank followed me into the bank where the manager greeted us. James tipped open his piggy bank and a shower of small coins fell out all around us. I don’t think the manager had counted coins for many a long year and it took us all back to the grass-roots of saving. Bank accounts were initiated by my grandmother who left her great-grandchildren £50 in her will and requested that the children opened accounts in their own names. I told my children that they needed to save the £50 from great-granny until they were 10 years old but if they added to it with their pocket-money then the bank would give them interest. James’ eyes lit up – extra money just for keeping it in a bank – he was hooked.
Another two important suggestions is to give your children pocket-money which is a small amount for them to handle and learn lessons from if they choose to waste it. In our house pocket-money is linked to chores and as you take on more responsibilities, so your money increases. Lastly, don’t buy them everything they want, teach them delayed gratification. If they want it badly enough, they can save up for it. I won’t even lend them money in the shops if they see something that they instantly desire but explain to them that they need to bring their own money and we can return. We all benefit from a cooling-off period!