Imagine a future where you are able to hand your child a sum of money to help them through any given situation that will help them live a financially comfortable, worry free life. Sounds like a fantasy version of every parent’s desire to provide for their children, doesn’t it?
Yet while there’s no life plan that can guarantee anyone will become an inexhaustible Bank of Mum and Dad, there is something you can pass on to your children over the summer holidays that will help: knowledge.
Kids are never too young to learn some of the more fundamental lessons about money that form the main part of our ethos at Serenity Financial Planning.
So while you enjoy time away with the family, here are five ways you can weave in these lessons during your summer holiday.
Plan your days out
These days budgeting for a summer holiday is almost as vital as budgeting for Christmas. It is difficult for a family of four to go to any attraction and come away with much change out of £100, once you’ve factored in lunch, snacks and gifts. So get everyone – adults included – to come up with a bucket list of where they really want to go and pick the ones the family can afford and most desire. Then plan much cheaper days out: a beach day, a picnic in the park. This teaches the kids that even though it is holiday time, it is time for certain restraints on what you can do, without it meaning that the whole experience is any the less enjoyable. Save the favourite bucket list item for towards the end of the holiday and also make a homemade picnic to remember to illustrate that the best things in life really can be free. You – and your children – might be surprised at which one they enjoy the most.
Give them a holiday bonus/budget
Of course the usual pocket money isn’t going to be enough to see them through any summer holiday and nor is it the best lesson to give them free rein at all those attraction gift shops. For each day out, give them a set budget, enough for a small gift and an extra sweet but not for a huge cuddly toy or game. If there is something like that, they really want, then explain that they can save up by not spending as much at each location.
They’re never too young to earn
Children wouldn’t be children if there wasn’t something that they really wanted over the holidays. Rather than say no, discuss with them to find out whether the xBox game or toy is something they truly want, then suggest a way they can earn the money. They could do an agreed number of chores around the house or older children could even do some dog walking locally.
Time vs Money at the Amusement Arcade
If you’ve ever played arcade games, which do you prefer? The loud, bright, noisy ones that would give you a few minutes of fun and then be over, the slot machines where you could make a handful of coppers last longer and have the buzz of winning more, or the ‘hook a prize’ machines that would offer a bigger win for a greater risk. There is a lot that children can learn about money and risk in an old fashioned arcade. Take them to one, give them a particular budget and point out the differences between each choice without nudging them towards your particular preference. Why deny them the initial thrill of ‘hook a prize’ or the experience of a financial loss after that mechanical arm snaps back. The disappointment, with your guidance,may encourage them to choose differently next time.
Have That Ice Cream!
It’s easy to scrimp on holiday at every given opportunity but there will be times when you want to treat yourself and there is no better example of this while you are queuing up for ice creams. Fair enough if you’ve had your fill at lunch or are trying to watch the waistline but if you are holding back just for the sake of a couple of pounds, think what that couple of pounds on an ice cream that you will no doubt enjoy will teach your kids. They’ll see you enjoying yourself and living for the moment, making it all the better an experience for them. Save that couple of pounds next time you’re tempted to grab a coffee en route to the office.