There is nothing like a half-term with a tween to remind you that it’s time to get a ‘Pocket Money Agreement’ into place.
This half-term, as the pounds flew from my purse, I realised that there needed to be a little bit of a tweak to our existing arrangements. The Kid is not a child that is always asking but there comes a time when children of her age start to see things they like.
Now is that time.
There have been a couple of occasions where there has been a genuine want where we have said no because something else had been purchased previously. It’s tough, but there are always treats and rewards so we don’t feel too guilty. I guess our respective upbringings of not being handed anything on a plate helps with that.
And heaven forbid we should spoil our ‘only’ child!
No is generally always accepted but, of late, with a question of “how do I get money like other people do?”
This is a great question because, lets face it, how does one?
Up until now a bit here and there has been fine. However, as independence starts and a taste in clothes and all things retail develops, there has to be some kind of agreement in place to protect all parties.
And so the great pocket money debate.
We have given this a lot of thought lately. There has been discussion and there will no doubt be an intense negotiation at the
board room dining room table.
Say hello to ‘The Table’, we shall be seeing ‘The Table’ quite a lot over the next few years!!
As a child, I used to get 50p per week. This rose to £1.00 and then £2.00 once my sister started working. Who says there are no benefits to being the youngest! This was the point in my life when I experienced what it was like to be rich.
I also had a Saturday job when I was 11. That is not an option today.
We have an amount in mind for The Kid, not a lot but it gets the ball rolling. I’m also an advocate of dishing out chores if you want a bit more cash. All hands on deck is always a good way to go.
We are moving towards the time when our daughter will be travelling to school and needing some form of money that she is responsible for as she goes on her way past the chip and sweet shop (it’s not going to be the health food outlet that’s for sure!).
And it’s all a lesson because once the money is theirs, they become responsible for it. That is all they have. It is their job to manage it and spend accordingly.
It’s also good to get them used to engaging with the shop assistant. Having said that, it’s amazing how many assistants talk over the child’s head to the parents during a transaction.
It also helps them to observe that whilst we may want several things, quite often we can only have one or none. Tough lesson but best to get used to it early.
Things like checking change also becomes more relevant.
It’s very easy to be a bit tardy about checking change when its a Mum Dollar. Yet if it means the difference of getting a bar of chocolate with the change or not, I have no doubt that it will be checked sufficiently. The times table and rounding-up ability will be in overdrive along with working out the ‘net’ of the shop.
And we’ve all done the whole Birthday voucher scenario where the assistant announces there is only £4 left as the tween clutches the £16 article and looks to you like a lost puppy.
It’s the hardest thing in the world to say no isn’t it.
However, we do always get paid back. That is something that I feel immensely grateful for. Tearful in fact!
Every bone in my body wants to say “don’t worry about it” as I’m handed a sack of copper but that’s not the point.
Paying up is important. It brings a whole different meaning to lending and borrowing.
There are other ways of showing our appreciation.
But there won’t always be an adult in the background throwing money at it will there. It’s a hard lesson to learn.
We all know that gut wrenching feeling as a kid (or even an adult) when you hand over an amount and realise that you have made a mistaken purchase.
This is particularly difficult and unpalatable in M & M World. I observed this first hand as my niece made a purchase recently. When it hits home that your bag of 10 sweets is actually £2.71. The home of the rip off where we see parents commenting the very same, yet we still take them and allow them to succumb to the M&M Exchange Rate. I have been that parent on more than one occasion.
This is a situation that can only be referred to as the ‘School of Hard Chocs’.
Perhaps there is a lesson here in how to manage your money according to the M&M pound!
So where to start? And how?
Because there’s the pocket money side and a little bit of spare for clothing whims.
I’m not talking winter coat, shoes and secondary school uniform, I mean the latest t-shirt to add to the collection. The want as opposed to the need. And we are talking a few pounds here and not half of our salaries.
I also have my eye on the card accounts for the teens. There are several on the market, Go Henry being one of them. There will be others too.
I like the idea of a bit of cash and the rest on the card. Birthday money, that kind of thing. More investigation needed.
It almost seems bizarre but this is all stuff that needs to be learned.
Some of these cards have apps for managing savings and budgeting. Sounds a bit involved but this is the world the kids are used to. It’s what they relate to. It works for them.
It’s a far cry from my dad and his collecting book at Chez Victoriana but neither is £1 per week sufficient for the phone bill. We’ve got to roll with the change.
There will be the realisation that the card doesn’t work at some point. We’ve all been there.
Mine was aged 16 when trying to get my holiday spending money. There were no Pesetas, account empty. I had the cheek to ask “does that really matter?” It did apparently. I was rescued and paid it back in full.
But as I often say, the only way to learn is by getting involved.
I’d love to know what other people do or have done when this time comes, any thoughts and suggestions are most welcome.
In the meantime, we shall continue to trade across the dining room table towards a mutually agreed financial offering. There will no doubt be bailouts required along the way as we enter the Pocket Money FTSE100.