Sunday, 15 September 2013

Why walk when you can catch the bus! A pocket money tale of woe....

I used to love pocket money day, although there always seemed to be so much week left at the end of the money and my dad was a stickler for "when it's gone it's gone!".  It taught me the value of money  and budgeting.  I used to get a lot more money than my friends; £7.75 a week.  A figure decided not by my dad but the state as he used to give me the family allowance which he received for me.  Out of this princely sum, I was expected to buy everything I needed so clothes, makeup, going out and everything else was financed by me.  Needless to say, I supplemented my pocket money, with a Saturday job, babysitting and a paper round and am amazed looking back that I had time to spend any money, with the amount of hours I put into earning it.

With my own children I'm an abject failure when it comes to pocket money.  I give them money as and when they need it, I don't make them work for it, I don't even insist that they do "a chore" to deserve it... if they ask, and I've got it then as long as they aren't asking for the moon on a stick they get it.  They are the proverbial spoilt children.  I'm sure that in my own way I'm rebelling against having to work so hard as a child to finance everything I wanted by being completely the opposite.

I know all the advice is that it teaches you to budget, it teaches you respect and it teaches you to value the things you buy, but I also know that there is nothing worse than being a child who can't go out with her friends as dad won't give you £1.50 for the cinema because you've spent your pocket money on a new pair of school shoes.  He was too harsh and I am too soft and I should tread a middle line.  I am mentally scared by my pocket money dilemmas and can still remember 30 years later one day crying as he wouldn't give me the bus fare into town on a Saturday morning so I could get to work because I hadn't budgeted properly!  Not budgeting properly on that occasion was him deciding that the money for a school trip should come out of my pocket money and wasn't in the list of essentials that he would fund.  Apparently this was to teach me the value of keeping an emergency fund, when all it actually taught me was that a five mile walk to work is no fun. 

I was really interested therefore, to see the Roosterbank pocket money index.  It's a really fun interactive site which shows you how much pocket money others give/receive and what kids are spending their money on.  It also allows your children to track their money, make decisions about how to spend THEIR money and gives loads of hints and tips about getting it right!  Something I know I am very bad at doing.

I found the site by sheer chance through Tots100 as part of a blog competition but whether this post wins or not, I've joined the site and have sat down with the kids today and agreed a pocket money budget with them both, which they are going to manage until Christmas on Roosterbank.  I'm hopeful it will be a good thing for all of us.   I've told them that it is flexible until we are happy, (see even now I'm still being a wimp about when it's gone it gone!) and that when we get to Christmas we will set a formal amount based on the last three months spending.

If you too fancy having a look you can find the site here.  I'm determined to give it a go, who knows I may actually raise children who respect their things, grow up to budget well and never have to walk instead of catching the bus!

“This post is an entry into the Tots100/Roosterbank Pocket Money Competition”