The Value of Money

The value of money? That’s a lesson we could all do with learning at times I’m sure.  As a child I was given weekly pocket money, which as I got older become a monthly allowance (partly because it was easier for Dad to pay me by Direct Debit once a month than remember to give me cash every week!) There were certain jobs I had to do to ‘earn’ this money – for example unloading the dishwasher daily and there were certain expectations of what I would spend my money on.  Mum and Dad bought me the things I needed – school uniform, school shoes and basic clothes, I then bought the things I wanted be it toys and sweets when I was younger or perhaps make up and a new top in my teens.  We absolutely were not ever allowed to borrow from Mum and Dad – if we had spent our allowance it was tough, we waited till the next month.  I totally agree with the lesson Mum and Dad were trying to teach me there (though I can’t say I learnt it as well as they or I would have liked!)

Photo Credit: incurable_hippie via Compfight cc

So now it’s my turn to teach Ben the value of money . . .  At just 4 he has a pretty good understanding of the fact that he can’t just have the things he wants all the time.  I often say to him “We haven’t got money for that today” and he accepts it.  He understands that money can only be spent once – if he’s had an ice cream then that’s his treat for the day and he can’t have a new toy too.  I have explained to him that Daddy’s money pays the bills & buys food.  Mummy’s money pays some of the bills and then is for extra things like clothes, shoes and treats – so if Mummy doesn’t work there’s no money for treats.  Several times recently Ben has asked if we can go to the cinema or soft play and I’ve reminded him that Mummy doesn’t have any money till she has been to work but that I will take him soon – I am really impressed with how he understands this and much as I don’t want to spend my time telling him “I haven’t got any money” its actually a really important life lesson a) if it’s not there you can’t spend it and b) if you want money you jolly well have to go out there and earn it.

I recently wrote about encouraging Ben to save up for a toy he really wanted: Cash in your hand, dinosaur in your pocket!  Since then he has started earning 10p here and there for chores, for example bring the washing downstairs and helping me to load the washing machine.  These are tasks which are over and above my normal daily expectations and I do think there is a balance to strike between him thinking he only has to do jobs for payment and rewarding him for being really helpful.


  1. September 24, 2013 / 6:10 pm

    We're doing a similar thing with Annie, but she still seems to think we have a never ending supply of money, hope she realises she's wrong soon OR we win the lottery and she turns out to be right 😉

    • September 24, 2013 / 6:30 pm

      I hope for your sake it's a bit of both ;o) x

  2. katefever
    September 24, 2013 / 7:15 pm

    I think he has a great understanding of value, considering how young he is. Well done to you!

    • September 24, 2013 / 7:24 pm

      I am really proud of his grasp of it so far – I just hope he keeps a hold of it as he gets older!

  3. Monkey Footed Mummy
    September 24, 2013 / 7:35 pm

    A very important lesson to learn especially in the financial climate our kids are growing up in

  4. AK Templer
    September 24, 2013 / 7:58 pm

    its great when kids learn that understanding from young on about money what a clever boy! x

  5. Emmysmummy
    September 25, 2013 / 1:26 pm

    A very important lesson to learn.
    If Emmy wants something and I don't have money on me or it's too expensive she always says "you can have my money mummy" just how much she thinks she has I don't know

  6. September 26, 2013 / 9:32 pm

    I try and explain the same thing to my kids. well done on teaching a very important lesson x

  7. September 27, 2013 / 11:31 am

    I think what you are doing is exactly right and something we do with our 5 year old too! He knows we work to pay the bills and tells his younger brother it's for new shoes (for them!) too!

  8. September 27, 2013 / 11:41 am

    We've just done the same thing with our youngest. Only problem is she doesn't want to spend any of "her money" she'd rather spend ours!

  9. September 27, 2013 / 12:13 pm

    We are certainly at fault for buying and buying, I just love to treat the children! But as H turns three in December I think it may be time to begin teaching her, your post has definitely got me thinking x

    • September 27, 2013 / 4:12 pm

      Its a fine line isn't it – I love to treat them too & sometimes feel like a right meanie 😉

  10. September 27, 2013 / 4:26 pm

    We're a few years away from this but you've got some nice ideas!

  11. September 27, 2013 / 7:44 pm

    Definitely some great life lessons there, good on you for starting them so young 🙂 We were earning money from an early age by doing extra bits of housework & we could choose how much to earn. Something I'm definitely going to be doing with mine!

  12. Catherine @FrmLittleThings
    September 27, 2013 / 9:24 pm

    I should probably take a leaf from your book. Its far too easy to spoil them.

  13. September 27, 2013 / 9:18 pm

    I was doing this and need to get back to it! teach them young..

  14. September 27, 2013 / 9:25 pm

    My 10 year old is just starting to learn the value of money. It really is a lesson that needs to be taught and sometimes kids do think that the money supply is endless. However, I must have been stressing the fact that she needs to learn the alue of money, as she says things like "Oooh Mum, can I have this, it's only 10p" or whatever, and I hae to tell her that just because it's cheap doesn't mean we have to buy it, and equally, not everything we buy has to be cheap! Great post x 🙂

  15. September 27, 2013 / 9:52 pm

    I am always saying to my son that something is too many pennies. Lovely post, I do think it's important for them to understand about budgeting.

  16. September 28, 2013 / 12:39 pm

    Great that you started it so early. I remember having a Post Office savings book from an early age – you bought stamps to stick in the book.

  17. Jane Middleton
    September 28, 2013 / 6:28 pm

    You do need to start to teach children early in their life how to look after pennies

  18. September 29, 2013 / 9:12 pm

    Really relevant topic for me and a great post. Lincoln is almost 4 and as he's started going to school he is often asking if I have pennies for an ice cream after school and walks with me around the supermarkets asking for things. I think it's now time we teach him more about money… even just a tiny taster of the basics so he knows money certainly does not grow on trees! Picked up some good tips here, thank-you! x

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