Oily Rag: Teach kids the value of saving

By Frank, Muriel Newman

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Teach your kids how to save these holidays.
Teach your kids how to save these holidays.

It's school holidays and a time to give young ones even more attention than they already receive.

An excellent letter has prompted us to think about children's money.

Stephanie writes: "Let kids save for their own college fund by encouraging them from a very early age to earn money by getting paid for what they enjoy doing! Our little boy, who is now 3, loves dogs, so we offered to walk the neighbour's dog for $5 a week. It makes us get out for exercise and gives the dog half an hour of much-needed attention while their owner is at work. I know it doesn't sound like much, but each year he earns $260 for his college fund, so by the time he is 18 he will have well over $4000 towards his college education -- just from this hobby alone.

"Similarly, our daughter enjoys baking, so every week we invite her friends over to a baking session making scones, biscuits, raisin buns etc.

"They are learning something new and having fun. The mums are more than happy to contribute $5 to $10 for the ingredients and not having to mess up their own house.

"We put half in the kitty for the ingredients and half goes to my daughter's college fund so she can save between $10 and $20 each week. If we are able to do something like this every week until she is 18, she would have over $8000!"

Well done, Stephanie for showing fantastic initiative and instilling the virtues of saving into her young ones.

For young kids, "work" usually comes in the form of "chores" around the home -- looking after family members (babysitting), cleaning their bedroom (isn't it amazing how quickly they become messy again), vacuum cleaning, dusting, watering the plants, setting the table, cooking a favourite dish (fudge), washing the car, mowing the lawns, feeding pets and chickens, doing the laundry, cleaning the dishes, and taking out the rubbish (children will be pleased to know that chimney sweeping is no longer a common chore!).

For those a little older, the chores can extend to neighbours and home-help for the elderly.

Many retired folk would welcome a helping hand, a smile and a little chat.

Services might include keeping the garden and lawns tidy, washing windows, grocery shopping, and being on call to run errands in emergencies -- like running out of milk!

If you are paying pocket money, call it a "wage" for the good deeds they do, helping out around the house and contributing to a happy oily rag home life.

When shopping, give young ones the responsible job of checking prices and making sure you have bought the best value.

A calculator will be essential so they can compare different packet sizes. In the meat section, a tip is to focus on the price per kilo. Not only will they take part in a valuable shopping lesson, but their maths will also improve!

Extend their responsibilities to include having the young ones scout about for the best prices for items on your shopping list and pantry staples. And when you get home, ask them to check the receipt, letting them keep the savings should you be overcharged.

We firmly believe in teaching youngsters the value of work -- and saving is critical to financial security later in life. We believe money is a virtue that can provide freedom and independence.

Let us know if you have great money-making schemes for kids so we can share them with others.

-Don't forget to send your money-saving tips to us to share with the oily rag community by emailing tips@oilyrag.co.nz or by writing to us at Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.

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