The other week saw me head to London for some exciting blog meetings with fabulous brands Flora, Harrods and Voucher Codes and the Big Smoke was even more sparkly with Christmas decs as far as the eye could see….
All the meetings thankfully revolved around food (my favourite kind of meets), starting with a late breakfast at boulangerie PAUL Bakery with Flora, shortly followed by an incredible chocolatey afternoon tea at Godiva on site when I met with PR Exec, Helen of Harrods.
I’d reviewed a wonderful Harrods hamper for them earlier in the month and had been asked to meet to discuss working with them in the new year…
A chocolate boutique essentially, even the coffee came with a choice of dark, white or milk chocolate for drizzling.
Crème brûlée and a waterfall style chocolate fondue blew us away, and after ironically writing about my approach to healthy eating just that morning on the blog, I instantly felt grateful for my disclaimer that for 10% of the time, I eat exactly what I want! Phew!
After hours of dipping strawberries into luscious chocolate and chatting as if we were old friends, (so wonderful when you meet someone you instantly click with), it was time to head to a Christmas dinner with Voucher Codes! Flipping heck, it’s a hard life being a blogger!
Meeting at The Arch, London, a Georgian boutique hotel to discuss pocket money along with a client of mine Vanessa (Miss Pocket Money) of digital piggy bank Qwiddle, we enjoyed a glass of wine and the festive surroundings! I had to share mr Polar bear too!
Isn’t it pretty?!
The pre-meal discussion with other bloggers invited, and marketing execs from Voucher Codes was around the subject of ‘Children and Family Finances’ and really helped me reflect on my on going goals of teaching my kids the value of money.
…Listening to the other bloggers’ take on pocket money, how to start and the best ways they’ve found to handle it, was inspiring.
Emma from Emma and 3 kicked off the discussion by explaining that her approaches to pocket money vary depending on the age of her children. She said, ‘I have a 14 year old, for whom I pay a direct debit into her bank every month. She’s got her debit card and we give her £10 a week. I give my 10 year old £2.50 in cash every week – but he hoards his, he doesn’t ever spend it.’
Kate from WitWitWoo agreed that her son isn’t interested in spending his pocket money: ‘I give my 10 year old son £3 a week but it is on the proviso he tidies his bedroom. The annoying thing is, he’s not that bothered. Money doesn’t have any effect on him because at the moment, he doesn’t want to buy anything.’ She added ‘I think pocket money is much more important for a 14 year old (like Emma’s daughter) than for a 10 year old.’
I loved Lauren from Mummy is a Gadget Geek approach to younger children-she said that she and her husband talk to their five year old about money in a way which is comprehensible for him.
‘We don’t talk about money randomly, we talk about skips because my other half told him a skip cost £100. So whenever we talk about the value of anything, we talk about it in terms of skips.’
Similarly, Lauren explained that she and her family have a pot of coins they use to demonstrate how much things cost in real terms.
‘Since my son has been about 4 1/2 he’s been able to grasp the concept that if we spend money on something, we might not be able to get something else.’
Ruth from RocknRollerBaby said that she chats to her children about how much things cost when they visit the shops and agreed that she talked openly with her children about money.
I love that she potty trained her daughter with pennies – ‘spend a penny, get a penny’ . Brilliant! Will be ‘stealing’ that with Alexander, 2!
Then it was onto the role of school with money. When it came to education many felt there are huge gaps when it comes to educating kids at school about finance.
I personally feel a TV programme which introduces money to kids in a way that will really resonate with them, allowing learning to begin from a young age and carry through until it’s covered in the curriculum in KS3, is crucial.
John of DadBlogUK said that while financial education should happen at school, the responsibility to teach youngsters about finances shouldn’t just lie within the education sector:
‘It’s all well and good teaching this at school but there’s a balance to be struck. We can’t shirk the responsibilities of teaching this as a parent. You’ve still got that obligation to teach your kids.’
Voucher Codes sent us through some tips based on the discussion I think you’d find useful:
- Use pocket money and allowances as a way to open the discussion about finances within the home. Money is still seen as a massive taboo, which can lead to increasingly negative emotions in youngsters. Adding it into the conversations of daily life makes it less of a big deal.
- If your children are school age, ask if they are learning about money in the classroom, and if so talk about what they’re learning. Are these lessons coming from teachers or peers? It’s easy to then relate what they’re hearing about at school to how things are in the home.
- Consider opening a bank account. Allowing your child to have access to a bank account enables them to see the reality of money and know that the money they have is theirs.
- Though not essential, a bank account with online access can mean your child can see money going in and out of their account.
- Quantify the money in the bank in terms of what they could buy with what they have, or what they could buy if they save further to teach further lessons on delayed gratification. This is a really good way to develop the importance of saving.
- Qwiddle is also an excellent online resource for dealing with pocket money.
- It’s crucial to keep talking about money. Try to make it a regular conversation between all members of the family and remind your kids that if they ever have any questions, they can come to you. Leave it as an open-ended discussion that can be, and is, returned to again and again.
- Use jar labels with ‘spend’ ‘save’ and ‘give’ attached to them and agree rates for setting money aside with your children to teach them the benefits of each.
Here is a fabulous infographic that might inspire too-
On returning home, I’ve stated a pocket money system with my eldest-he now receives £1 a week in return for chores completed throughout the week from dressing himself for school to clearing the table and tidying up his toys. And it’s working, he feels motivated and enjoys saving his money into a piggy bank.
Alexander, 2 is also great at completing household tasks too, he always tidies his bricks away and loves popping rubbish into the kitchen bin so it might be time to start the initial discussions about money with him as well! Never too early, hey!
So much food for thought there and speaking of food…
…I could only make half the meal after the chat, sadly, due to my train (the beetroot and goat’s cheese salad was delightful though) but I was kindly given a doggy bag of sea bass making me the envy of the carriage commuters with their McDonalds, on the way home!
Was lovely seeing so many fab bloggers again-
Here with Vanessa and John before my swift exit!
What a productive, fun day with great brands opening my mind to new things, and lots of exciting work possibilities in the pipeline for 2015.
Watch this space. Literally!