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Tips on teaching children how to save money

Teaching children how to save from an early age is an important lesson for their long-term financial wellbeing, but there’s more to saving schemes than just money, says Ann Francis.

We all like to spoil our children from time to time but when does it become too much of a good thing? In reality encouraging youngsters to save their money is far more beneficial than showing them how to spend it.

With Easter fast approaching it may surprise you to know that last year in Britain we were on course to spending around £13billon on chocolate, gifts and other treats according to Money Facts.

On average, each child received a staggering eight Easter eggs, which at £5 an egg is £40, depending on the size, plus there are health implications from all of that sugar.

If you want to give your children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews a gift that will last, then think of a long-term nest egg rather than a chocolate one.

Having a savings account makes children understand the value of money and can encourage them to develop positive financial habits as they grow up.

You don’t just have to cut back on special occasions like Christmas or birthdays, but why not consider encouraging them to put a small portion of their pocket or gift money into a savings account?

According to The Essential Parent, in the UK under-fives receive an average of £2 a week and children aged five to 15 get £5. From age 15 upwards, the average increases to £9.50 a week.

Putting a percentage of that money into a savings account and watching it grow helps children understand the value of money. Saving £2 a week, would build up to £104 over a year, add in some Christmas gift money and it’s easy to see how you could build quite a nest egg by the age of 18, enough for a first car or to help with college fees.

At Cambrian Credit Union, we have Junior Savers accounts to help young people get the savings habit.

We’ve also recently launched our first School Saver scheme in partnership with St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Wrexham, which has taken off to a flying start.

School Savings Schemes are a fun way to help children understand personal finance while also helping them develop their numeracy skills.

The pupils work as junior cashiers under the supervision of a teacher or parent and once they count up the deposits, this is passed to a credit union for payment into their savings accounts.

This method of saving has a positive impact on young people by creating a good financial ethos for the future while also allowing them to develop basic accounting, book-keeping, teamwork, record-keeping and organisational skills.

Together we can educate children on the importance of saving, the value of money and why a secure financial foundation is key to a stress-free and happy life.

* Ann Francis is general manager of Cambrian Credit Union, which is a community based, financial services co-operative. For further details visit www.cambriancu.com.