I tend to think of myself as being quite 'good with money’, I earn it, I spend it and generally am even able to save some too. Everything was reasonably manageable until my three sweet little children grew into teenagers with different and generally speaking more expensive needs and wants. At that point, it all went slightly awry. Mobile phone bills, iTunes, Xbox games, girlfriends, boyfriends, the £10 minimum, socially acceptable amount to spend on their many friends birthday presents! (This is a few years ago I’m talking about, no doubt you’ll tell me it’s now £20) My children grew up before the invention of the goHenry card and boy did I pay a price for that. So many new, and exciting things to purchase online, but with what? 'I’ll pay you back mum’ echoed hollowly around my house for many years as I handed over my debit card, they’d forget, I’d forget. I could afford it, what did it matter? But it did matter and it does matter.
Any time you spend teaching your children now, in the early years, about the value of money will be time well invested. It’s an increasingly difficult lesson to teach them when it is so hard for them to find anywhere to earn it. The newspapers and comment columns are full this week of headlines 'Cut Pocket Money and make the kids get a job’ (The Telegraph). As much as I applaud the fact that, under law, children cannot be exploited in the UK, we appear to have succeeded in making it almost impossible for employers to take on 14 — 16 year olds. When I was 13 my friends worked on the milk round, in the corner shop, at the local herb farm, local stables, my brother was the paper boy and there were any number of local employers happily tapping in to this cheap source of labour. Perhaps we were exploited, but we loved being paid our wage packets and I would argue that not only did we learn those early lessons about how hard it can be to earn money but also the value of the independence it gives you when you make the effort to. How are today’s children supposed to learn to be responsible for their own money, learn the value of money if they cannot work?
The goHenry service offers a solution to the dilemma, you can set up the account to just pay a weekly amount of pocket money in the traditional way or you can add the extra dimension of tasks that they are rewarded for only when they have been completed. We are seeing our children change their behaviour, learning quickly to spend within the limits that the parents have set and, most importantly as far as I’m concerned be able to see that it is their pile of money that is decreasing every time they spend and not yours!
As for all those paper rounds, when was the last time you saw a paper boy or anyone else but the milkman on the milk round?