Teaching children about money

I was in a shop this morning when I spotted a cute purse in the shape of a foxes face, it was only £2 so I bought it for my son. He is four and doesn’t get pocket money, nor do we intend to give it to him until the sheer weight of peer pressure is so great we can no longer fight it. Despite this he is starting to understand that money is important and that we use it to buy things. I thought it was high time he had his own purse to put in the money which other people sometimes give him.

I gave him £1 to start him off and his Dad gave him a few other coins. Over the next few weeks we’ll be talking about what the different coins are and their value and what you can buy for that, but really he’s just interested in going to a shop and swapping some of his money for some sweets, which is something we’ll be doing with him this week.

When I was growing up I used to get 50p pocket money each week from my Grandma, some of which I’d spend at the corner shop (in the days where you could still buy sweets for 1/2p) and some of which I would save. Saving is a really great habit to get into, I was a compulsive saver and the money I saved from when I was as young as 5 helped me during the lean times at university and beyond.

I still save today, as much as I can, it’s very little really but it’s a habit I can’t break but I know I will be grateful for when I come to the end of my working life. I’d love it if I could get him into the saving habit, but first things first, he needs to understand more about what money is and its value. I’ll let you know how that goes!

Teaching Children About Money

 

If you’re looking for lots of useful information on financial education, investments and money management you could visit the WealthWithin website to find out more there.

 

Frugal living and shrewd shopping

These days most people are tightening their belts, money has to stretch further than ever before. For us when I left my old well paid job due to ill health and became self-employed, that marked a drastic change in our finances. Gone are the pre-child days where if I fancied an expensive pair of shoes I’d just buy them, nowadays I do endless research, lots of saving up and then hunt around for a bargain. I’m not alone in this, most people I know are careful, buying Christmas presents in the January sales for example or hunting round the many charity shops in the village for bargains.

We’re very into make do and mend, patching and darning to get an extra few months out of a garment. There is (for me at least) a certain joy in the simplicity of it all; hearty meals made from cheap, often reduced ingredients bubbling away gently in the slow cooker. The central heating off on all but the coldest days, the log fire providing most of the heat we need. Growing our own fruit, vegetables and herbs in the garden and always searching out yellow stickered items, bargains, discounts. I enjoy the challenge of trying to make a little go a long way.

All winter I’ve been wearing boots which leak, I’d bought a cheap pair from a supermarket back in September, but by the time winter came along they were letting water in and my feet were freezing. Going everywhere with a spare pair of socks in my bag was getting tiresome, so I decided to treat myself to a proper pair of good quality boots which should hopefully last a couple of winters at least, but quality boots are expensive.

True to form I thoroughly researched online for what I wanted, I knew the style, the brand and how much I wanted to pay. I opted for these lovely Blowfish boots, I need flat boots because of my back, they need to be easy to put on and take off (there’s a zip), they needed to be comfortable and practical for pottering about mum-style.

VouchaCodes

Full price these boots were £60 but I could neither afford nor justify that, even on an essential item like boots which would keep my feet dry. I knew I’d have to try and knock the price down a bit. I managed to find them in a large department store in the sale, but using a discount code I found online, I was able to find a voucher code which would reduce that cost even further. I ended up paying just £25 for my £60 boots. Result! At least I’ll have dry feet now.

How do you make your money stretch a bit further?

Save With Jamie

This week saw the launch of Jamie Oliver’s new series Save with Jamie. It received a mixed reception but we #BlogGirls were inspired to share a few of our tips for thrifty kitchen habits. Here are a few of mine:

Batch cook and freeze
Simple really. If I’m making a pasta sauce for example I often double up and freeze some for a lazy day. This is also really useful if you find bargains and don’t fancy eating them straight away.

Pad out meals
Having a toddler in the house who does love his veg we tend not to worry too much about sneaking extra goodness in him, but if I’m making a spaghetti bolognaise or other mince based dish I often finely grate a couple of carrots into the mince as it’s cooking. This bulks it out a little bit and adds extra goodness. For the same reason I often add some lentils into dishes, the red lentils dissolve into nothing if cooked for long enough but add that extra bit of protein and stretch a budget bag of mince a little bit further.

Whoopsies!
I’m a sucker for the whoopsie shelf in the supermarket. I always have a rummage and often find brilliant bargains which we either eat now or sling in the freezer for another day. I once found a decent sized beef brisket in Co-op for £1.75 which I turned into a delicious pot roast which fed six. I’ve found sea bass fillets for pence too. It’s well worth a rummage and can spark the beginnings of some interesting and unusual meals.

Grow your own
I know not everyone has either the space or green fingers to do this. We do try and grow some veg every year with varying success, the weather has been against us recently. However if you can I really recommend having some hardy herbs. We have a rosemary and a bay tree in a pot by the back door and thyme and chives in the garden. They all require zero maintenance apart from slinging a bit of water over them if they’re dry. We picked up ours incredibly cheaply and we’ve had a few years of free flavourings from them.

Forage
You don’t have to be Bear Grylls to have a forage. At this time of year the hedgerows, lanes and patches of scrubland are heaving with brambles covered in fat juicy blackberries. It’s a great thing to do with kids and you can stock up your freezer with berry-loveliness for the long winter months ahead. Likewise lots of parks and woodlands have some fruit trees which you can sneak a few fruits from. Just always be sure of what you’re picking and don’t strip the trees or bushes, leave some for others and for the birds.

So that’s how we keep kitchen costs down. I’d love to read your tips so do link up with us!