Today is the boy’s first day at secondary school. He looked really tiny and young, surrounded by all those towering teenagers drifting into school. He refused to take his mobile phone in because he’s too scared he will lose it which kind of defeats the object, really. I expect most of the stationery items will have disappeared by the end of the week along with at least one item of uniform.
While I am going to spend the day in a state of anxiety – you’d think I’d be happy to have a return to calm and order after two months of summer holiday – I know that he’ll be OK and that in a few weeks he will be bouncing along the road to school spending money in the sweet shops, chippy and elsewhere. Sadly, lessons about money aren’t a compulsory part of the National Curriculum so it’s down to us as parents to do the teaching. There was an interesting piece in the Mail on Sunday at the weekend which said that there’s research which shows that while 70% of children get pocket money, only 15% earn it. It also pointed out that saving is always easier when there’s a goal to aim at.
So here’s my plan. The boy doesn’t get pocket money at the moment, relying on the Bank of Mum. If I give him £5 a week, then if he has saved most of it by the end of half term then I will give him a bonus. He wants an X box – if he can manage to save half of the cost by Christmas then I can pay the rest of it. Given that savings rates are so low, my bonus payments are a better idea – and easier to understand – than interest. And maybe the incentive will keep him out of the chip shop.