CHRISTMAS COMPETITION – Four ways to teach children the value of money

Christmas isn’t exactly the time of the year when you think about saving money, but today I’ve got some advice and a competition that should be just what you need to start the New Year with good financial intentions.

You’re playing for two fab prizes today, so get your best competition hat on. First off, you get a copy of the super new book  ‘Money Smarter – a Family Guide’. Money Smarter is a really interesting and practical guide to teaching children the value of money, with over 50 activities that you can try with your family:

"Money Smarter"

Look after the pennies and all that…

Then to go with it, you get this adorable leather purse from Lyla and Tilly, to put all your pennies in once you’ve saved them:

"Bird picture"

Tweet this post for an extra competition entry.
(See what I did there?)

You see? Everything you need for a debt free 2013!

To enter, all you have to do is have a read of these four family finance activities, taken from Money Smart, and then leave a comment offering your own money-saving tip or learning activity. The competition closes on Christmas Day, so you can get your money-saving kit in time for the New Year.

Good luck!

Four ways to teach children the value of money

Where does money come from?
As children, it’s hard to get your head around the idea of money, where it comes from, and what it gets spent on. Sitting down with your kids and explaining exactly how adults earn money is a really useful way to teach children the value of skills and experience. To make it more real, have a look at a selection of job ads. Talk to your children about the different kinds of jobs people do, how much they are paid, and what sort of skills they might need.

Need versus want
Children always seem to need the latest gadget or toy, but how do you teach them the difference between wanting and needing something? Imagine with your kids that you’re stranded on a desert island. Get them to think about what they’d actually need to survive, and what luxuries they might want.

Good debt versus bad debt
People tend to fear debt, but the important thing to learn is the difference between good and bad debt. Debt that will put money in your pocket at a future date is a good debt, a debt that doesn’t is bad. For example, investing in going to university is a good debt, as it will help you earn more money later, but just borrowing to go on holiday isn’t such a great investment. Look through some magazines and newspapers with your kids. Cut out three pictures that represent good debts, and three that are bad.

Your fun fund
Managing your money doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. As well as saving for the future and paying the bills, there should always be a slice of your budget set aside for fun. How you spend that slice is up to you! With your children, come up with a list of things that you’d like to spend your fun fund on. Can you work out how long it would take you to have enough money for each of your fun activities?

Competition open to UK residents only. Competition closes on 25th December 2012. Your information may be used for marketing purposes by the Money Smarter team. You are free to unsubscribe at any time.

As featured on Loquax Competitions and ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions





  1. 12 December, 2012 / 9:59 am

    We had a boot sale last year and K learnt that by selling her old toys she would get money to buy something she really wanted instead. She’s only 3 but it’s good to start learning about finances early on.

  2. 12 December, 2012 / 10:00 am

    I’ve also tweeted the post @makedomum :)

  3. Shelley Hawkins
    12 December, 2012 / 10:49 am

    cut open your almost finished tubes of moisturiser / toothpaste / foundation – there will be lots left in there you can access now.

  4. 12 December, 2012 / 11:12 am

    find out your supermarket’s routine…… fresh produce when it’s been reduced in price

  5. Helen Moulden
    12 December, 2012 / 11:36 am

    We always do the, ‘saving up for something you really want’ method. It teaches her that you can’t get things on credit, but if you really want something you can get it with time and saving!

  6. 12 December, 2012 / 12:44 pm

    I always let Samuel pay for the things he wants, so that he knows how much they cost.

  7. Solange
    12 December, 2012 / 1:07 pm

    If my kids want extra pocket money they have to earn it by doing extra chores

  8. Hannah Oneill
    12 December, 2012 / 2:00 pm

    Sell unwanted items on ebay to make extra money!

  9. diane findlay
    12 December, 2012 / 3:13 pm

    provide money boxes to save small change , or make some we make small piniatta types when they are full they get smashed open and the money banked , , my lil one collects pennies found in the street because her nan told her it was good luck ,(keep some hand sanitiser in pocket or bag for this )

  10. 12 December, 2012 / 7:13 pm

    it’s really hard to get my 4 year old to understand about money & def need so help there. i try & compare different toys e.g 4 small power ranger figures are the same as the large mega figure. don’t know if this is right though

  11. anna
    12 December, 2012 / 8:40 pm

    giving children pocket money can be good as then they grasp the concept of there is a limited amount and have to choose what to spend it on. ie budgeting!

  12. Lorraine
    12 December, 2012 / 9:14 pm

    Consider buying clothes and toys second hand fr on ebay and gumtree. Often they are in great condition as kids grow so quickly!

  13. Mary G
    12 December, 2012 / 9:22 pm

    Keep a budget spreadsheet and track what you spend. Seeing the money coming and going makes you stop and think before you spend.

  14. Jo jones
    12 December, 2012 / 10:07 pm

    Wait until nearly closing time to supermarket shop and get all the fresh items reduced and freeze for later use

  15. 13 December, 2012 / 12:15 am

    When my girls get birthday money we put half in savings and let them spend the other half. That way they get to see their money grow Nd also get to have fun spending it whilst having to work out what they can buy. It’s interesting watching them as they’re very very close in age

  16. Suzanne
    13 December, 2012 / 9:32 am

    Encourage my children to save any small change in a container and show them that it all counts, as they can buy something worthwhile.

  17. 13 December, 2012 / 9:44 am

    I think the most important thing to try to make children understand more than the value of money (Pence and pounds), is if an item is really value for money. I have let them buy toys for £1 before after kicking and screaming to show them they are rubbish, and they did break within hours. I think the understanding of this in such a commercialised consumer driven society is a good foundation to start on.

  18. 13 December, 2012 / 1:16 pm

    Leaing the kids at home when going the supermarket saves a fortune.

  19. Lauren
    13 December, 2012 / 1:17 pm

    I would teach them all about this magical thing called the lottery. And entering competitions to get free stuff :)

  20. 13 December, 2012 / 1:17 pm

    Leaving the children at home when going to the supermarket with a list saves a fortune.

  21. 13 December, 2012 / 2:37 pm

    Tell the younger kids that santa may bring the presents but mum and dad still have to pay for them. then give them a budget and let them know what their toys cost so they’ll stick to it on their wishlist

  22. Maya Russell
    13 December, 2012 / 6:08 pm

    Carefully unwrap presents, then with a low iron, remove sellotape and iron out creases. Roll paper around an old wrapping paper tube and keep in place with rubberbands.

  23. 13 December, 2012 / 8:34 pm

    Shop in cash wherever possible. Children get to see that everything costs money, not just using the magic card, and for adults, it’s much easier to see where it goes if it’s actual money you’re handing over, rather than just typing those 4 digits & hoping the bank manager doesn’t get cross.

  24. 13 December, 2012 / 8:44 pm

    When it comes to feeding the family for the week, have a daily meal plan organised. You’ll then only shop for what you actually need rather than indulgence shopping especially when those BOGOF offers are about leading you into a false sense of what you may want but don’t actually need. Also, shop local if you can and support your local greengrocers, butchers, bakers. It’s amazing what you can save.

  25. Isabel O'Brien
    13 December, 2012 / 10:12 pm

    My own tip is to take out your spending money from the cash machine and leave all but your days allowance at home every day. Keep your card in case of emergencies, but don’t use it otherwise. It works for me, because I am an impulse buy sort of girl.


  26. 14 December, 2012 / 1:19 pm

    I sell all of our unwanted items on ebay or various no-commission FB pages. All of the money I make is put into a pot for when I am really hard up.

  27. Pauline Wilson
    14 December, 2012 / 5:20 pm

    Try making savings on your food shop by trying out budget brands, you might be surprised at some. And bulk out chilli with less meat and more beans, tasty and healthy

  28. Angela Webster
    15 December, 2012 / 10:06 pm

    The most basic learning activity we use to teach our kids about money is to give them a piggy bank to pop odd pennies into and any spends they get, I then get my kids to choose a few things they would really like and cut them out of magazines or catalogues or even draw a picture, then each week count up the money in the piggy banks to see if they have enough to buy the item they want, it teaches them about saving for a desired item rather than them getting something instantly.

  29. vicky morton
    16 December, 2012 / 9:28 pm

    If my son asks for something he really ‘wants’ i always make him save up for it. He gets £1 a week for doing certain chores, and in the summer we did a car boot sale and all his toys he sold he got the money and put it aside for the toy he wanted.

  30. esther james
    16 December, 2012 / 9:31 pm

    set a weekly budget and stick to it!

  31. Laura F
    16 December, 2012 / 10:16 pm

    Make your own packed lunches for work.

  32. Emma Jackson
    19 December, 2012 / 8:49 pm

    Our kids save for the things they want from their allowance to get them into the habit of not relying on credit and makes sacrifices to save towards a goal.

  33. Angela Wilcox
    19 December, 2012 / 10:47 pm

    take out cash rather than using your cards. Makes you more aware of how much you are spending that way

  34. Preety R
    20 December, 2012 / 9:58 am

    By letting them spend their birthday money on things they want and they can see how far they can stretch that bit of money to get things.

  35. donna large
    21 December, 2012 / 11:11 pm

    by letting them do extra choresx

  36. Eva lorraine Appleby-Gill
    22 December, 2012 / 12:34 am

    buy shops own brands don`t be ashamed of the label it`s all the same in the tin!

  37. 22 December, 2012 / 7:58 pm

    I think they should get a basic, low pocket money & then earn their extras from chores/helping out.

  38. 23 December, 2012 / 7:59 am

    We have to save money to buy the things they want. If it is a large item, often we will offer to match what they have saved / earned!!

  39. 23 December, 2012 / 10:16 am

    Have saving pots for everything, Birthdays, Christmas, Car expenses, Holidays, Emergency’s ect. By doing this you can pay off things like insurances in one go avoiding high monthly interest rates. You also get accustomed to your lower disposable income (which is actually not lower but your outgoings are then spread evenly across the year) leaving you without the stress of big bill to pay without the money to pay it.

    Then if you want something start a pot for it, if you can’t afford to put any money in another pot then you cant afford the item

  40. judith eddington
    23 December, 2012 / 11:49 am

    a good money saver is to meal plan before the supermarket shop and then you waste less food

  41. Liz Griffin
    23 December, 2012 / 12:21 pm

    Give the children a basic amount of pocket money and make them save 10% of it in a saving account, They can then earn extra cash by doing chores around the house.

    23 December, 2012 / 2:25 pm

    Let them save for things they need and do small chores to earn money.

  43. Gul
    23 December, 2012 / 9:50 pm

    My girls are young but already i teach them about the value of money and make them appreciate what they have. even for xmas I explain they have to be good & kind to each other & to tidy up their toys/mess. When they are older I will let them earn pocket money by doing odd jobs for us, and if they want something they have to save up for it, or do an IOU plan with them

  44. Micky Ricketts
    23 December, 2012 / 9:54 pm

    My two children understand that money doesn’t grow on tree’s so if there is something that they really want then they have to save for it, they can earn extra money by doing some extra chores around the house, it makes the appreciate the thing they buy more as they’ve had to earn it!

  45. olivia kirby
    23 December, 2012 / 10:40 pm

    My son swaps and sells his computer games to get new ones.

  46. olivia kirby
    23 December, 2012 / 10:41 pm

    I tweeted this post. @olivia280177
    Cute purse!

  47. Julie Brooke
    23 December, 2012 / 11:44 pm

    I got my son a prepaid card as soon as he was 16 so that he could pay for purchases such as music and game downloads himself using his ‘own’ money. He has pocket money paid onto it monthly and once it’s gone its gone. He really thinks now before he downloads something

  48. Caroline H
    24 December, 2012 / 1:10 am

    Get the EBay habit for clothes and toys. There’s lots of great nearly new stuff that you’d you’d think twice about buying new at a great prices.

  49. 24 December, 2012 / 1:26 am

    do your homework on the grocery shopping websites to see what’s on offer before you venture out

  50. Rahela
    24 December, 2012 / 3:13 am

    I try the smart price/value/basics of everything going. I often don’t tell the kids or hubby and most of the time they don’t even notice. But my purse sure does!

  51. Rahela
    24 December, 2012 / 3:13 am

    I tweeted @rahelaa

  52. Karen
    24 December, 2012 / 8:35 am

    There seems to be so many events at school where children are encouraged to buy things, like books or bring and buy sales for charity. We contribute half and the other half comes from the children’s own money

  53. shelagh milne
    24 December, 2012 / 10:24 am

    Buy a savings box for your child that has the amount shown each time when more is added to the bank then show your child what that amount could buy

  54. Emma Thackery
    24 December, 2012 / 10:44 am

    Never go food shopping when you are hungry!

  55. Kerry Brown
    24 December, 2012 / 4:16 pm

    teach kids to have a boot sale to sell off their old toys to buy their new wanted toys

  56. Eleanor Powell
    24 December, 2012 / 4:50 pm

    let them do jobs around the house to earn their pocket money – you can start this at an early age. It teaches them alot especially when they want something and have to spend/save their hard earned pocket money to get it

  57. Ian Yates
    24 December, 2012 / 7:17 pm

    Get the whole family involved in eBaying. From browsing charity shopsandcar boots to wrapping. It can be fun,and help keep the unit tight.

  58. Ian Yates
    24 December, 2012 / 7:18 pm

    Have tweeted @deaddogsmoking

  59. Lottiegirl
    24 December, 2012 / 8:12 pm

    Find out when your local supermarket marks down the prices for expiring goods – you can get some amazing bargains!

  60. chris y
    24 December, 2012 / 9:09 pm

    A special ‘bank book’ where all pocket money and earnings gift money is written in, and then everything that is purchased is also itemised and a running balance kept. This is a great maths and book-keeping lesson, and also helps show how quickly money goes…

  61. 24 December, 2012 / 11:31 pm

    Playing shop is great for learning about money. Drawing up signs listing prices etc… Also, when my son is old enough I’ll get him to ‘pay’ when we go to the shops.

  62. Ruth Tesdale
    25 December, 2012 / 12:59 am

    If you have yogurts that are not getting used up make ice crea, from them

  63. 25 December, 2012 / 6:03 am

    Go to the supermarkets around 6-7pm when there are likely to be more discouts to save a good amount of money on food and get the children involved in adding up the cost so they can begin to understand the value of things.

  64. Lucy Dorrington
    25 December, 2012 / 10:41 am

    We make all our own greetings cards. It saves a lot of money over the year and shows the children that you don’t need to spend a lot to give something really special! X

  65. anthony lee
    25 December, 2012 / 11:26 am

    We have always kept the boxes that toys come in – – our daughter is now 10 years old and had learnt that selling toys she has finished with in the original packaging gets a far better price than those without it.

  66. 25 December, 2012 / 2:19 pm

    A good way is to make them do little odd jobs around the house and make them save up to buy things.

  67. 25 December, 2012 / 2:57 pm

    Give the children ‘choices’ about how to use their money – do they spend it or save it? How much do they spend? As long as you keep telling them how much money is worth, and what they can buy for themselves with it, you will equip them to make rational choices on their own!

    25 December, 2012 / 3:45 pm

    We read the electric and gas metres twice a month with our kids and they enter the figures on our suppliers website. They also work out how much via the calculator how much it has cost. The kids are more keen to switch lights off and conserve energy and they can see the less money spent on essentials the more money in the fun money box!

    25 December, 2012 / 4:30 pm

    Plan your weekly meals then you only need to buy what you need instead of aimlessly throwing stuff in the trolley and spending a fortune. You should have far less waste to.

  70. sharon williams
    25 December, 2012 / 5:07 pm

    my daughters nursery has a little play shop with real items for sale. they save up their pennies given to them from doing chores etc. and buy them there when they have enough.

  71. Becky Downey
    25 December, 2012 / 6:06 pm

    My son’s 5 but we plan monopoly. An easy way to learn how uncomfortable it is to have no cash!

  72. Sharon Bell
    25 December, 2012 / 9:16 pm

    The best tip I’ve had recently is never throw anything out before trying to sell them on Ebay, because one man’s junks is another man’s treasure! I have been really surprised at some of the things I have sold on there where I thought I would never get a penny!

  73. yasmine choudhry
    25 December, 2012 / 10:18 pm

    order free samples from the internet great way to save money and use cashback websites as you can earn money on them

  74. 25 December, 2012 / 11:04 pm

    Look out for items on the supermarket reduced shelf, you’ll usually find things that can be frozen at a drastically reduced price!

  75. Sharon Curran
    25 December, 2012 / 11:38 pm

    I’m currently teaching our son who is 22 months to put spare change away into his money box at the end of each day. I’m determined that he is going to understand the value of money and the importance of saving and working hard to get the things you want in life just like I was taught as a youngster.

    26 December, 2012 / 12:04 am


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