We have recently undertaken a crafty creation here at Villa Lancaster having been set the challenge to decorate a paper mache piggy bank by Thinkmoney. The winning piggy bank will receive £200 to kick-start their savings with their piggy bank!

So it was time to think money and talk money with my little people. When it comes to life skills – reading, writing, numeracy and interpersonal communication, these skills all have a presence on the curriculum taking our children from early years through to adulthood. Since September 2014 financial education is now included for children from 11-16 year olds however research shows that three quarters of parents would like financial education to start in primary school. Given that in the UK we educate our youth into debt from age 18 should they choose to go to university isn’t it appropriate to educate them at the earliest opportunity about debt – how to save and avoid debt, how to manage debt and how to get out of debt?

My eldest H is very considered with his money, he saves and is very selective with his spending (he does not get this from me!) My daughter, Diva G, age very nearly 6 years old, is a big fan of shopping and finds money burns a hole in her pocket (I am guilty as charged!)  As she and I were decorating the piggy bank we talked about money, saving and financial tips I hope she would consider in life. The financial tips I’d like my children to grow up with are:

1. Earning comes first
To have money to save you have to first earn money by working. Grown ups have jobs, children can undertake tasks and chores at home to earn money.

2. Want or need?
There is a difference between wanting and needing something. Really ask yourself do I need this item? Do I have something similar or something else I could use instead? Could I borrow it from someone?

3. Keep focussed
Focus on what it is you really want, if it is expensive you will have to wait before you can buy something, putting it in a piggy bank or savings account will stop you spending your money on things you don’t need or want less and help you save for the special thing you really do want. We created a mini vision board by our piggy bank as a reminder and to keep front of mind the item being saved for. (Diva G got rather carried away with items and has several years of saving up ahead of her!)

4. Compare prices
At nearly 6 years old Miss G doesn’t really have any concept of what things actually cost but we talked about how different shops and stores online charge the different prices for the same thing. We also talked about how not everything needs to be new and pre-loved eBay purchases means money goes further. We use our technology to always look around for the lowest price. Always try to buy for the lowest price, why spend more when you don’t have to? Always check online and always ask yourself would it cost less somewhere else?

5. Give generously
There is more than your own self to consider when it comes to money and life in its broader sense. Spend, save or give to those who have less than you do. It’s important to me that my children recognise that they have so much already and actually don’t need more … Barbie, Frozen, Lego, whatever their current desire is. Learning to be content with what you have and to those who have less than you is just as valid a choice for the pennies in their hot little hands.

G and I both love a spot of decopatch so we set to with paper, brushes and glue. The paper we chose was printed with travel visa stamps and also tickets for the theatre, cinema, fairs, circus, festivals etc. I chose these to reinforce that travel, adventure, day trips etc all cost money. We have to save to be able to spend money on these things. Like many I book the majority of things online and therefore the cost of the cinema, the bowling, the holiday are all invisible to them because they don’t witness a transaction.

Here’s how our piggy bank decoration took shape.

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Diva G was keen to show you her piggy bank and tell you what she has learnt about saving. Did all those words of advice sink in?! Have a watch, is Diva G on a path of considered spending and saving? You tell me … and yes that is one mother of a birthday wish list, the kid can dream!

For the purpose of this post we were sent a paper mache piggy bank and a £30 Hobbycraft voucher for materials. All tips, opinions and views are my own.