Does teaching children good financial habits involve buying World Cup stickers?

A study suggest children are better at saving than adults.
Picture: thinkstockphotos

A study suggest children are better at saving than adults. Picture: thinkstockphotos - Credit: PA

Thrifty living, with Sheena Grant

As half term gets under way parents might be well advised to ask their children for a sub when it comes to paying for expenses in the week ahead.

A study by pocket money and chore-tracking app RoosterMoney suggests children have saved 24.9% of their pocket money so far this year - far better than adults, who, according to the latest Money Charity statistics, are only managing to save 5.3% of their income.

I don’t think we should be surprised by this. Children have long been adept at getting their parents to shell out for all kinds of things while they somehow squirrel away their pocket money.

It happens in my own household too. But one thing I refuse to part with additional cash for is World Cup football stickers, being collected by children across the country for the princely sum of 80p for five cards. That doesn’t sound a lot but in fact, it would cost more than £100 to buy all the stickers needed to fill an album. Sticker collecting may be fun, but if we had £100 to spare how many of us would blow it in this way?

RoosterMoney points out that engaging children with money from a young age is key to building good financial habits, especially since a 2013 study suggested adult money habits are set by the age of seven.

Financial expert Gill Fielding, who founded the charity Money Mum, reckons all children start off liking money because it looks like treasure so the secret to getting them into the savings habit is to keep that magic alive for as long as possible.

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“Encourage your children to play with money - to hide it, count it; and if they do want to spend it, encourage them to spend it with a purpose,” she says. “The more they think about it, the less they’ll do it. Put some money in a savings pot and pay them notional interest (at a reasonably high rate) each week or month. In our family, we had a 50/50 rule that any birthday money or larger sums were split (between savings and spending).”

I wonder if she also had a ‘no sticker’ rule, although, having said that, since pointing out just how all those 80p packs add up, those stickers have become a little less attractive, in my house at least.

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