When BattleDad and I took the decision to try for a baby, the one thing I promised myself is that we would start a savings account for them as soon as we could. Even if it was just a few bob each month, it would amount to a nice little sum by the time they turned 18, or whenever we deem it the appropriate time to hand it over to them.
I guess this mentality stems from how my parents handle things financially. They’ve always been savers and always put money away for, in their own words, “a rainy day, just-in-case”. They are by no means rich, nor are they skin-flints. Where money has needed to be spent, they’ve done it wisely and saved where they could. Take the recent home improvements they’ve done. Each room they have redone or redecorated has had at least 3 quotes for those jobs too big for my Dad to do. They enjoy annual holidays to Portugal, a new thing in our family as we never went abroad on holiday as a family before the 2000’s as we couldn’t afford it, yet even with that they watch what they spend and stick to a daily budget. At home they are also careful with their spending and shop around for things like clothes, food and household goods. Dad is retired but he worked like a dog all his like, and in particular in his 50’s when he spent more time in civil-war Angola than he did in Ireland. He went contracting there to save for his daughter’s university fees. However, Ireland had scraped university fees by the time we came to go which meant our parents managed to retain their hard earned savings and invested it wisely. Mum, on the other hand, still works as she was a late starter when it came to a career other than being a mum. She still enjoys her job and with her wages they are comfortable, but they still save every month.
BattleMum takes after her mum, in that I am a bargain hunter and not having my finances in order does not still well with me. I try to save money where I can but still enjoy the odd indulgence or two like some new clothes/shoes (don’t tell BattleDad about the shoes), and also a nice holiday each year. But when it comes to BattleKid, BattleDad and I want to give him everything we possibly can, and that includes a nest egg for when he comes of age. It will either cover his university fees so he comes out with a degree debt-free as I did, or he can put it towards a deposit on a house if he takes another route into a career path. However, he is not going to know about it until we think he is responsible enough to use it appropriately, so don’t go blabbing reader when he’s older haha!
With that in mind, I opened a bank account in BattleKid’s name last April and we started saving the maximum we could. We have a monthly standing order set up so money goes in and with it not linked to our own bank account, we don’t see it nor even think about it. So much so that when I checked the balance on BattleKid’s account in-branch recently, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the balance read back to me. As long as we are in the position to do so, we will keep saving into his account, and by the time he is 18, on the same monthly amount, he will have a very nice nest-egg to get him started in life.
I also want to ensure we teach him the value of money and that it takes hard work and effort to earn it. For this I have opened a separate account in his name with another bank for BattleKid, in which I currently deposit things like:
- Money he receives from family and friends for his birthday and Christmas.
- Money from his little silver bear money box in his room. I put £1 coins in this, as and when I think about it, and bank the money when it gets full.
- Money from our coin jar. We have an empty jar at home which we throw our loose change into. Again, I count this out when it gets full and I’ve now taken to banking it into BattleKid’s other account.
Although this account isn’t saved into regularly, it has a nice little starting balance to it so far, and it is one which I plan to give BattleKid access to before he is 18 so that he can learn about saving and managing money. I want him to learn the way I did when I was younger. My parents provided everything for us but there was a limit to it. For instance, when I was 14 or 15 I wanted trendy runners (trainers), not the cheaper ones we were usually bought by Mum and Dad. However, with 4 children, they simply couldn’t afford the £60 price tag for one pair for one child. So I was told if I wanted them I would have to pay for them myself. How was I meant to do that? We got a small allowance from our aunts and uncles (Dad’s unmarried siblings) but I’d be saving forever for them!
So, with help from Mum, I got myself a little babysitting job. almost every Saturday night for 4-5 hours, i’d babysit two lovely girls and I started earning £7 per night to add to my allowance. I saved for three months and I had enough I bought my first pair of branded trainers, a pair of Reebok Hexalite runners. And I LOVED them! I wore them to death until they literally feel apart about 4 years later!
But my parents did the right thing in teaching me to save for what I wanted. I saved for all my own branded runners and clothes after that, while still appreciating the things my parents still bought for me. And that is my hope for BattleKid. He’ll get an allowance from us when he starts helping out at home and we will encourage him to save his money towards things he really wants. We’ll encourage him to save at home or in his bank account when he’s old enough, and when he has saved up, he can buy things he wants for himself.
We also want to encourage him to shop around for the best price or for bargains. As mentioned I’m a bargain hunter and BattleDad and I both shop around for good prices, me more so but BattleDad is getting better at it. i must be rubbing off on him haha! But hopefully BattleKid will learn from us and follow in our footsteps.
There are other things BattleDad and I are doing or plan to do in the future to ensure a good start in life for BattleKid, but what we’ve done so far is a good starting point either way I think. Have you started saving for your little one(s)? Do you plan to if you haven’t had a chance yet? All it takes is to visit the bank you have an account with, and their birth certificate, and it can be set up in a few minutes. From there you can save regularly, or as and when you can afford to, but it will all add up in the long term. You never know, you might be able to cover their university fees or give me them a start towards the deposit for their own home. Now wouldn’t that be nice.