Back when I was 18, I went to uni, opened a student bank account and did that classic thing of spending into my overdraft (free money!) and running up credit card debts (more free money!). I spent my weekends buying ‘going out tops’ in Miss Selfridge… and bottles of Bacardi Breezer in the local Wetherspoons. Three years and £3000 of debt later, my parents helped me repay what I owed and I vowed to get on the financial straight and narrow.
I was really lucky that my folks could help me (they also gave me a HUGE talking to and made me realise how stupid I’d been) and actually, since then, on the whole, I’ve been sensible with money. It helps that Mr P, who I met around the same time as I cleared my debt, is super good with money and reigns me in any time I get grand ideas about making big purchases or booking extravagant holidays. “Do we really need some Eames-style chairs and a table from Made.com?” he’ll say. “Shall I just paint the cheap IKEA table and chairs we’ve had for eleven years?” He’s a keeper that one.
But I do think about the advice I’ll pass onto our daughter, as she gets older and gets pocket money, before eventually opening up her own current account…
- I’ll tell her that there is so much more joy in buying something that you’ve saved up for.
- I’ll tell her that while it’s tempting to buy on credit, if you don’t have the funds to pay it off, it can bring you a lot of stress and worry – and end up costing you more in the long run.
- I’ll tell her however that credit cards aren’t the root of all evil – it’s sensible to have one for emergencies, or even to spend on for daily purchases providing you can pay off the balance in full each month.
- I’ll tell her to read up on interest rates and foreign currency exchange rates – making small wins in these ways can make a big difference.
- Most of all though, I’ll tell her to be sensible, and that if she gets into any financial difficulty, she can always tell me about it.
What advice will you give your children about money?
This post was written in collaboration with TSB – for details of how I work with brands, see my Work With Me Page.