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How to make family saving fun

Hannah Duncan looks at seven tips to get your children to save money.

Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

This article is more than 6 months old

It was correct at the time of publishing. Our views and any references to tax, investment and pension rules may have changed since then.

Back in 1964, everyone’s favourite magical nanny, Mary Poppins glided onto our screens.

Full of wit and wisdom, she sang out, “You find the fun and SNAP – the job’s a game”.

Unfortunately, we can’t help with flying laundry or dancing chimney sweeps. But believe it or not, you can transform saving money into something special.

No matter what kind of personalities rule your household, here are seven top tips that don’t feel like saving at all.

This article is not personal advice. If you’re not sure what the best course of action is for your circumstances, please ask for advice.

1. For fashionistas

Got a fashion guru in your midst?

Staying up-to-date with seasonal styles and teenage must-haves can cost a small fortune for parents. But as any true fashion lover knows, the real trend-setters do it themselves.

Getting creative with an old sewing machine is thought to grow new brain cells, reduce stress and increase happiness. Inspiring your trendy teens to create their own unique outfits could slash your household spending too. TV programmes like Project Runway or Great British Sewing Bee could help to spark some fresh ideas.

2. For the exercise-mad

Swimming lessons, sports teams, season tickets, expensive kit … it can all add up.

But the real value in sport is the healthy exercise and having fun.

One idea to help could be to travel on foot, bike or roller skate whenever possible. Studies show that travel costs account for 13.7% of Brits’ household spending, averaging £80 each week. Committing to reduce just one or two transport costs a week could help to make a serious difference in your savings over time. But it also gets in the much needed exercise.

3. For politicians

Got a young Rishi Sunak in your household? They might be able to help you manage your family spending better than you think.

Handing over a little bit of responsibility can go a long way. Appoint your household members into Directors or Ministers and go through the family budget once a month at a round table. Feeling more involved could help your kids to get on board with saving plans and even come up with some great ideas of their own.

Better still, you could strike a deal with your older children that instead of paying for them, they’ll get a weekly or monthly allowance. Everything from school trips to socks must come out of their money. Money management can help teach teenagers valuable life skills and save you a small fortune.

4. For bookworms

Reading is a wonderful trait in young people, which nearly every parent is keen to encourage. However, the cost of all those novels and knowledge books can seriously add up over time, leaving your wallet with more than just a paper cut.

To help kids who have a passion for reading, sometimes the old ideas are the best – see if they like their local library. In most libraries you can request titles which will arrive in a few days, and you might even discover something new. It will keep your kids learning and likely save you a bucket load of cash.

5.For creatives

One word: Competitions. Whether you have a budding Picasso, young Gaudi or mini Shakespeare at home, there’s nearly always something they could enter.

Not only will it give you a completely spend-free afternoon of creative fun – you could get a free family meal or day trip if they win some prizes. Doing a quick search online should help you to find some good ones to enter.

Creative kids who can rustle up some homemade gifts or cards can also help you to put away the pennies. Brits will spend on average around £630 a year on gifts (excluding Christmas) for friends and family. So getting your crafty kids to pitch in could save you a package. And as we know with gifts, it’s the thought that really matters.

6. For foodies

If someone in your family has a taste for high-brow cuisine, instead of indulging in meals out, you could challenge them to cook for one day a week. Try clearing a shelf in the cupboard or fridge which is just for them and handing over a strict budget. After all, the best chefs don’t need expensive ingredients to make their food delicious. While you put your feet up on a Friday night, your talented teen might just cook up some healthy wonders in the kitchen, saving you stress and money.

Online you can usually find plenty of recipes on a shoestring budget. Learning how to cook independently is a great way to prepare your youngsters for college or university. It will also help your household to live off a student budget and rustle up some delicious savings.

7. For music lovers

Band t-shirts, Spotify subscriptions, concert tickets, posters, record players, limited vinyl, memorabilia... if this sounds like someone in your household, you’re probably familiar with the costs that come with them.

Luckily, there are some ways you can cut down this spending.

For musicians, lots of music sheets can be found online and printed, which could save parents a small fortune in music books. Second-hand marketplaces like eBay are also a great source for picking up pre-loved records, clothing and memorabilia – often at giveaway prices. It’s great for true fans as original tour t-shirts are much more authentic than high-street copies and can save a heap of money.

Give your children a head start with a Junior ISA

A Junior ISA (JISA) is a great way to use these extra savings to give our children a head start in life.

Once an account is set up, friends and family can easily add money online or by phone. You then get to choose where to invest it yourself. If you need any extra help you could always have a look at our investment ideas.

A Junior ISA is a practical way to plan and create a nest-egg for your child. Though once you add money to a JISA, it belongs to the child and can’t be repaid back to you. They can then access the money from age 18.

And when it comes to saving for the future, the earlier you start, the better.

For example, with a growth rate of 5% a year, after charges, if you started investing £30 a month when they’re born, your little one could have about £10,400 when they turn 18. If you wait until they’re ten years old to start, you’d need to be putting aside almost three times as much – £89 a month – to expect the same amount at 18.

These figures don’t take into account inflation – this could reduce the amount of goods and services money can buy in the future. And of course the amount you receive will depend on the performance of the investments you choose. The value of all investments can fall as well as rise so your child could get back less than you invest.


Hannah Duncan is an investment writer, and founder of Hannah Duncan Investment Content, with years of experience producing content for global leaders in finance and retail.

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    Important notes

    This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

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