Notes on Pocket Money


Money and boys is a limitlessly torturous combination. What could be worse than an indecisive, under-financed eight-year-old in a shop full of toys? Possibly an over-stimulated, furious, tractor-weilding younger brother. Or both, screeching in unison as you bolt for refuge in haberdashery. In trying to give my older boys an understanding of the value of money, I introduced the idea of pocket money (£2 per week) and it has got me exactly nowhere, bar intermittent trawlings of Poundland, and routine fury. These days they save, or rather we all forget, for months on end, and then I am suddenly, without warning, held for ransom for an Ipod Touch. The whole thing is impossible and I would whole-heartedly recommend steering well clear for as long as you can. I wish I had.

If you do give them money, make sure they have something very good to store it in. I had thought our best were two terracotta piggie banks from Brazil, given to the older ones when they were tiny, when the only currency money had was its potential suck/ choke value. Last weekend they went under the hammer (literally) as the nagging was starting to gnaw away at the potential enjoyment of just about anything done as a family. The haul from the middle one’s far out-weighed his brother’s: cue mumbled confessions about stealing loose change, moral outrage, fighting, and raging arguments about ownership, crime, and punishment.

As I said, best avoided, but if for the  sado-masichists out there, here are three of the best money boxes I have come across in my research for my column:

Better still, go to the bank and get some plastic coin bags for free…

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