Last week at the debt advice charity we were working with a local community group to discuss debt, budgeting and share experiences of financial hardship. On Monday we received an email from a girl who attended the event with her mother. The story provides an insight into how children begin to understand the concept of money and we found it fascinatingly honest and worth sharing on our blog.

The family agreed to share the story, however we have changed the girl’s name.

My Life with Money

My name is Lynn and I am 12 years old. Every week my gran gives me £5 pocket money and I always try to save it, but somehow manage to spend it. Whether I spend it on clothes or makeup or shoes etc.. I always do spend it!

When I was little I wouldn’t say I didn’t get much, although I did and my parents had great jobs and could always provide food and everything for me and my sister, we also got a lot of treats. Maybe not as soon as I was born, but by the time I was 5 my mum had her own business and my dad had a very stable job and still does today. When I was little I didn’t really worry that much about money, I didn’t really need to, that’s what the older people did. To be fair I didn’t really know about money, I didn’t understand that to get a new toy mum and dad had to work, I didn’t understand the fact that you had to buy food and toys and clothes. My parents didn’t really care, obviously I didn’t get everything, but I got a few treats here and there. It was always equal between my sister and me, although it didn’t seem that way because of the 5 year age gap, but it was always fair.

My sister is 5 years older than me and when she started secondary school she got the chance to go to France and I always felt it unfair as she’s allowed and I’m not, but now I am at the secondary I had the privilege to go on the France trip the same as she went.

As I grew older I began to understand the concept of money but still not really the fact of working and would ask mum for money and not really think, or understand, the effort that has been put in to earning it. I still wouldn’t class myself as the smartest with money, maybe I don’t put it to the best of its ability and I could save it up, but I can’t keep money I always feel the need to spend it as soon as I get it.

When I was eight my mum and dad announced to me and my sister that we were moving out of our small semi detached house and into a large 3 floor house with a lot more rooms and space to do what you like in, at first we didn’t really like the fact of moving, leaving our friends and where we grew up, it felt like a massive distance between the houses but they were only 10 minutes apart.

My whole life we had pets, hamsters, dogs, budgies, fish, rabbits etc.. When I was younger I didn’t realize that food, cages, toys and everything all added up to a lot of money but I understand now. We still do have pets just I think about the cost more.

Growing up my parents always had fancy cars but when i was nine the credit crunch started and everything started to change. We had lived in our new house for about a year and my mum was driving an Audi and everything was great, school, friends, work. My mum’s work had moved to a better place. But when the credit crunch advanced and became more outstanding everything started to change, we had to sell the car, and we stopped getting as much, even the amount of groceries we bought decreased. The quality of things, all the little things was changing, the toilet paper, the soap, the lemonade, the oranges, but i didn’t really care, to be fair I didn’t really notice. We used to always go on holiday and the best holiday we could get was a small caravan holiday. After a while my mum’s business started going down and she was acting strange. My sister’s boyfriend would always fly up from London and even going to the airport she would panic and hide. After about 6 months the business went bust and my mum was out of work. My dad was fine and he has always had the same job, but he worked a lot more after my mum’s business went bust so we could pay the bills and everything. Around Christmas time I would hardly see my dad for the amount of time he was working, I got to see my mum because she didn’t have a job which was great because she used to work full time. My mum is now back working again.

My parents try their hardest to treat my sister and I but we do understand the fact that now everything has changed and we can’t get everything. Me and my sister are both very unique for the fact we don’t follow the crowds, not only are we unique our parents are too, if our parents didn’t work so hard we wouldn’t have a good story to tell. Also, most importantly we wouldn’t be here today.

Advice

Debt and money advice is available over the telephone and internet from Debt Support Trust while face to face advice is free from the Citizens Advice Bureau.