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Pocket money needs to be earned

When I was younger, I was lucky enough to get pocket money but it all had to be earned.

From memory, me and my brother got 50p a week and for that we had to keep our rooms tidy, but could earn extra on top of that; a bit like overtime (if only we got that these days).

We’d get 10p for every extra job we did – washing up, drying up, helping wash the car, vacuuming the house, helping dad service or repair the car, essentially any household chores.

We thought we were the lucky ones – some of our friends got nothing at all.

Balancing the budget
Balancing the budget

That money went up as we got older and the cost of living rose (teenage magazines and sweets are never cheap) but we never got a fortune.

Firstly, mum and dad couldn’t afford it but even if they could have done, I doubt we would have been showered with cash.

They knew the importance of learning the value of a quid (which was quite a bit back then) and it did give us a sense of not only what something was worth, but that treats were earned, and usually through hard work.

If I wanted something out of the ordinary, I never remember mum and dad saying no, just that they wouldn’t buy it.

If I wanted another rah-rah skirt of sparkly deely-boppers on top of the ones I already had, mum would buy it but then I would have to pay her back a little out of my pocket money each week.

It made me stop and think about whether I did really want it that much – £10 was a lot to pay off over a long time when you’re only getting £2 a week.

Research by credit checking company Experian has found that 85% of parents who hand out pocket money say their children do not always have to do anything in return for it.

Isn’t that missing the point? Surely the whole point of pocket money is to teach children about rewards, and how a good work ethic pays off.

Surprises are a different thing, but money for nothing every week surely becomes the norm and stops it being a treat?

The average amount parents now fork out weekly is £8.07 (enjoy that 7p, kids) but some just hand cash over when asked.

That doesn’t seem right to me, and Dragons’ Den star Sarah Willingham agrees – she is a firm believer that pocket money should be “earned not expected”.

The businesswoman, and mum of four, has worked with Experian to develop a free app called Jangle, to help children aged between seven and 11 to develop money skills (you can find out more about this at our new website, mykentfamily.co.uk).

Sarah said: “If you’re given a pound and then you go and spend that pound, it’s very different to if you’ve spent half an hour sweeping leaves.”

She’s right. You don’t get anything for free in this world, apart from apps, maybe, but if you want a smartphone to look at them you’ve got to start saving your pennies.

I’m really worried.

It’s three weeks since Easter, and I’m still only a quarter of the way through my egg.

I haven’t gone off the stuff, far from it, but instead am sated after a couple of bites and am savouring the flavour when I do tuck in.

Or maybe I’ve just changed my weekend passion for gin and cake.

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