This week’s prompt is: Your Relationship With Money
1) At what age do you remember handling your own money?
I remember being given pocket money at quite a young age, probably around six years old. I have some memories of mum helping me to buy things at the shop, choosing what I wanted and taking it to the counter to pay for it.
2) Did you have a piggy bank to add coins to?
I had many money boxes over the years, one of them may have been a piggy bank. My favourite one was made of tin and was a lithograph of a dog in a kennel. You pressed a lever I think to make him stick his tongue out to put your coin on. I also had one that was really more of a vending machine as you put a penny in and pulled out a drawer to get a tiny chocolate bar. Later, in Australia I had a Commonwealth Bank tin money box. I think everyone must have had one of these as we often see them in antique shops now. However, I also remember keeping money in an old Nesquik tin when I was a bit older as you couldn’t put notes into a money box.
3) Did you get an allowance and/or get paid for doing chores?
Mum gave us pocket money but although she expected us to keep our rooms tidy it was not tied to doing chores. Sometimes she would give something extra if we’d done an out of the ordinary chore. When we lived at our aunt and uncle’s house in the first year or two of being in Australia, we kids were asked to plant sprigs of grass in the backyard to start a lawn. Mum gave all of us, Naomi and I and our cousins, some money for that. It was probably about 50c each but that seemed a big deal back then. It’s funny how 5 shillings in the old money sounds like more than 50c but it was about the same.
4) How did you earn money for things you wanted?
I generally didn’t have to. I saved my pocket money and sometimes there would be birthday or Christmas money.
5) Did you have jobs outside your house to earn money? What did you do?
6) Were you more of a spender or a saver as a kid?
I was a bit of a saver, I think. It was explained to me when I was quite young that if I saved up some of my pocket money each week, I’d be able to buy things myself. I did spend some money of course. I remember going to the local shops to buy a book or a paper doll book sometimes after getting my pocket money.
7) Were you aware of the financial situation your parents were raising you in?
I was. I understood that we didn’t have a lot of money. Mum always tried to make sure we got the things we really wanted but that she couldn’t get us everything. I actually think we did pretty well. I knew mum was raising us on social security and that it was most important to pay the rent, the bills and buy food. When I was a bit, older there was sometimes a bad week when I would give her what I had saved to get us through. She nearly always put it back when things were better.
8) Did you understand the difference between needs and wants when it came to asking your parents for things?
Yes, I did, especially as I grew older. I knew our needs, food, clothing, a roof over our heads, had to come first. If we really wanted a particular toy or game that was a bit more expensive, we understood we would have to wait for Christmas or a birthday and there was a possibility we would not get it. But as I said mum always managed somehow.
9) Did you ever “save up” for a special item that you wanted? What was it?
When I was maybe six or seven, I remember seeing a set of model cyclists in a shop window and I really wanted them. I think they were more than ten shillings but I saved up for them over several weeks. The local shop would hold things for you if you put down a deposit so I think I probably did that. I also bought a costume doll which I still have by saving up for her.
10) Did you have a savings account as a child?
Yes, when I was at school there were school savings accounts and most kids had one. You would take your money to school once a week and someone from the bank would come to collect it. It was always fun to see the stamp in your passbook and the numbers getting bigger.
These days this type of arrangement is considered to be exploiting kids. Maybe the way it is done changed over the years but I found it to be a good introduction to saving money. When I left school, I had quite a few dollars in the bank and I changed my account to an adult one which I used all the time I lived in South Australia.
11) Was there anything you routinely spent your own money on when growing up?
As I mentioned I bought books, paper dolls, and clothes for my fashion dolls fairly regularly. I also liked to save money to buy Christmas and birthday presents for people myself rather than mum giving me the money to get something. I also saved to go to events like the Royal Adelaide Show so that I’d have money for rides or showbags.