Too broke to save? Lessons from childhood saving


Before I start this post I should say that I’m very aware that times are extremely hard for most people at the moment. Inflation is eating into wages, energy prices are on the rise and many of us simply have less money to spend than we used too. If we’ve got less to spend then also stands to reason that we’ve got less to save and I’m guessing a lot of people feel that they’re too broke to save anything at all. As much as I can understand that reasoning during such tough financial times, I was reminiscing back to my childhood today and remembered a little financial habit that really illustrates that very few people are so broke that they can’t save anything at all.

A little goes a long way

When I was younger I – like almost every other child – received a small amount of pocket money from my parents. There was always one rich kid at school who got about 4 times more than I did but we’ll save that conversation for another day. Anyway, on top of my regular weekly pocket money my parent also set up a building society savings account for both me and my sister. Into that account went a measly £5 a month.

Nowadays most people are able to open savings accounts online but this was back in the day when you had to physically go into the building society with a passport sized account book to withdraw your cash and because the building society was in another town I basically had no access to that money and quickly forgot about it, until Summer time! Every summer we went on holiday as a family and the forgotten about savings book came out of the cabinet draw. If you’ve been doing your maths as you read this post you’ll have figured out by now that by the time our family holiday came around my sister and I both had an instant £60 of spending money to take away with us on holiday. Not bad for a couple of kids in the early 90’s! Sometimes we had an even nicer surprise when we found out that my mum had added a few extra fivers along the way.

Could you save just a little each Month?

I think that most people would take the view that saving just 5 or 10 pounds per month is pointless but my childhood experience would say otherwise. If you’re struggling financially and have managed to scrape together the money to book a short holiday, spending money for the kids is the last thing you’ll want to be worrying about. Wouldn’t it be great to know that you had some money stashed away in a savings account?

Start Today

Most people have now had their summer holiday which makes today the perfect time to start saving for next year. In such a low interest rate environment it’s best to do your research and find the best rates to ensure your money is working hard for you. If you’re unsure of which savings account is right for your needs then companies like Birmingham Midshires Savings can advise you about the different types of ISA’s and easy access accounts available, as well as fixed rate bonds depending on what you’re saving for and how much access you need to your money.

11 Responses to Too broke to save? Lessons from childhood saving

  1. FI Pilgrim says:

    When I was a kid my dad made me “budget” my allowance, a portion of which went to savings. It didn’t amount to much, but it taught me not to think of my money as “spending money” only. It was a great lesson on responsibility!

  2. dojo says:

    I know many people who make LITTLE and yet are able to save, while we used to complain that we can’t do it, with salaries that were way bigger. Just save. 5 bucks today, 2 tomorrow, it all adds up 😉

  3. I think that the best way to start saving is what you are suggesting. Just start right now and put away $10. You probably won’t notice it’s gone. Keep doing that. Once you are used to that $10 not being there, increase it little by little and it will work the same way – you will barely notice that money is gone and will adjust to spending less money without realizing it.

  4. We do have an all or nothing kind of mindset that sometimes prevents us for seeing how even saving a few dollars adds up over time. Plus, even more importantly, it creates a savings mindset. So many people get in the habit of spending every penny of their paycheck. The simple act of having your children set aside a portion of money they earn or receive can help instill a great life-long habit.

  5. I’m definitely with you here. I think that people who don’t earn much can still find a way to save…something. That’s the key.

  6. CF says:

    I never received an allowance. But Brian and I still do the small savings for certain purchases. For example, our new couch was purchased from money we had saved up in an envelope by adding $5 whenever we had a bit of cash on hand.

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