Wednesday 18 September 2019

'How do I get my child (8) to save - rather than spend - first Communion money?'

Children can receive a significant amount of money for their Communion.
Children can receive a significant amount of money for their Communion.

Aine Carroll - Director of Communications with the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (

All your questions answered.

Question: My son has great plans for how he is going to spend the money he received for his first Communion. I, on the other hand, see this as a golden opportunity to help him develop the habit of saving money. Do you have any tips on how to encourage him to start saving? Karen, Balbriggan, Co Dublin

Answer: One of the best ways to help children learn about managing money is to open a savings account. Check what documentation you will need to bring to open the account. This may include proof of identity (your son will need to provide a passport or birth certificate in his own name), address verification - like a letter on headed paper from his school confirming he's a pupil of that school and confirming your home address, and proof of his Personal Public Service (PPS) number. You may also need to provide proof of your identity if you are being named on the account.

To help your son understand why it's important to save, why not sit down and agree a savings goal. It could be a short-term goal, like a new toy or jersey. Longer-term goals might be saving for a new bike or money for summer holidays. You could think about letting him spend some of his money from time to time on something he has his eye on - a treat as a reward will keep him motivated and make saving fun.

Managing money day-to-day is far removed from the world of an eight-year-old. To keep him interested, involve him in every-day budgeting decisions. Take him grocery shopping now and again and explain you have a set budget. Show him how to check prices of items and let him add it up as you go along. Explain that using coupons and special offers helps to keep within your budget. If you go over your budget, ask him for suggestions on what to do next. All of these little steps will help him to develop an understanding of budgeting, why it's important and what steps can be taken if you exceed your budget.

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