Yesterday, while listening to the radio I heard an interesting Barclays Bank advert. They suggested that parents should pay by cash when they are out with their family. In fact, they went a step further by asking you to get your child to pay with cash. Their suggestion would teach children the value of buying items and how to use money correctly.

As a teacher I have noticed a continual decline of our children’s understanding of money; including the value of items and the need to save. Some young people spend money easily and believe that funds will continuously to be available. When they see their parents paying by alternative payment methods they do not associate the transaction with the money leaving the account. Hence the belief that money is unlimited.  Although, looking at my own spending habits I too often pay by card and very rarely carry cash. As a child, I remember having cash for pocket money, saving most of it. Nowadays, many children do not save their pocket money for larger items.

So, the question needs to be asked, how can we emphasise to our children the value of money?

Personally I like Barclay’s advice, encouraging children to work with the actual coins and notes; waiting for the change, if needed, and checking it before they leave the counter. Surely this is a worthy and important skill to learn; however, is this necessary for the future? Admittedly, we will be a cashless society sooner rather than later. So with banks closing and online banking a way of life, why do we need to teach them about cash?

I challenge you all to ask yourselves, do you believe that using cash is no longer required, or do we still need to teach and demonstrate how to use and save money effectively. If you believe the latter then good news, banks are now offering advice and games to help children reconnect with money. Examples of these are on the Barclays and Natwest websites for everyone to access.

Whatever your personal belief I think we will still be using cash for quite a few more years to come. So it is vital to protect our children by providing them with the knowledge to be successful with money.