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Seven tips for teaching kids about money

calendar11 July 2021

Author: Claire Wong

Seven tips for teaching kids about money

We all know how important it is to handle money well. It’s one of those essential life skills that we all need. But when it comes to teaching kids about money, where do you start? It can be daunting to decide what age to start your child’s financial education, let alone what you need to cover.

Well, we asked the parents at CAP’s head office to share their favourite strategies for teaching kids about money management. Here’s what they had to say about making sure their own children are prepared for the future.


1. Encourage a healthy attitude towards money

There are lots of practical lessons to learn about money, and we’ll cover those too, but a great place to start is to encourage children to have a healthy attitude towards money.

‘We've been teaching our four about money from their earliest days (our eldest is now seven). So far we've tried to show them what money is (i.e. a tool), what it's for (i.e. it serves a purpose, it's not something to acquire for its own sake) and that it's important to be in control of it - rather than be controlled by it.’ - James Ross, Specialist Debt Advisor


2. Let them see how you plan your finances

Kids learn by watching and copying their parents, so why not show them what you already do? If you have a budget written up somewhere, or use an app to keep track of your finances, let your children see that you’re putting time and effort into managing your money. They’re likely to remember that when making their own decisions in the future.

‘We showed our children (13 and 7) our budgeting spreadsheets to explain how we count up our income and work out things like regular spending and savings, using a bit of the CAP Money principles.’ - Paul Walmsley, Energy Relationship Manager

3. Talk to them about budgeting

Sometimes it’s important for us to be reminded that it’s OK not to be able to buy our kids everything they want. It can even be an important learning opportunity for them. So don’t be afraid to talk about budgets, and the fact that money is a finite resource to be used wisely.

‘I involved my daughters in talks about money from about 10/11. As a single parent, I needed them to understand that if I couldn't afford it, then throwing a strop wasn't going to change things! We talked budgets and savings, and they had pocket money to decide what to do with. They now both have mortgages, and my eldest now has a daughter of her own, so managing her budget to cover everything they need, including nursery fees, has been a bit easier as she's used to it.’ - Helen Ganney, Team Manager 


4. Let them practise handling their own money with an app

When we asked our staff what they did to give their kids some money skills, one thing that got mentioned a lot was the GoHenry app. Here’s what parents said about it:

‘We opened a Go Henry account initially for our daughter at 10/11. It’s a loaded up debit card which got her used to keeping an eye on her pocket money, deciding what to spend it on and also using pin numbers/bank machines etc. She's moved onto a junior bank account now that she’s nearly 15 but the transition was smooth because of the training period!’ - Alice Smith, Head of Mission

‘I also use GoHenry with my kids. I have it set up that they get a fixed amount each week. They can then give to charity and set up saving on there. It's a great way of teaching them to budget and manage their money well. My son is learning to check what money he has on the app before buying something with the bank card. He can also see quickly and easily how much he has saved up. As a parent you can set up spending limits on it and you get a notification every time they spend money which is really helpful too.’ - Charis Scott, Scotland Promotion and Engagement Manager


5. Help them learn to save up for the things they really want

As it gets easier and easier to ‘buy now, pay later’, one really useful skill to teach our kids is how and why to save up their money.

‘We have involved our lad in money conversations from a young age. When he wanted to buy a particular toy, and we thought it 'cheap and tatty' we would discuss whether it was worth it. Then agree to wait a couple of weeks, save his pocket money and buy a better version of it. He got a better toy, and learned the value/reward of money and saving. At 15 years old now, and up every morning for his paper round,  he does this for himself and assesses what he wants, how best to buy it and shopping for best deals. Oh yes, he also has more savings than me too!’ - Steve Camps, Senior Debt Advisor


6. Pocket money can be a useful tool

If your family does pocket money, this can be a great way to practise those saving principles mentioned in the last point.

‘We have a 9 year old and have done pocket money for two or three years. It really helped with the asking for things because the standard reply is, “yes, you can save for it with your pocket money”. Having pocket money teaches her so much like the value of money and that if you are patient, you can save for what you want or by then realise you didn't want it so much and get something else.’ - Nathan Davies, Debt Advisor


7. Give them some responsibility to choose how money gets spent

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of giving kids a bit of (age-appropriate) responsibility. If they’re old enough to understand budgeting, why not put them in charge of deciding what to buy for pudding this weekend, or for a day out with the family?

‘Involving my boys in key decisions has always been a priority for us, for example, when on holiday we would always talk openly about our holiday budget and make it clear this is a finite amount,  we would then allocate each boy a 'decision day' and they could decide on what to spend the money on such as going out for a meal or doing an activity.’ - Simon Willett, RDI Project Manager


So there you have it: seven ideas for teaching kids about money so that they grow up equipped and confident to manage their finances. Have you tried any of these strategies with your own children? Do you remember what your own parents taught you about money? Let us know what has worked well for you.

For more tips on managing money, have a look at our CAP Money Course, which includes versions for young people.

Debt and alcohol: a second chance

calendar24 June 2021

Author: hayleytearall

At Christians Against Poverty, our local-church-based centres empower over 2,000 people to get out of debt every year.

Behind every number is a real person with a real story of hope and transformation. Peter is one of those people. Struggling with debt and alcohol, Peter felt hopeless and stuck in a rut.

But with Allan and Duncan (from his local CAP Debt Centre in Inverness) and Josh (CAP head office) supporting him throughout his journey, he found that debt and alcohol began to loosen their grip.

Peter is hugely grateful for all the practical help Allan provided as he navigated the struggles that debt and alcohol brought. He particularly appreciated how Allan provided a couch and kitchen appliances when he moved into his new flat.

This is Peter’s story.

Debt and alcohol: Peter's story

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Hi, I’m Peter. I’m 45 years old and I have just been given my bankruptcy letter of discharge after 1 year. This has been a huge weight off my shoulders and my life has been given a much needed boost in the right direction.

I now have my own flat, with my 2 girls staying over regularly. I've had great support from family and friends, but I'm writing this to give special thanks to the good people at CAP. And especially to Allan Dunbar, Duncan Dundas and Joshua, (whom I never met but shared emails). Here is my story.

Around 2018-19 I was living the dream. A good relationship with my partner, (although cracks were starting to appear), a successful high paying career, and I was living well beyond my means. I would take lots of holidays, a flash car, but my main problem, (which would lead to me losing everything), was alcohol. My partner warned me I was getting worse and my denial of the problem led to us separating.

It didn't end there. I was getting into more rows with my boss, hot-headed as usual, and when I hit a run of bad luck with a train breakdown, I was sacked by my boss for missing a flight check-in.

I didn't appeal. I was already in a rut and I felt hopeless. I had no fixed address, (except postal), and I ended up in a temporary refuge, (with a few other ‘interesting’ people). I was still drinking. My now apparent financial problems were clear to see, though I still didn't know what to do.

Then my work coach Morna at Universal Credit gave me a leaflet for Christians Against Poverty. I'd never heard of them, but after some dithering, I came into contact with Allan. I didn't know what to expect because I didn't see how he could help.

Through my time with Allan, and being guided and encouraged, I found it easier to talk to him and I opened up more. I felt the same after being introduced to Duncan, (who I keep in contact with often), and they helped me focus and to help myself and keep myself busy. After 6 months in contact with them, I found myself working hard at staying sober, I slowly became more responsible. It was easy to hide the alcohol side of my life before to family and friends, but I since realised this was due to being in denial and ashamed to admit to them I had a problem.

That's why I felt more comfortable talking with Allan and Duncan. What I find remarkable is I went to CAP for financial help and I received help that I didn't have the strength in me to ask for. They say it's easier talking to a stranger about your problems. Well the people at CAP made me realise I had 1 problem, alcohol, and everything else came from that. And CAP, Allan and Duncan didn't even mention alcohol, just their time spent helping me and supporting me led me to draw my own conclusions. I do struggle with faith but I have to admit I have been given a second chance, and I want to sincerely thank all involved at CAP and for the wonderful work you do.

Get free local debt help today

Whether your story, like Peter’s, involves debt and alcohol, or your own debt story looks different, you could start your journey out of debt today.

Call our Freephone helpline (0800 328 0006) or find out more about how we can help you.

The impact of writing a letter: update from our Simplify the Solution campaign

calendar09 June 2021

Author: Claire Wong

The impact of writing a letter: update from our Simplify the Solution campaign

You might remember that earlier this year, we were asking people in England and Wales to write to their MPs. We were campaigning to improve the Debt Relief Order (DRO) so that more people on low incomes have a realistic way to become debt free. Today we’re back to update you on the impact you had by joining that campaign.

But first, a quick reminder in case you’re not sure what a DRO is

We understand that not everyone gets as excited about routes out of debt as we do, so here's a recap! If someone’s in so much debt that they have no realistic hope of repaying it, there are options to have those debts written off, sometimes using your assets (like a car or property) towards the costs. The best-known option is bankruptcy. But bankruptcy costs £680 in England and Wales. What do you do if you just can’t afford to save up that much money?

Well, there’s another option called the Debt Relief Order. It was intended to help people on low incomes, who couldn’t possibly save up that fee, let alone pay back their debts (like so many of the clients we work with at Christians Against Poverty), to have a chance at becoming debt free.

So that’s the background, now on to the impact you’ve had.

Firstly, we’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who wrote to their MP. Your voice has made a difference to the lives of many of our clients.

We’d noticed that many of the very people for whom DROs were meant to be a lifeline, weren’t able to meet the criteria for them. Some owed too much money to qualify. There were even instances where someone needed a DRO but would have had to give up their mobility scooter as part of the process, which we’re sure you’ll agree isn’t fair at all. That's why we knew it was important to improve the Debt Relief Order.

The great news is that after our campaign and a consultation, the Insolvency Service has announced some changes. They are increasing the amount of debt that can be written off through a DRO. The person accessing the DRO will also be able to keep a (reasonably-priced) car so that they don’t lose transport for work and other essential journeys. Crucially, they’ve clarified the guidance to make sure no one loses their mobility scooter as part of a DRO, if it’s deemed to be an essential vehicle.

The impact of our Simplify the Solution campaign can be seen in the Government’s response. Because of how they've made changes to improve the Debt Relief Order criteria, the Insolvency Service estimates over 13,000 more people will access the process each year. That’s 13,000 more people with a suitable route for getting out of debt, who now have a chance at a financial new start, without the stress of debt weighing down on them and their families.

So next time you wonder whether it’s worth the effort to sign that petition or write that letter of support, know that your voice can make a difference! Together, we can speak up and bring about meaningful change.


If you love campaigning for social justice and want to keep in the loop with all our Policy and Influence work at CAP, you can get specific updates on this straight to your inbox. Sign up here!

Step outside and boost your wellbeing this Mental Health Awareness Week

calendar10 May 2021

Author: Claire Wong

Step outside and boost your wellbeing this Mental Health Awareness Week

Have you ever seen a sunset so fiery and colourful that you had to stop what you were doing to watch it? Or gone for a walk in the park to clear your head after a stressful day? How did you feel after doing those things?

There’s an increasing amount of scientific evidence that getting outside, especially to green spaces with fresh air, is good for you both physically and mentally. Did you know that simply seeing the colour green has a calming effect on the human brain? And in recognition of the way the outdoors can boost your wellbeing, this Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 is focussing on nature.

For Christians, the Bible points to this same truth

Jesus encouraged his followers to look at the natural world when they felt worried, in Matthew 6:25-27.

‘Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?’

Now, I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find it hard to be told ‘don’t worry’. But here, there’s something really comforting in the fact that Jesus knows I worry about really practical things like household chores, and checking in on friends, and whether that cough is the sign of something serious, or just that I’ve forgotten to drink any water today! He knows what we’re like, as humans, and that we are going to be faced with uncertainty and anxiety around really mundane stuff. And then he points to the natural world — to the birds you see flying past the window. The birds tell us something about God, he says. He offers us a way to be mindful of God’s presence in the midst of our worries.

It was true 2,000 years ago, and it’s still true this Mental Health Awareness Week

So if you found your daily walk in lockdown helped you feel better, there’s a good reason for that. Whether it’s listening to birdsong, heading to the woods in search of bluebells or looking out across the sea — these things affect us. They calm us, remind us of beauty and of God’s creative genius. Psalm 91 tells us ‘the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands’. We can learn so much about God by simply paying attention to what he has created.

person walking in forest

And what’s great is that there’s room for us to engage with this in different ways. You might not be an intrepid, mountain-scaling adventurer, but you don’t need to be. The question is, what helps you?

It could be:

  1. Opening the window to tune in to the birdsong 
  2. Going for a lunchtime walk somewhere green each day and noticing how the scenery changes with the seasons
  3. Taking a day out to go a bit further afield and turn off your phone so you can refocus your mind on what’s important to you
  4. Growing some plants on your windowsill and letting that new life speak to you of hope
  5. Staying up late enough to stargaze and think about how unfathomably vast our universe is

So why not take some time to boost your wellbeing this Mental Health Awareness Week, and ask God to show you something new and inspiring through the world he’s created? Put on a pair of comfy shoes and soak up some mood-improving, stress-reducing green spaces!

For more inspiration from the natural world, check out this post from our Brand Communications Manager, Claire Cowles, on what gardening can teach us in times of upheaval.

Captain Tom 100 challenge: 26 easy fundraising ideas

calendar20 April 2021

Author: Hayley Tearall

Captain Tom 100 challenge: 26 easy fundraising ideas

The Captain Tom 100 challenge is on everyone’s lips right now. Back in 2020, 99-year-old veteran Captain Tom Moore took on 100 lengths of his garden to raise money for the NHS in the middle of a global pandemic. Not only did he raise a mind-blowing £32.8million*, he became the nation’s favourite hero.

Now it’s your turn! Will you take on the Captain Tom 100 challenge and raise money for CAP in honour of Captain Tom’s legacy?


Take on the Captain Tom 100 Challenge for CAP

Whether you want to do something as a family or individually, here are some ideas to get you thinking about what Captain Tom 100 Challenge might work for you.


Do something physical

Taking part in a physical challenge is one of the most common and easy ways to raise money for charity. Why not follow in the footsteps of Captain Tom himself, who did 100 lengths of his garden, for your own Captain Tom 100 challenge? Whether it’s running, skipping or cycling that takes your fancy, by getting moving you can make a difference.

1. Do 100 star jumps

2. Do 100 skips with a rope

3. Climb 100 stairs (or 100 flights of stairs if you’re feeling brave)

4. Run 100m (why not challenge your friends/family to see who can do it the quickest?)

5. Do 100 cartwheels

6. Do 100 press ups

7. Attempt 100 keepy-uppies

8. Score 100 football or basketball goals

9. Walk or cycle 100 laps around the block or your local park

10. Google ‘group yoga poses’ and try recreating them as a family (upload your photos to social media to inspire your friends – and don’t forget to tag us!)

11. Climb 100 flights of stairs

12. Have a 100-minute dance party. Stream it on your social media and encourage people who tune in to donate!

13. 100 minutes of skipping

14. Walk 100km

15. Juggle for 100 seconds (or 100 minutes!)


Creative activities

If you love to get creative, why not put your skills to good use and come up with your own creative Captain Tom 100 challenge? You don’t have to be an artist, either – just have some fun! If you need some inspiration, give one of these a go.

16. Do 100 rows of knitting

17. Decorate 100 cupcakes or biscuits (and drop them round to your loved ones)

18. Paint or draw 100 postcard-sized pictures (why not post them to your friends?)

19. Tie dye 100 t-shirts and sell them

20. Text 100 friends to let them know what you love about them (or pick 10 friends and write 10 things you like about them – that definitely makes 100, right?)

21. Write and post 100 cards or letters for a more old-fashioned way to let people know you’re thinking of them


Quiet activities

Maybe you like your own company or are in need of some down-time. Perhaps you find being quiet difficult, and one of these ideas could be a good Captain Tom 100 challenge for you. Slowing down is important for our mental wellbeing, so you’re doing yourself a favour as well as raising money for a good cause!

22. Do a sponsored silence for 100 minutes (get the kids involved too!)

23. Write 100 short poems

24. Plant 100 seeds or bulbs (really take your time and focus on the present moment)

25. Read 100 pages of a favourite book, or a book that’s completely different to your usual genre

26. Go for a walk in the countryside and take photos of, or write down, 100 beautiful things you find. (You could use this as a chance to practise thankfulness, which is proven to improve mood and wellbeing!)


We hope these ideas have inspired you to get involved and raise money for CAP through your very own Captain Tom 100 Challenge. So, what will your Captain Tom 100 Challenge be?

Take on the Captain Tom 100 Challenge for CAP

Don’t forget to share what you get up to on social media with the hashtag #CaptainTom100 – and tag us so we can cheer you on!

Happy fundraising!




*£39.3million including Gift Aid

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