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“I owe dad two euros”

How important is money for children? What do they save up for? What do they spend most on? Three children from three countries talk about pocket money, giving and major desires.

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Salim, 8, Heidelberg, Germany

“Dad often forgets pocket money but I never do”

Salim, how much pocket money do you get?
Three euros every Sunday – one for each piggy bank.

You have three piggy banks?
Yes. One is called “Spend” with the money I spend, one is called “Save” and used for saving and the third one is called “Give” and contains money that I donate.

How much is in the “Save” piggy bank?
21 euros – not that much, unfortunately, because it isn’t very long since I started. I’m saving for the Lego Death Star but that costs 500 euros.

How much do you have in the other two piggy banks?
Unfortunately just nine euros at the moment in “Spend” and 25 euros in “Give”.

What do you need the “Spend” for?
I always wait until it’s fairly full again and then I go to the toy shop and see what they’ve got there. I normally buy something from Lego; the last thing I bought was an expensive Ninjago so that’s why I don’t have much at present. And I spent a great deal on Panini stickers in the spring.

Sweets?
No, I don’t like them.

Do you find three euros enough?
I get 50 cents more each year, I’m happy with that.

Do all the children at your school get pocket money?
No, most of them don’t get any. It’s also relatively new for me; I’ve been getting it for about a year and it was even less at the beginning. My sister is five and recently said she would like to get 50 cents a week once she turns six.

Do you find that OK?
I can imagine she might be a bit jealous of my three piggy banks. But I find it rather unfair that she should already get pocket money from the age of six. After all, I didn’t get it until I was seven.

Who gives you the money?
Normally my dad, but he often forgets. I naturally never forget. We even have a symbol for it on the calendar.

How important is the money for you?
I rarely think about it but when somebody says the word “toy shop”, it suddenly hits me and becomes really important again.

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Anuk Steffen, 13, Chur, Switzerland

“I’m not a great saver”

Anuk, how much pocket money do you get? 
Fifty-five francs a month (48 euros, editorial note). Recently my parents have started transferring the money to my young person’s account for which I have my own bank card. Electronic money is not quite as easy to manage as notes and coins. You can’t hold it in your hand and therefore have somewhat less control of it.

Are you paid for household chores such as mowing the lawns or clearing snow? 
No. It’s normal that you should help out at home. The same applies to good school grades. I’d find it odd to receive money for this.

Do you otherwise earn any money?
Sometimes I work as a babysitter. And I recently applied to assist with candle dipping at the youth centre. I hope I’ll get the job.

What do you mostly spend money on?
Decorative materials. I rearrange my room every few weeks and redecorate it. And sometimes I buy special clothes. 

Are you actually allowed to buy what you want? 
Generally speaking, yes. My parents would only want to have a say with technical devices such as a mobile phone. 

What are you saving for?
I’m not a great saver. I ask for bigger things for my birthday or at Christmas. 

Have you ever donated money?
I haven’t but my parents have. We very often find fundraising letters in the letterbox and sometimes we discuss together whom to give money to. 

When you were nine you played the leading role in the box office hit “Heidi”. Did you earn a lot for that? 
I don’t actually know exactly. The money is in a savings account that I won’t be able to access until I’m 18.

Are you still in the film business? 
In the spring I shot “Pig Heart” in Munich. I play a girl suffering from a heart condition who is fighting for her life. It is a graduate film of the film school so everything is much smaller than with “Heidi”.

Does it feel different to have earned your own money? 
Yes, better. Because you haven’t just been given it.

How important is money for you? 
Not particularly. I much prefer doing other things than shopping. But it’s certainly useful to have enough of it. After all, money makes the world go round.

Would you like to have more pocket money? 
No. I have everything I need.

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Alicia, 11, Nantes, France

"Many of my friends don’t have any pocket money“

Alicia, how much pocket money do you get?
Every other weekend, when I see my dad, I get two euros. He normally gives me the money on Saturday but sometimes we forget it and then we catch up on Sunday. I save the money in an English bus that serves as a piggy bank.

How much is in it?
Unfortunately nothing at all. To be honest, I owe dad two euros because I bought a playbook yesterday. I’ll pay him back in two weeks. I have a second money box with my mother that contains more, about 150 euros. I was given the money at Christmas and on my birthday.

Have you planned what you’d like to do with it?
My long-term objective is a Nintendo Switch, a game console, but that costs 300 euros so that won’t be for some time.

What is the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?
I think it was a body surfboard for 20 euros. We live on the Atlantic coast and I love playing in the sea even though it’s relatively cold here and I normally have to wear a wetsuit.

Do you get more pocket money each year?
Last year I got one euro and now I’m at secondary school I get two euros. I think it’ll stay the same next year.

Are you happy with that?
Very. Many of my friends don’t have any pocket money and they also don’t know that I get it.

Do you sometimes buy sweets?
Yes, my favourite sweet is a crocodile and costs 50 cents. 

How important is money for you?
Pretty important. I realised that recently when I lost a five euro note and was then very sad.

If you had a lot of money, what would you do?
Go on a round-the-world trip! That’s my big dream. I’ve already been on a few trips and I’d like to see more.

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