You’ve most probably heard the saying, “Money doesn’t grow on trees” …. well, my guest this week is out to prove that money DOES grow on trees, especially when it involves the Money Box Tree. The Money Box Tree is a cleverly designed flat “savings” tree that hangs on the wall … savers can see their money “grow” when they add their pound coins or dollars or euros. The creator, Jackie Swainston, is my guest today …. Hi Jackie!
I’m Jackie Swainston, a fun-loving older mum of two young teenagers. I’m an artist and graphic designer by trade, but I’m also interested in being money mindful, reducing waste and being as eco-friendly as I can.
What inspired you to create the MoneyBox Tree?
When I had my children, I became aware of the amount we as parents spend on unnecessary rubbish – far too many plastic toys and gadgets – and how we inadvertently pass those values to our kids. I wanted to teach mine that they didn’t have to buy into the ‘I want it now’ culture. I wanted them to learn the true value of money, not only the importance of saving and to try to waste less… but also that it can be a fun and enjoyable pursuit.
I got so fed up with uttering the phrase “Money doesn’t grow on trees!” when my kids pestered me for stuff in shops, it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps I could make money grow for them. An idea started to formulate and before I knew it, I’d sketched out a design for a flat moneybox with a clear front, so that money was visible. I made it tree-shaped so that the coins could drop into the ‘trunk’ and grow right to the top where the leaves and branches are. I created several designs on the back, punctuated by different amounts of money so kids could see when they’d reached £20, £40 and £60 and so on, one coin at a time. It’s so simple but very effective. Children love to see their money literally grow.
What designs/colour choices are currently most popular?
I put so much care and thought into each and every design as that is what sparks young imaginations. Making saving fun like never before is what we want to build into the brand.We research current trends and try to incorporate those values into all that we do.
WACKY TREE our best seller!
The WACKY TREE Money Box Tree is designed to appeal to those who love crazy colours. It will help build confidence and understanding, whatever the pocket money saving goals. In addition to being educational, the WACKY TREE Money Box Tree features lovable characters hiding among the branches. Each cute character will help everyone climb the top to success. Bright, bold, weird and wonderful, don’t ask us what kind of creatures they are … it’s a mystery!
Busy Town – Visit the Busy Town community, it’s where we all help one another. Make your way up that winding road and amazing things will happen. Save your precious coins for a sunny day and get to the top of the hill, then look down on all the lovable characters you met along the way. Remember change is good!
Magic Unicorn – Magic Unicorns and fairies are what little people dream about. With their help you will magically resist the temptation to waste your shiny pounds and stop them disappearing down a rabbit hole. These sweet faces will watch over you as you save and reach the rainbow at the top of the waterfall. Good luck on your magic mission.
The Bank of Mum and Dad – Bank of Mum and Dad says it’s a big world out there, so be street-savvy and stash your dosh away for a rainy day. Ratty will guard your booty, but have you got what it takes to count up a cool 100 pound or euro coins?
How much coinage can each MoneyBox Tree hold?
Each tree holds 100 pound or euro coins. As soon as you get to the top, you can visit your bank, deposit the money and start over again. You don’t have to smash it like you do some money boxes. It’s totally reusable.
From what age do you recommend teaching children about saving money?
With credit cards, online and contactless payments, money has become a virtual concept. Kids can pay with plastic as young as six! Parents and professionals are concerned that this is building bad habits. Children can get the hang of money earlier than you think. From three or four years old, let them handle coins. They can stack them into piles for fun and see how high they can make them. Then have fun knocking them down. Hide coins in a room and get them to find them. Play shops and introduce the idea of how much money things cost in a simplistic way. As they get older, they’ll quickly get the hang of saving for things they really want.
Any ideas to make saving money fun?
It’s always good to have a goal. Kids love to have a sense of achievement. Make chores and tasks a game (who can make their bed the quickest?) and then reward them with a coin they can pop into a moneybox or savings account. Make it as visible as possible, with a MoneyBox Tree or even a simple chart on the wall so they can see how much ‘treasure’ they’ve collected.
When thinking of the designs to add to your MoneyBox Tree collection, do you select by what has proved popular in the past, current trends, customer requests, personal preferences or all of those things?
I look at trends in fashion and design for inspiration. I’m guided a bit by what has been popular previously, but I like to innovate as well, so the company is always pushing forward with new ideas and is never boring.
Is your career background mainly design or financial field or neither?
I come from a design background, drawing was and is my first love. But I wanted to have my own business from a young age and a sense of control over my own destiny. This was borne out of an insecurity of not doing well at school. I’m passionate about people building savings and creating a secure future for themselves. I feel strongly that money skills should be taught in schools and that we should all have a strong understanding interest rates, and how mortgages and credit cards work. I think there would be far less debt in society if everyone understood how to manage money properly.
Can you remember the first thing you saved up to buy?
Worthy as it sounds, I did save most of my money to get my first mortgage, even in my teens! However, I do love clothes and spent some of my hard-earned cash on a gorgeous suede jacket that I wore until it fell apart, and a few singles (remember those?) of the Vamps, Chrissie Hynde, the Sex Pistols and Nick Cave.
Looking towards the future – have you got other savings items or themes in the pipeline to add in addition to the MoneyBox Tree themes you already sell?
I’m constantly innovating and yes there are new products in the pipeline, both digital and physical, but they’re top secret at the moment, all I can say is that it will be character based! I’ll come back and share those with you when I can.
As you are based in England, is the MoneyBox Tree available overseas?
I am UK based, but I’ll ship to anywhere in the world, at the moment we produce only to fit one pound or euro coins … but can adapt to any market .
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
I’m a classics girl with simple tastes. I live in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, which is a rural spa town, so I wear clothes suitable for being in town and the countryside – usually boots and jeans with a silky shirts and chunky jumpers…. I do love a chunky jumper! I love unusual fabrics and gorgeous scarves though. When I can afford it I go to Stella McCartney, I tend to go for investment pieces that last forever, rather than fast fashion.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
If I could afford it I’d just shop all the time at Stella McCartney. I love her simple aesthetic. Even though it goes against my ‘slow fashion’ ethic a bit, I also really love Mango and Zara. The clothes are stylish, fun and reasonably priced. It’s all about HOW you wear something… I like to think I look good for my age so can afford to go a bit edgy with my looks.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I’d love an investment Stella Jacket!
Boots or Shoes?
Definitely boots. It’s mostly boot weather in Harrogate, you can wear a decent pair boots with anything, even shorts. I have a spaniel, Jess who loves a muddy walk through the woods. Only boots will do really. You are always ready for anything if you are wearing your boots!
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that readers can find out more about CoinIt-In and the MoneyBox Trees.
To find out more about the best gift you can give a child go to https://www.coinit-in.com/
I think the Money Tree is a fab idea – thank you Jackie for showing us your trees and giving us ideas of how to save money as a family.
All photographs have been published with kind permission of CoinIt-In.Com