Portrait of Ricky Boleto

‘I used to sell manky chocolate to earn money!’

Newsround’s Ricky Boleto tells us how he saved for toys – and shares the money secrets every kid should know

Ricky Boleto is known to many of us as a host on CBBC’s Newsround, helping children understand the world a bit better. But the presenter didn’t always have all the answers, especially about money. He tells Quids in! how he learned about spending and saving from his parents and grandparents.

“My grandparents had come from Cyprus to the UK to live,” he says. “They had nothing, so they set up their own food shop. And my parents were self-employed so I knew from a very young age how important it was not just to make money but to learn about it and to understand it. I think my parents instilled that in me from quite a young age.”

It made me realise that I needed to do something myself if I wanted to have that toy

A handy lesson Ricky learned when he was seven was how to earn and save for something special.

“There was a TV show called Gladiators and you used to be able to get the figures to re-enact the show in your living room,” he says. “This toy set was something that I desperately wanted, but my mum and dad said I’d have to save the money. So I would sell chocolate bars, the ones from the multipacks that I didn’t like that ended up at the back of the cupboard. I’d put them on a tray and go round the street, or even to my mum and dad’s office, and sell this manky chocolate!”

Ricky didn’t make millions selling chocolate bars – but it taught him a good lesson.

“It made me realise that I needed to do something myself if I wanted to have that toy,” he says. “I didn’t get weekly pocket money, I only got money if I’d done something, as a reward. So perhaps that would be helping my dad clean the car or washing my football boots.”

And did he ever spend his hard-earned cash on something he regretted?

“I probably had too much of a sweet tooth,” he says. “So I’m sure I bought too many sweets and wasted my money on those when I should have been saving!”

As a journalist, Ricky has reported on two financial crises. But when he goes into schools to talk to children about these issues, he says money isn’t talked about very much in the classroom.

“A lot of children just don’t get taught very much about how to save or the importance of discussing money with your parents,” he says. “What I wish I’d known when I was a kid is that it’s OK to talk to your parents about where money comes from. And don’t feel embarrassed if you don’t have enough money or if you can’t afford all the things your friends have.

“You don’t necessarily need to have a lot of money to enjoy yourself. Have a conversation with your parents or your carers about money, because they’re older than you and they can give you tips.”

Ricky recently made a Newsround special report on the cost-of-living crisis because children can feel worried and want to know more about what’s going on. And lots more of us are feeling the effects of rising prices right now. But he has some good advice for children.

“If your parents are struggling, make sure you hug them and support them,” he says. “That costs nothing.”

Ricky Boleto presents Newsround. Watch Newsround daily on CBBC and BBC iPlayer

Main image: David Emery / BBC

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