On Budgeting & Money Matters: How I Taught My Girls

Do you need it or you just want it?

This is the usual question I asked my daughters if something caught their fancy whenever we go to the malls.

Their first reaction was to look at the stuff again. Then if they really need it, they would say “yes they needed it.”

Then I would looked at the price and the quality.

If the quality is not commensurate with the price, I would point that out.

But if the quality is okay with the price on the tag and I have the money to pay for it, I get the item for them.

Most of the times though they would say “no, not really”.

Then my next question would be ” Why do you like to buy it then?” “You might find something later that you really need”.

When the girls were younger they used to say:

“Mama it is only (then they would mention the amount of the item).”

I told them that regardless of the amount it is still money.

Then I asked, “Do you have that amount?”

Their answer would be “None, but mama you have the money”.

That’s when I explained to them our priorities.

The food, the bills for the power and water, our daily allowance in going to the University and payments for other projects.

If I told them we are not buying the item, there is no fuss about it. Because they know that if they really need the stuff, I surely would buy it.

I have never experienced with my girls any unruly behavior inside the shops when they are told we are not buying the item that they have fancied.

We have seen though children crying aloud, making a scene, hitting their moms, and running away, if the stuff they wanted is not bought by the parents.

It was not a very pretty sight!

There was a time when one of my girls wanted a brand of rubber shoes worth nearly P6,000 ($120).

I told her we cannot afford that.

The budget was only P2,500 to P3,000 ($50-$60). I told her to select another brand which fits that amount.

She got one worth around P2,500 ($50).

I apply that strategy to myself also not only to them.

One time I wanted a brand of black pants worth around P2,300 ($46). But when I compared with another brand, with the same amount I could get four pairs of pants already not only one pair.

I decided not to get it!

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If we buy stuff, the first thing we look at is the price. So that we would know if we can afford it or not.

I look at the quality and compare it with other brands too.

To be sure that I am not robbed of my hard earned money.

Be direct and honest about money matters to the kids.

Do not spend money you do not have. They might get used to it.

In doing the grocery, the girls know that they need to show me any item they put inside the cart.

I have explained to them the consequences of just putting any stuff inside our grocery cart.

If I am not aware about it, there is a possibility that our money is not enough. It would cause embarrassment at the payment counter. It would cause delay to the other shoppers.

They understood it.

Or, before we go to the store I tell them how much is our budget.

If we are not on a tight budget, I tell them that they can get whatever they wanted.

My girls have daily allowance in going to school. I asked them if they wanted it on a daily or weekly basis. They opted for a daily allowance. It is for their food.

When Fiona was in Grade 1 (she is now in Grade 7), I usually visited her on her break time which jibed with my vacant period in teaching.

There was one time, we were at the quadrangle on one of the benches, Fiona was eating her snacks.

A young girl approached us and told my daughter, “Fiona, can you give me P5.00”.

My daughter looked at me.

I asked her “who is she?” Fiona said, she is her classmate.

I introduced myself to the young  girl, “I am Fiona’s mom.  Why are you asking money from Fiona?”

The girl said she had no money for snacks.

I told her “You can ask Fiona to share her snacks with you, but do not ask for money”.

I told my daughters to report to me or to their teachers cases like that, anybody asking money from them.

It was not about the money!

It was only a small amount. But it was not right that a kid as young as her was asking for money from her fellow students.

And the way she did it! She was very nonchalant about it. And to think that I was even there with my daughter. As if she was used to doing it. At her age at 6 or 7 years.

I surely talked to the teacher about it, for fear that the girl might be doing it to other students also. True enough she was doing it. There was reported incident already.

The teacher later on informed me that she talked to the girl’s parents about it.

I taught my daughters that they cannot just ask money from anybody. They also should not accept money or any stuff from anybody aside from us.

They used to look at me first, when my co-teachers gave them something, as if asking silently if they can accept it or not.

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