I am a product of nuclear family where my father was the bread winner and my mother was a doting mother of two daughters. At an early age, we were aware that we only had limited toys and were never pampered with wastefulness. So, we knew that there is a simple arithmetic calculation to run a household. Income – Expenses = Savings (of these savings our not so costly dresses were accommodated). No, don’t worry I will not be preaching value of money to our children in this article!! That is each parent’s personal choice on how to groom their child to make him or her learn about it. But I definitely thought of penning down the to-do list on grooming my children on the finance quotient and sharing the same with you.
We had a fun-n-fair organized by our teen kids of our society and there was an open invitation to all the elders and kids to set up stalls. It could be of games or of food. It was the last day of the year and the neighborhood, every nook and corner of our street was all buzzing with loud Bollywood music playing and people partying to welcome the New Year. Our society kids had set up stalls and it was a pleasure to watch that naughty boy who seemed to be always up to some mischief was efficiently handling his stall. The girl who outwardly appeared to be so timid, was loud and expressive to call out people and see what she was presenting.
I was really impressed seeing the efforts being put up by these kids and their effort of selling, asking parents to play games and buy toys which were hand-made. They were well aware of the cost to production to sale to profit calculation. As in, they all knew to play their rate cards well. Some would ask us to play games for which they would charge a meager amount of Rs. 10 to be paid. For participation they would happily announce the winning of a small gift which would be a home-made toy out of waste or would give you a token which is again hand-made. There were some little kids who were assisted by their parents but as well-aware parents the kids were allowed to run the show. The parents would just assist or even take orders from the little stall owners.
The eatable stalls had it all!! Junk food, traditional authentic food and pastries, all home made. I with my hungry stomach decided to visit some stalls as all of these were either of my son’s friends or of my friends too!! When asked how much do I pay for what I ate, the seven –eight year old kids would do a rapid calculation and tell me the amount to be paid. And yes, very politely would offer me a complimentary juice or a small size dessert if I cross a special limit of bill. Clearly reminding me of the marketing technique of today – you win some brownie points if you enroll for the XYZ scheme. These kids too were following the same strategy. When asked to these little wonders on what if you make a mistake or somebody intentionally try to fool you, they would say, “Aunty, they would be pointed out of their trickery either now or later as we all stay here”.
It was an evening well spent and I learnt a few lessons from this superb event.
- Value of money cannot be preached you need to teach your child practically that this is the money that I spent and this is what I had in hand.
- Encourage your child to carry out money transactions on their own. Let them know what the difference between each denomination. Lessons learnt on own are never forgotten.
- Tell them what you get to spent is what you have earned, and that is when you get to buy. Inject their savings with meager amounts or encourage them to think on how to save the little amounts.
- Teach them healthy buying habits; unknowingly do not bring in the culture of wastefulness within them.
- Make them responsible for the money given. Ask them to provide a written record of money given to money spent and money in hand.
- Always, always, always gift your child a piggy bank. We have this amazing culture of elders giving money to the children on festivals and occasions. Let them save all this money in their piggy bank. Ask them to count the money in the bank independently and keep a record of it.
- Open a savings bank account in the child’s name, nowadays all banks have it. Pick up the best and let it be close to your house. Ensure that you take your child to visit the bank and teach them how to operate the account.
- Maturity in money matters will come soon when the child accepts that it is this money that they own up, so by default the child would know the value of money and all about money matters.
- Take them to grocery shopping and allow them to carry out the transactions. As they mature they would know the increase or decrease of prices.
- Some lessons learnt in childhood can pave some good earning and spending habits in our children.
Should we not try them out? Think about it, we can always try this rather than having our kids grow up as troubled teens asking for an all time increase in pocket money.
Moushumi says – After 12 years of banking experience, I chose to take a sabbatical for my two doting kids and be an enterprising mother. I am a finance graduate and have studied creative writing for the love of language, I only feel passionate about my interest in writing. I love traveling and writing about places visited and every thought that fascinates me. All this can be read in my blog Life Bytes.