I dont have children who pester me to buy them things or who pester me to take them on vacations.
When they were younger, we would buy them almost anything they wanted…..
…….from the stationary shop because we’d often do lots of craft projects and painting and often ran out of supplies. They sort of know that the things we got are things that we used on a daily basis.
As they got older and we started visiting our family members, they would bring our boys to toy stores and buy them just about anything my boys wanted or fancied.
This became extremely problematic when my boys started ‘hinting’ at me to get them things. We’d hear things like ‘Ooohh! I like this one very much. I wonder what it’ll be like if I could play with it’ or ‘This is my absolute favourite, it would make me really happy to have it’.
Gradually, their perception of people who spent money without thinking twice……are people who are rich! This is fine with me so long as they didn’t think we were rich and expected us to buy them everything they wanted…..
….but this also meant that their views about spending money wisely was tied to how much money a person actually had. Rich people have more money to spend so they don’t have to be so careful about wastage nor do they have to worry about their funds running out (because they have so much of it).
That was when I knew that it was time to have that talk with them about money. and so I did.
I sat them down and told them that I only buy things that we needed and not things that we wanted. I had to explain what are some things which are necessary and that we needed and what are some things which were not needed but are nice to have.
I also explained that sometimes, we could get things that we wanted but that would mean that we’d have to plan for it, find some ways to make money and save up to get it.
Just last weekend, I helped my boys to do a bake sale to raise funds for their school camp fees. This tradition started last year when I decided that since we were already paying so much in school fees (because it was a necessity), school camp wasn’t and as such, if they wanted to go, they’d need to plan to raise funds to go……
……and that was how our bake sales started.
In my last blog, I listed all the skills that the bake sale provided opportunities for my boys to learn and to practice. But at the second bake sale, I’ve found that they have learnt more than what they did during the first bake sale and here’s just the list I’ve compiled which I’ve noticed thus far…
– Not taking things for granted (not expecting things to be handed to them just because…),
– Genuine appreciation for the camp or for anything given to them or that they have earned to get,
– Awareness of the price of things or services (they were constantly asking me how much I paid for their meals or for various things I bought),
– Self-regulation skills…..everything they wanted to buy had to be planned for and not bought out of impulse.
In addition to that is a stark increase in their interest in math activities. They have been calculating money, doing lots of subtraction, addition and multiplication on a regular basis. One of my boys also asked me about how discounts work and how to calculate percentages.
There were also lots of opportunities for us to discuss about where money comes from (they used to think that anyone can get money by going to the ATM and there will be an infinite supply there for everyone to help themselves to), how the credit card works (they used to think it worked like a magic wand where you can wave it around to get things without paying money for it) and how bank loans work (like for buying a house or a car).
They have become increasingly aware of how money works or in other words, money-wise. And they have also become more appreciative of their parents for working and for trying to make ends meet. This was a huge plus for me because I used to explain this to them before but they didnt truly understand the magnitude of it all till they were a little more exposed to making their own money.
My boys are only 7 and 10 and already, they are learning important life skills that I didnt even have the opportunity to learn till I was much older! ….but hey, everyone goes to school these days…..and they get a college degree (or degrees)….so I figured that if I really truly want to give my children an edge….I’d have to put in extra effort in creating opportunities for them to develop skills NOT TAUGHT IN SCHOOL such as being money-wise, entrepreneur skills, good character traits and above all…..being appreciative for everything and everyone they have in their life.