Amongst the various fond childhood memories, one of my dearest ones is Diwali and birthday shopping. Shopping somehow seems to be in my genes, hence you cant really blame me for splurging money on clothes. A born shopaholic you see!
Jokes apart, I would always look forward to that trip to the market lined with shops displaying colorful clothes, shoes, accessories and as I took my time to choose the best. I faced the dilemma at times and couldn’t really make up mind as 2 dresses seemed equally pretty but Mom was firm, you can have only one and a choice had to be made. I remember how excited I was on my birthday and Diwali to wear a new dress. The feeling cannot be described in words, it has to be experienced.
Fast forward to present day- I scroll on the Jabong and Myntra app, pick a few dresses which I like. I seldom need to make a forced choice. I checkout, swipe my Amex and get the dresses or shoes neatly packed and delivered right to my home. But am I as excited as I was as a child?NO. You may say I am grown up now and things change with age but I doubt that’s the only reason. Perhaps having everything I desire easily takes that magic away. (OK I am not going to stop shopping!)
Would I want my daughter to experience the same unadulterated joy I had when as a kid I shopped just twice a year? But will that make sense in today’s world as its a completely different generation compared to the one when I grew up.
I definitely cannot follow the same rules of the 90’s. My parents spent money carefully as they did not genuinely have as much to splurge. But my case today is different. I would want to buy things for my daughter which I couldn’t probably have as a child because of affordability factor , at the same time I would want her to understand that money doesn’t grow on trees. Mommy doesn’t sit in a AC office drinking endless cups of latte the whole day and bring home money. She needs to work her butt off.
I cannot just preach but some of the steps I would follow to inculcate in her the value of money are:
1) I will give her pocket money (Does that seem like an alien concept these days?)- its a fixed sum and will not randomly hand over money whenever asked by her. The amount will be based on the child’s age, the requirements which I expect she would meet by using this money. That way the child will know that she is entitled to a fixed sum and if she desires to buy something which is more than the budget, she will know that she has to save money to buy that. That way I am teaching her about “savings” as well.
2) Brownie points works wonders. Help in household chores like setting the table, folding clothes, making the bed and earn some points which would then convert into some money. Or good behavior, helping to take care of a sibling or doing well in your exams can also earn you these points. This will motivate her to do well to get those brownie points which can then be converted into money.
3) Asking for balance amount from the child when you hand them over money for something like buying something from the grocer’s shop. Very often we don’t bother about the change. But asking them about it is a step is ensuring accountability.
4) Use hard cash, rather than swiping card. The child should see notes being passed from your hand to the other person. You may argue but that’s not convenient- they know all about cards, why not show them the smart way of postponing your payments by using a credit card, but trust me this will only do more harm. I know of a little girl who once told me- its so nice for Mommy and her friends. They just swipe the card and buy what they want. When I grow up I will have many cards like these to swipe and shop. I said but honey you know right Mommy has to pay for those, when she swipes the card it is not free, the bank will recover the money from her. She looked confused, it seemed that she was blissfully unaware that the amount had to be paid. Hence, as tough as it may seem , resist the temptation of using that card when your child is around.
5) Set the right example yourself by not indulging in splurging money randomly. The child is observing keenly and when you refuse to meet his demands he would not shy away from curtly asking you” but why different rules for you and me? When you bought those shoes yesterday why cant I buy the dress? This is something I personally need to work on as I am a shopaholic, I don’t think its wrong to reward myself when I earn money. I know my limits and I never get into debt or miss my credit card payments. But now that I have a child, I know i will have to tame myself in this respect as I cannot preach her when I myself don’t follow it.
6) Open a bank account for the child and once she is old enough take her to the bank, get her a pass book and cheque book. Let her know the amount she has in the account, make her feel responsible for it.
7) Don’t give into peer pressure. XYZ’s Mom may be splurging money on her child, the most expensive clothes, toys, a I pad and so much more. My child is bound to feel pangs of jealousy and wonder why her parents don’t meet her demands. The key here is talk to the child, listen to them and maybe it won’t solve the issue completely but as time progresses and the child matures, she will understand why you did not meet her demands at that time
.Its not going to be easy and not everything will work. But a few conscious steps in this regard will go a long way in raising responsible kids who value money.
This post is written for #MondayMommyMoments