Is it a need or a want?

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

MANY of us mothers have eyes that cannot help but wander and browse through anything that screams “SALE!” Sometimes, we spend more time looking at catalogues just to see what’s a good buy for the day or week.

And then your little ‘Jiminy Cricket’ loudly reminds you, “Mommy, is that a need or a want? I thought we can only buy our needs for now!”

And you feel both embarrassed and proud. So instead you say, “Congratulations! Mommy was just testing you whether you get our lesson about money!”


But seriously, in the midst of so much commercialism, it has become imperative that parents and guardians are vigilant in teaching children about money management.

Money Management does not only involve saving in the piggy bank but also learning self-control, prioritizing expenses and getting value for money – things we belatedly realized as great tools of life when we started working!

More and more parents are now conscious of how important it is to teach our kids how to save early in life, how to be entrepreneurial, and how to be smart in their purchases.

We are painfully aware of how hard it is to earn and keep our money given the inflation rates and employee turnovers. We want to leave our children not just with monetary inheritance but with the right mindset to multiply a hundredfold whatever we will be leaving them with.

Depending on the child’s age, they perceive money differently so you may want to approach your child in a language he/she would understand and respond to.

The key is in making sure that the money principles we would want them to have gets communicated effectively. Remember that more than the amount it is the VALUE of money (hard work, creativity, prudence, self-control, etc.) that we are after for.

Here are some practices that may help deliver the right message:

* Record all gifts received and if possible send a “thank you” message

* Let them be sentimental. Teach them to take care of what is given to them.

* Bring them to the groceries with their own list of NEEDS (if it's not listed, we're not buying it!)

* They may pick a book or toy every Sunday at your pre-set maximum cost.

* Have a container that would set their maximum number of toys. Exceeding this space means it’s time to share to the less fortunate kids.

* Make chores fun! It is up to you to pay for EXTRA chores to encourage participation BUT never pay them for fixing their room or arranging their toys because that is their contribution as citizens of the home.

* Share the truth that all gadgets will be cheaper very soon, so be patient for the next gadget and save money in the process.

* Be creative in choosing family entertainment. A big box can sometimes be more fun than any gadget.

* Limit their time for TV and gadgets (saves you the eye check-ups and expensive eyeglasses)

* Schedule eating out and buying of “big” things like new shoes and clothes on special occasions (again, it teaches them to take care of their things)

* Teach them to earn their money and KEEP it, too! Open a bank account for each child. Give piggy banks (we prefer the tall, transparent plastic jars wherein they can see all the bills and coins rising as they put in more). And when these are filled, give them the ultimate thrill of counting their money and filling up the deposit slips on their own! (For pre-teens, they may already be taught about passive income earning higher interest rates while securing their future through participating funds)

* Play MONOPOLY! (In next columns, I want to devote an entire article on the magic of monopoly in opening up the business interest of the kids!)

As parents, our greatest dream is to be able to provide our children with the opportunities for a great future that we believe they deserve to have.

Teaching them about money by investing our time to talk, play, and set an example for them will be worth more than any material inheritance they can ever get.

Being rich is not just about money, because money is just a tool to use. Let us teach our kids that money is not just something to acquire; it is, in fact, a means to help themselves grow and to help others. This is a legacy we can leave them that no gold can equal to. (Shirley Maghari)


For feedback, please email me at

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 28, 2014.


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