The husband (boyfriend back then) climbed the coconut tree inside their garden. Picked coconuts from the tree. The smallest of the fruit he gently opened on top, removed its coconut milk and leave it for three months beside its tree. The red ants feasted on the coconut fruit for quite sometimes. Finally, when not a single ant visits the fruit, he picked up the hollowed husk and smoothen it with sandpaper. He gave it to me as a gift.
Save or Spend
We named our coin bank Coco, and he’s been a family member even before we settle down. I used to put bills and collected Php 11,000.00 at the end of the year!
One of the things we want to impart to our children is the habit of saving.
Now that we have kids, we make it more enjoyable by letting them feed Coco, by allowing them to insert coins while counting numbers and also constant reminding them that coins are not human food.
Up until today, we are feeding Coco coins. Once Coco is full, we gently opened its skull with a hammer and exchange it bills to help make coins circulate to the market faster. We have opened it more than once and glued it again and again so we could just feed it up again with coins.
Aside from incorporating the importance of saving, we also try to help Kulayot think things thru, whether to buy it or not. Once there was a time, when he has good scores in school and as a reward he really wanted to buy a gummy bear at a local 24/7 convenient store. He was determined to only buy one piece. He did. We only bought a piece of gummy bear for Php12.00! He thanked me for letting him eat a gummy bear and the change go straight down Coco’s throat.
The thing is, aside from constantly saving the coins for Coco, we also talk him through whether he should spend or save instead. Like I said, instead of buying three or two, he’s determined to only buy a piece so he could have some change for Coco. Also, instead of having each of everything, during our grocery shopping, I only let him have one. He will scan the aisle and before checking out the counter, he will only pick one. I fancy watching him decide between a fish-shaped biscuit covered in chocolate or the chocolate cookie with vanilla cream filling. He’s very comical with his arms across his torso and a finger tapping his chin while making decision! What fun!
Need vs. Want
Needs are things you cannot live without, and for humans its food, shelter and clothes.
Wants are things that are nice to have, toys, sweets and live-streaming of favourite videos.
One of my usual topic with Kulayot are the things he wanted to get and the things he needed to buy. Whenever we are shopping for his school supply, I let him choose the color of his pencil case, the design of his socks, the color of his rubber shoes and as we go along the way, and surely he will see albeit educational, toys that aren’t in our budget.
This is where we discuss things – and if you know Kulayot, he can surely explain and justify himself and to be fair, we compromise and meet halfway. For instance, when he wants the breakfast set kitchen toy worth Php2,000.00 and my budget for him is like a hundred bucks only. I let him looked at it, see the details and then, persuade him to check out the sale. There’s this three different toys for Php100.00 including a pencil case! I told him that with this deal, we will buy what we need, the pencil case, and he could buy a new toy too. Win-win!
In saving, it doesn’t have to be a huge amount every time, sometimes a peso or a centavo every now and then can help them make inserting coins to the Cocobank a habit. It will help them automatically put coins to the bank whenever there’s one lying around the house instead of going outside to buy sweets and junkfood at the sari-sari store.
It helps me to budget things more successfully when I make him understand the difference between his needs versus the things that he only wants. I also emphasize that the toys he likes now will not be the toys he’ll like later or after a week, but when we buy the things that he really needs, he will use it fully and hence will make sulit of the price tag. Yes, I explain these things to my 5 year old kindergarten.
Why Why Why
Whenever we finally reach Coco’s rim full of coins. We open it and let Kulayot help decide where to put his money. In our discussion, we try to help him understand that it’s important to make his purchase a purposeful one. We do let him play in ballpits as a reward for when he has good grades, but do we really need to go on an excursion to a nearby fair when he needs a new pair of black shoes for Sunday? Instead of buying sugar-loaded donuts, he usually request his favourite fruits – watermelon, apples, oranges and cherries!
I also try to put sense in his purchase; once, when he’s with his lolo, he asked for a round cake with eight cherries encircling the top. The cake was worth Php600.00! He only managed to eat the cherries and leave the cake for us to gulp down with coffee. To not make this mistake again, I now buy cherries in bottles! There are about 30-35 pieces of cherries for about Php250.00 only and I won’t help him swallow the entire bottle in one sitting as well, I give it as a reward right after he finished his plate of rice, vegetables and meat. He chew more consciously whenever he think about the cherry on top!
Financial Journey as a Family
Living would be more manageable financially if all members of the family – daddy, mommy and children – will participate in consciously tracking the expenses and consistently balancing the distribution of their resources prioritizing important matters for the benefit of all, like securing the utility bills first before planning a vacation, or for when it’s better to just stay home and eat home cooked meals instead of dining out. These little discussions for little things can influence their financial analysis in the future.
Children setting their minds to responsibly save for the future will ease up burden of parents in their old age. They will certainly become committed adults and hence will not only invest money smartly, but also their time and talent to things that have more positive results and higher potentials to their future.