How Do You Teach Your Child To Spend Wisely?

My original plan was only to show Sophia how people acquire stuff. I suppose I want to let her know first-hand that we need resources to buy things. I have given her a budget and told her she can buy whatever she wants with it, toys, clothes, books, etc. I seldom shop for her (I am terrible at estimating sizes and I am generally not fond of shopping) on my own, I usually bring her with me when she needs something and she chooses herself. I have given her free reign so she can develop her own style and character and personality. But that is not the topic of today’s blog.

I took her to the mall last Friday. I bought a phone for someone last Thursday and I saw the sale sign in the department store. I found out it starts the day after, so when I got home, I greeted Sophia with, “Hey baby, guess what! There is a sale tomorrow and we are going shopping!” Lesson #1. Do not buy at retail.

I told her next that I will give her P4,000 and she can buy whatever she wants. But I highlighted what she needs, like some new clothes, especially underwear. I have taught her the difference between wants and needs ages ago! I think from the time she started “wanting” stuff, which did not last long really. Ever since she was a baby, I am proud to say that Sophia has never really thrown a tantrum, the kind wherein she sulks and screams and maybe kicks and all unless I buy her something. She knew very early on that that is not gonna work on her mother. Lesson #2. Prioritize what you need.

The funny thing when we were shopping was she kept asking me how much she has left! She would pick up a shirt and ask me if she still has enough money for it. I suddenly thought of a new way to make our trip a little bit more interesting. Remember in college when we are asked how old a twin will be when he comes back after a visit to outer space? I used to think how wonderful it would be if we can make actual experiments to find out, it is more fun that way, and certainly more realistic (well… as realistic as the theory of relativity allows). So I told Sophia this will be her Math project, on counting money, addition and subtraction. Lesson #3. Spend within your means.

Since she asked me like a million times how much she has left and if she can afford this or that, I made an irresistible deal with her. I told her that what money she has left after shopping, I will keep for her and give her interest for it. Now we have not really agreed on anything and I have to figure out what is reasonable. I mean, she is dealing with the queen of stinginess here. Lesson #4. Find ways to stretch your budget.

I pretty much let her choose what she liked, but there was this one time when I needed to step in. She wanted to buy this pink polo shirt that costs P800 (yep, not on sale, a very clear violation of L#1). I instead presented her an alternative one by Polo (brands used to be important to me, but even if I am no longer a huge fan, I still know that quality comes at a cost) which is so much nicer and costs less than half of the not-known brand one. I am glad she listened to me. Lesson #5. Sometimes, it is not just the price that matters, but more significantly, the value you are getting for your money.

There was this red long-sleeved shirt (the one she is wearing in the video) that looked so festive, I decided to get one for myself, too. Yep, I can still shop in the kid’s department! Which is just as well since the adult counterpart costs more than double! When I was in the university, I exclusively shopped at the children’s section. It helps that I have a slim build (there are some children’s clothes that are big for me) and tiny feet (size 5). Lesson #6. Find alternatives.

When we were calculating how much Sophia spent later that night, I asked her if she’s paying for my Christmas shirt. She apologized and told me she did not have enough money, she wanted to save for the next time. I could not be prouder! It is ok to say no, Sophia, especially if you cannot afford to give. I am not teaching her to be selfish, I believe she cannot give what she does not have. She can be generous, I have taught her that, too, but this is not the time. Lesson #7. It is okay to say no to others.

We had so much fun that day. We had Japanese food and Sophia had ramen for the first time. She is not very adventurous when it comes to food, but she liked the noodles. I suppose it has something to do with anime. Next time, we will go somewhere new. I think we are going to do this on a regular basis. Each time, I will make sure she learns a little something.

First, I teach by example, then I explicitly give her real-life lessons.

#ToABetterSarah #RaisingSophia #SophiasMoneyLessons #SarahFindsWays

Who wore it better?

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