Thursday, October 11, 2012

Life's lessons - value of money

How do you teach your child the value of money? This has been at the back of my mind for quite a while. One of the areas of focus when I homeschool Dumpling is that every month, we will focus on a "value". So far we have gone through "Kindness", "Patience", "Forgiveness", "Respectful", etc.

I am guilty of over-indulging Dumpling at times though not exactly being frivalous with money. As a homeschooler, books and other learning aids are constant additions to my shopping list. Being a bookworm myself, I have no qualms in forking out money in buying quality resources for Dumpling. However, I put my foot down at giving in to buying toys she does not need or tidbits (I do not encourage snacking) especially when she starts fussing at the shops.

Dumpling attends Chinese classes and many of her classmates'  parents are expatriats. I recalled that I was very shocked when I saw the type of presents and gifts being dished out during the festive occasions. The most "impressive" gift that I have seen was a Crabtree and Evelyn hamper for EVERY teacher with bigger "versions" for the child's key teachers in charge. Mind you, this is not a "Biscuit and Teabag" hamper but a full blown 2 - 3 tier picnic basket hamper filled with toiletries to jam to biscuits to tea bags and let's not forget the award-winning hand therapy cream. :) 

Hence, I worry that Dumpling will take money for granted and does not understand the hard work that us parents, put in for our children. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am very strict in my upbringing of Dumpling. This is because I do not want her to think that if an item is damaged (and especially it was due to her careless handling), it is easily replaceable; Dad / Mum will just open their wallet and purse and buy a new piece. Or that the item is "lousy" and by paying more for a "branded" version, it will last longer so no love lost in losing the piece.

Of course as a parent, I want the best that I can afford for my child but at the same time, I wish to teach her the vaue of good old hard work and money, and have compassion for other underpriviledged families. Our children these days lead such privileged lifestyles that I cannot help but worry that I will raise a brat! LOL... A classic example was, in the past, when I was younger, a bus ride was the usual way for us to get to school. These days, for Dumpling, a bus ride is a novelty! Such is the way our environment and standard of living have changed.  

So how do I try to "teach" her the value of money? Instead of buying gifts, I always make it a habit to create / make the items with Dumpling. From pineapple tarts to  homemade jams and to craft items such as notebooks etc., Dumpling helps me with cutting, stirring, kneading, decorating, etc. for her teachers and classmates. And as we make them, I will explain to her that it is nice to make things on our own and we certainly do not need to buy gifts all the time. When appropriate, I will also explain that the items cost much more to buy as compared to us making it and, it is certainly no lesser tastier. I have also started explaining to her the concept of trade and money; spending versus saving.

Last year, we had to bring in some food items for the class as it was a potluck party for Children's Day. Being anal, I involved Dumpling in making some Konnyaku Jelly last evening. 

I was very pleased when she proudly told her teacher: "石老师这些果冻是用爱心做的, 而不是买的。是我帮妈妈切桃子的。" At that moment, I gave thanks to the Lord and heaved a sigh of relief. It is still a long way ahead for us inculcate other life values and I will continue to pray for grace and guidance. 

How do you teach your children the value of money where they do not kick up a fuss or throw a tantrum if they do not get the presents / toys they want? What else do you do/use and how do you discuss with them? It certainly would be nice to learn from you!'s Talkative Thursdays


  1. Yikes! 2 tier C&E hamper! I WANT!!! LOL but its too much a gift to give a teacher. I only gift small affordable gifts tt is usually less then $10. Not a crafty person so handmade stuffs are out.

    You are teaching Dumpling well on the money issue. I should learn from you hehehe~

    1. Jen: I want one of those hampers too! Lol. Yes, it is very extravagant! I had a shock! I was like HUH? Hence I am so insistent on making ours instead of buying. The teachers must think this mum is very stingy! Lol

  2. The 2 tier C&E hamper is simple just "spoiling the market" LOL. Gifts from the heart are always better.

    Not sure how I'm going to approach this yet, food for thought for me :)

  3. I sure hope that the teachers o so too man. LOL. But seriously, it is OK. Dumpling and I enjoyed ourselves and it was a good chance for me to inculcate some good ol' values :p

  4. Wow Dumpling's standard of Chinese is very power siah... :)

    Think she's growing up to be a very sensible girl! :) Thanks to you!

    1. Hi Pam,

      Have not heard from you in a while! Her Mandarin is still choppy, sentence structure is still not right. Getting there slowly. :) Let's pray that she will continue to have the right values :)


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