The Start, Vitals
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Lunch Money Matters

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Words and Photo by Isabel Aguas

As a parent, it’s essential to start your child off on street smarts as soon as possible. Beyond talking to strangers, of course, one valuable lesson would be handling their money. Honing this kind of responsibility is something that not only saves your kids from future financial bondage but also reinforces their general sense of discipline and gratitude.

In the spirit of saving, The Start has rounded up three quick-read yet practical tips to get your child savvy with their finances.

Goal!

Start simple by suggesting an attainable goal. Allow them to weigh out the pros and cons, highlighting both sacrifice and benefit. An example: Setting aside their daily cafeteria iced tea budget of P30 and instead packing a jug of juice or water saves them P150 each school week. That’s roughly P600 a month. Let them use the money to purchase a sought-after item on their want list. Doing this gives them a newfound sense of hard work and accomplishment.

 Cash Only, Please

Credit cards are a “grown-up” item most young people look forward to owning. However, we all know it isn’t all fun and games when bills slowly lead you into a sinkhole of debt. Smart spending means maximizing a credit card’s benefits (0% interest, installments, etc.) or simply paying in cash. Letting kids witness situations where you pay direct and upfront opens the floor for questions about debt and budgeting. Once you notice that they get the gist of it and actually apply it to their daily lives, you can then explain how “debt” isn’t necessarily a bad thing when it comes to making investments.

The Save-Spend-Give Jar System

While on the topic of budgeting, it is fundamental to stress the importance of giving back. This helps cancel out the sense of entitlement privileged kids are prone to developing. Introducing a save-spend-give jar system in the household keeps the family accountable to each other. A simple ratio to start with is 40:40:20. Fill the jars to the brim and use the money accordingly, taking the save jar to the bank, the spend jar to the toy store, and the give jar to a charity. To some, money can buy happiness – but it can never buy gratitude.

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