Money ABCs for Mommies

ABCs For Mommies 

 




It has been said that mothers are the first teachers. Long before a child enters the four corners of a classroom, he has gained some skills of listening to another person, singing rhymes and making up words and pointing to body parts, as well as the ABCs and 123. These skills that a child learns early on at home pave the way to learning how to read and write, what is called literacy skills. Literacy, the ability to read and write is a crucial skill that every person has to possess. All mothers would want to see their children equipped with all the right knowledge, skills and tools to survive the bigger world outside the home. But, is nurturing and teaching functional literacy enough? What else should children be equipped as they go out into the real world?

Surprisingly, one would answer a myriad of things, but not financial literacy. Financial what? Financial literacy is a word we don’t hear enough. But being mothers, it is a word that is very much a part of the daily grind of life. Only that it isn’t named but financial literacy is a skill much like the ability to read and write. Both skills are crucial in this world. Simply put, financial literacy is the knowledge and skill of using money in our daily lives. Just like the skill of reading and writing which starts at home, knowledge and skills about money should also start from the home, and almost always from the mother’s lap.

Why are moms the best teachers of financial literacy? As co-managers of the house, moms know how important money is in meeting a family’s basic needs of food, shelter and clothing. Moms know that money is needed to provide a good quality of life for the family which includes health, education and leisure. Another important role for moms is managing money so that future goals are met like owning a house, car or setting up a business. So, moms are the best teachers because they have a big role in maintaining the financial wellness of a family.

Teaching good money skills to children at any age can be easy with these simple ABCs. A mom does not need a degree to do this because after all, motherhood is not just something learned in formal schooling, it also comes with experience. And also, teaching money skills is a part of the nurturing that moms provide their children.

A for assessment. Moms need to know how much money is available to the family in order to live. Is there enough to provide food, pay basic utilities and live in a comfortable house? How much can be spent for children’s education and related expenses? How about leisure activities? They say knowledge is power. Knowing what is there can help you moms make the best decisions. So, before spending money, know how much is there to spend first. How does this translate when teaching your kids? For example, if you bring them with you to the market or grocery, they will always ask to buy something. Teaching financial literacy can mean telling them beforehand that you will give them ten pesos to buy something at the store. If they decide to not to buy, you get to keep the money for them and add maybe one peso to that seed money that your child can bring again the next time you go grocery shopping. Tailor the amount of money and conditions to your child’s age. But, essentially, you will be teaching your child to spend money that is available to him/her and at an early age, make decisions on what to buy and not to buy.

On the other hand, if you do bring your child with you when shopping, you can always tell him that he cannot ask to buy anything at that time because you only have enough money to buy what is needed, what is important. This is teaching them too, that money should be spent based on priorities. And again, teaching them to spend only what they have. If there is nothing to use, then don’t!

B for budget. At this point in your life, budget can both be one of the things that you hate to do or love to do! But, like it or not, a budget makes your life easier! It is because when you have a budget, you know what are you currently using your money for and you can plan for your future spending! This also entails setting up priorities. After meeting basic needs of the family, what is your next priority for spending? Your child’s tuition fees, if they go to a private school? Or maybe your savings for his/her college education? How about healthcare? Do you have a nest egg for unplanned trips to the doctor or the occasional sickness? And, as moms, you do have to maintain a leisure activity as a family. Can you afford to go to the malls every Sunday? Why not go to public parks instead so you have less expenses while still having good, quality family time? Moms are very creative persons and it is then your job to think of ways to stay within the budget but still have a happy and satisfied family life. These things that you do, are seen by your children. How you manage your finances at home, balance the activities are observed by your children, which eventually becomes the basis of how they see things and do things when they get to be adults. Being the best role models is the best way to teach them. One of the easiest and most concrete ways of teaching your children to budget is through their “baon”. As soon as the child is of school age, the “baon” or their money allowance is their training ground. So, teach them young with their “baon” how to set priorities and also think of creative ways to stretch their budget.

C for consistent. Good money habits are formed because they are practiced often and always in the same manner. What are areas for consistency? First, with priorities for spending. There is a mega-sale at the mall. Would you go shopping when the money you have is for meant for electricity and water? Which should go first? Second, be consistent with the rules you have with your children. This would include how much baon you give them, when they can ask money for other things that they want but not necessarily need or enforcing a piggy bank rule, that they maintain a piggy bank to encourage saving money for future needs. Lastly, be consistent with actions. As mothers, the occasional sermon or dinner conversation, enumerating the importance of handling money wisely is a part of your routine. We’ve all heard that because probably when we were younger, our parents did the same thing for us. And told us the age-old proverb, money doesn’t grow on trees, so it should be spent wisely. But, words can just be words if your children do not see your actions that go with it. If you have good and sound money habits, your children will see it and that is the most efficient way to inculcate the right skills, values and attitudes.

These ABCs may sound easy but as most mothers know, nothing is ever easy! Child-bearing and parenting is a big job, a great responsibility to oneself as well as to the whole of humanity. So, fret no more, Moms out there! International Marketing Group (IMG) is an institution that can help you navigate the ABCs of financial wellness in the home. They give free seminars that help moms with their management of finances for the home.

For more information on IMG, you may follow this link below or contact jtuanquin@yahoo.com and 09184192066.