Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Money Matters - Is this expensive, Mummy?

Since he's at the age of 3 we have been teaching DinoBoy some life lessons such as Responsibilities.  One thing that we keep reminding him is the the value & importance of money, how it is hard to come by, how every dime matters and how we should not waste money unnecessarily on food, clothes & toys.  He understands it well and does not protest when we refuse to buy certain toys for him.  However some times if he wants a toy badly he will strike a bargain of some sort with us; "If I am very very very good this week, will you buy this for me?" of which we will always reply that we expect him to be in best behavior at all times and not when he wants something badly. 

Therefore he knows that he only needs to tell us once that he wants something (mostly toys or ipad games) and we will give it to him either on certain special occasions like birthday/Christmas or when his teachers praised him for good behavior or for doing something good in school.  Occasionally he will still go down the "very very very good this week" path but he knows we are only hearing and not listening to these.


While most of the parents give their primary school going children SGD2 as their pocket money, we gave DinoBoy SGD4, this is for him to buy food during his recess and with a spare of SGD2 for emergency.  Student care provides meals for them so they do not need to buy their food from the tuck shop. 

We were informed by the school they are embarking on the Health Promoting School Canteen (HPSC) initiative that will serve well balanced & nutritional set meals and in accordance to the nutritional requirements for primary school students recommended by Health Promotion Board, each set will cost SGD1, SGD1.50 and SGD2 respectively, depending on the meal size.  Therefore SGD2 should be able to cover his food he wants to buy, of course we did not take into consideration that he will opt to buy drinks instead of taking along his water bottle during recess.  So here's where the extra SGD2 will come in handy.

Anyway here's what happened on the 1st week of Primary school when there are no more buddy to take care of him;

* 1st day he had SGD1.80 in his wallet, means he spent SGD2.20 on food which according to him is noodle @ SGD1.50 and strawberry milk @ SGD0.70.
* 2nd day he had SGD1.80 in his wallet again, he said he had noodle, honey dew and strawberry milk.  Ok... so how much does the honey dew cost?  SGD0.30 he said but that don't add up!  Then he said strawberry milk is SGD0.40, I'm frowning at this point of time.  A few more rounds of questioning leads to nowhere except leaving a very vexed mum and a sad boy sitting in the living room.

The following couple of days were hell to us as the amount does not tally!  Even when he told us that he had SGD1.00 noodle/rice and SGD1.00 fruits (which is ridiculous to me) he is still 20 cents short.  Our patience is running very low and temper is rising as he is unable to explain the missing SGD0.20.  We told him that we are not questioning him on the amount he spent on food, we want him to have a full stomach while in class, we just want to know what happened to that 20 cents. 

Did your friend took your 20 cents? - No.
Did you drop the 20 cents? - No.
Did the stall aunties return you the correct change? - Yes.
Did you let your friends play with your wallet? - No.

So where did the 20 cents go to?????  It was so frustrating!  DinoPapa even gave DinoBoy a small piece of paper and a pen to put with his wallet, he told him to get the stall auntie to write down the cost of the meal when he buys them.  For 2 days the amount tally but still have reasonable doubts.  I have had enough of this "mystery" so I took an afternoon off work to investigate and here are my findings;

* The set meals comes with a slice of fruits, that cost SGD1, SGD1.50 or SGD2.
* According to the auntie running the drink stall, Primary 1 students have a high tendency to drop the changes on the floor as they did not hold the coins tight enough or keep in their wallet before leaving the stall with their food.
* Auntie also sells fruits like dragon fruit, papaya, watermelon, banana, that cost between SGD0.30 to SGD0.50.

There you have it!  High chance that our dear little boy drops the change and some lucky students picked it up.  And we were to blame too for failing to read that the set meals comes with a slice of fruit; that will explain why DinoBoy said that a slice of honey dew cost SGD1.  He did not say clearly that the honey dew comes with the noodle and he paid SGD1 for both items. 

However, all is not lost!  Thank God for that!  It seems that the incident left an impression in DinoBoy.  We noticed a change in him, a very clear example is during our dinner at Sakae Sushi shortly after that incident.  Previously he will just grab anything from the conveyor belt, that day we were seated a the round table, while flipping the menu I pointed to some of the sushi and asked if he wants it.  Instead of saying OK right away, he answered me with "how much is it?" and "is this expensive?".  And I have a shock when he said this "Mum I think this is expensive, we don't order this lah"  This, is the plate that holds his favourite Ikura Gunkan which cost SGD6.29, something that he will insist on ordering every time we are there.  Perhaps now he realized that money is really hard to come by and how much a meal will cost in figures.  Perhaps he is looking at that insignificant pieces of plastic paper and silver flat round thing with a different mindset & perspective.  Perhaps he has shown new respect for this thing call MONEY.

And what happened during recess time now?  He's been spending SGD1.50 and saving the 50 cents every day since after that incident.  Its good that he wants to save up his pocket money but DinoPapa gave him a word of advice "Do not be over possessive on saving money, if you are hungry just go ahead and buy more food to eat.  That's the purpose of the extra SGD2, we will not scold you for spending more on food."  

We must remember that after all he is a growing 7 year old boy!

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  1. Yay!! Well done, Z!

    Like the homework - this goes to show that he's learning, and putting what he learnt to good use!

    1. Yupe, we are glad that he is good but we believe that he needs constant reminders too.

  2. Well done to Daddy, Mummy and Boy Boy

  3. Good Job! Great that you share on this so next time when our little one goes P1 we know what to expect.

    1. Ya, at least must find out how much every food cost otherwise really headache.

  4. We started out giving $2 daily to our kids when in lower primary. Once they reached upper, we got them to manage their money by giving them weekly allowance instead. So its up to them what they spend on. If they save more then spend, they can buy something for themselves. But Z has proven he is prudent! I agree too that if he needs more to eat, don't stinge on that 50cts. :p

    1. Eh just when I post about him saving his 50cents, just now he told me he spent all his SGD2 =.= SGD1 for noodle n SGD1 on H2O.... faintz....

  5. This is an important lesson - and good for Z that he brings the lesson to real life too!

    1. Yupe, especially for us who only have him, we have a tendency to splurge on him. Have to constantly remind ourselves not to do that lest he thinks every thing comes so easy.

  6. Tumbs up for Z he had grown up so much.

    You should had asked me about the fruits things.:P

    C started to buy drinks as well and she can jolly well spend her money on drinks and simply tell me she is not hungry during recess time.

    Just confronted her this morning and make sure she eats and drink plain water instead of those sweet drinks.

    By the way don't you find the English and Chinese spelling are too close together? I feel its a never ending spelling....

    1. Wah! Really arh? She still packs food to school?

  7. Wow, Z really 长大了,很懂事。Must be very heart warming to see that he starts to appreciate the hard work you guys take on and that he is more mindful of spending. ;) Good job!