‘I have so much money!’

The girls’ school moved to a new campus in Fairview, Quezon City. With a bigger campus, there is now a canteen selling food and drink.
Even when the girls bring snacks to last the day, they still want to buy yummy-looking snacks like turon, fries, corn, brownies from the canteen that don’t look like their pandesal with cheese spread.
All the children are allowed to bring money as the canteen also serves lunch. I give my girls P20 each on Friday only.
I thought Shobe was really smart saving her P20 until the next week so she can have double the amount. She told me she needed more money so she could buy food for her friends. Awww, I thought, that is so sweet.
“…because we exchange money all the time,” she says.
“Uhm, whaaaaat?” I asked.
“K or C gives me money, I buy food and I give the change back. We exchange money!” she explains.
I laughed so hard inside, but couldn’t show her because I was also mortified that my daughter has been freeloading off her friends.
When she was in first grade, the campus was in the Tomas Morato Avenue area in Quezon City. There was a taho vendor right outside the school whom everyone knew. He also seemed to know all the students and even parents and yayas. One Friday, I took a turn picking up the kids from school. Before I entered the gate, Kuya Taho approached me.
“Ma’am, may utang po si Z sa akin na P40. Humingi po siya ng taho last week at tsaka nung Martes (Shobe owes me P40 for getting taho last week and this Tuesday),” he said.
“E wala namang pera yun. Bakit mo binigyan?” I asked.
“Gusto ho niya ng taho e. Nakakalimutan lang ni Kuya Ken magdala ng pambayad (She wanted taho. Kuya Ken just forgot to bring payment),” he replied.
Kuya Taho has already told our driver Kuya Ken, who kept forgetting to pay him back.
I found out that this was not the first time that my little one freeloaded off a taho vendor. Our driver would just use the parking money we leave in the car to pay for her taho.
At that time, she was just five and I chalked it up to age.
Over the years, we tried to teach the girls the value of money.
I found out this month that none of what I did worked. Shobe still “exchanged money” with her friends.
The day after I found out about the money exchange, I sent her to school with enough money to buy snacks for her friends. I texted the parents of those children to admit that their kids have been treating mine for recess and it’s our turn that day. It worked out well… this time.
Now, I’m scrambling to find a way to teach her the value of money, hence the P20 allowance every Friday.
In the next grocery run, I’m planning to give her P200 to buy her own snacks for school. She has to choose snacks that will stretch her P200, which in reality will not get her much because she loves getting imported chocolate cookies. Time to let her know how much those are.
When we review for math, she knows that thousands are bigger than hundreds. However, she doesn’t seem to transfer the same concepts to money. She once asked my mom to buy her new sparkly pink shoes, even after I just bought her new Superman sneakers that were on sale. Ahma forgot to ask me first and caved in to those pretty little batting eyes.
Thus, our next step is for her to save up money for something that she wants.
Shobe has been nagging me to buy her a stuffed animal, which I refuse because the girls already have a giant bin of stuffed toys. Sometimes, to get her off our backs, their father tells her to use her own money.
“I will! I have so much money in my alkansya (piggy bank)!” she says.
We tell her that it’s not enough. Obviously, that never sunk in.
This time, even if she already has a lot of those, I’ll let her buy a toy dog she’s been hankering for just to drive home the lesson – it will take almost the entire school year of no P20 a week for her to get the toy.
After the first quarter exams, I will encourage her to sell some of her toys online. I can do the selling for her, but she can price them herself and she can help monitor whether the toys sell.
I hope that when she starts counting up the P20s she expects every Friday, and with the toy sale, she will finally learn that “it’s so hard to find money!”
I want my daughters to grow up appreciating the value of money and not to think that with money they can solve all their problems. I learned this lesson from my brother’s classmates.
In high school, Sean often came home with P500 and P1,000 bills, which he said were his classmates’ payment for his doing projects for them. Mom asked where his classmates got the money. “Do they ask their parents money to pay someone to do projects?”
Sean informed her that his classmates got minimum P1,000 daily allowance, some got P10,000 or more weekly allowance!
Mom admonished Sean. “You are not teaching them responsibility. You are telling them that with money, they can solve their problems, like having someone do their work for them.”
Sean’s swift riposte: “Mom, we’re high schoolers. If they don’t know responsibility by this time, it is not my responsibility anymore.”
Learning from that lesson, I want my daughter to get a sense of responsibility, especially about the value of money, early in life or soon, it may be too late.