April 22, 2017

saving for it

One of the hardest thing about being a parent is to teach your kid about prudence and how to appreciate the little things we buy with our own money. Kids generally don’t care about money. The value of money is absent from their day to day cluster of thoughts, and that makes it even harder to teach them about being prudent or such shit.

My daughter Regine is no different from any other regular kid. She takes things for granted because we have been giving her the best, and would desire expensive glitzy things that her classmates had been showing off at school. One of the things that she sorely desired was that one ‘Smiggle’ pencil case. Now, if you’ve not heard of the brand, it’s like what a ‘Coach’ is… when compared to a regular handbag. Same shit, same design, but costs like 10x more than any other regular brand. Only that ‘Smiggle’ is all about school accessories (stationery, bags, tumblers, etc) and they’re targeted at kids.

So this goddamn piece of ‘Smiggle’ case costs about RM 104 bucks or something like that. I almost had a cardiac arrest when Regine told me the price. When I was in my secondary years, I used a metal pencil case which I bought for only 2 bucks, and I used it until I completed my engineering, and it’s still here today!

My old pencil case. You can still see the ASICS design metal layer/substrate sketches in the case, during my engineering years…

My reaction was pretty standard “What is so goddamn special about this ‘Smiggle’ pencil case that it’d cost RM104 bucks?? Does it make you smarter??”. No it’s just a ‘Smiggle’. A glorified brand. Just like ‘Coach’, or ‘Birkin’, or ‘Luis Vuitton’. The fuck I’m gonna pay for that. I straight shot her request down and I could tell that she was disappointed about it. But hey, at least she tried, right?

Anyway, a few hours later, I came up with this idea – why don’t I let her buy it with her own money? Like, I’d let her plan to save up for that ‘Smiggle’, and she can just buy it herself. All she needs to do, is plan her spending well. See, we give her RM2 per day as allowance. If she’s saving all the RM2 bucks, it’s going to take her about 3 months to have enough to buy that ‘Smiggle’ pencil case. Longer if she’s saving less.

Pros: She’s going to know how hard it is to save that amount. Because it is hard, she’s going to appreciate it more (compared to something she gets for free). And if the ‘Smiggle’ sucks, she’s going to learn a lesson about being prudent.

Cons: Probably going to get hungry over that piece of shit ‘Smiggle’. But it’s all up to her.

To encourage her to save, I offered to match her savings, so that she’d only need to save only half of the amount to buy it. She didn’t think twice about the deal, and immediately agreed in an excited manner. I told her to find a box and label it to remind her everyday to save for her ‘Smiggle’. And here’s how she labeled the box:

I think I should make her label another box as ‘education fund for myself’…

She started the fund in January this year, and it took her a little more than 3 months to save up RM50 bucks for her ‘Smiggle’ pencil case. I honored my promise, and brought her to buy that piece of daylight-robbery-expensive-shit pencil case. She was as happy as a lark. Here’s how that piece of abomination look like:

Not an actual picture, but it looks something like that. I hope it’ll make her smart or something

My next project is to get her to save for ‘birthday presents for Regine’s friends’… because I am sick of buying presents for her friends (and they’re not my friend).

michaelooi  | 3-of-us  | 

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