Since Truett started Primary 1 earlier this month, we’ve had a lot of fun teaching him about money management. So many lessons to be learnt here! In the past 2 weeks, I’ve gotten really good at monopoly junior and being a pretend supermarket cashier, among other things. The bad news is that even after so many practice visits to the mamashop (ha!), he still gets confused sometimes when he’s counting change but on the bright side, he now understands the value of money and the importance of savings.
Every morning, Truett goes to school with $2 in his wallet and the deal is this: it’s his money so he can choose to spend it all on food/snacks/knick knacks or he can spend some of it wisely while saving the rest. When he comes home from school, he will transfer his savings to his piggy bank and we’ll match cent for cent the amount he’s saved each day. So if he saves $1, we’ll give him an additional dollar for a total of $2 savings that day.
Apart from the dollar matching system, we are also planning to introduce new ways to encourage him to save, like maybe have a goal/reward system in place. For example, we’ll set a goal of saving $4-5 a week and if he achieves it, he gets to have an extra hour of Wii time on Saturday morning.
On our part, we try to set a good example by saving money too. We figured that the best way to teach the kids something is to first do it ourselves so we have a special jar of coins where we drop in our savings into at the end of every day.
The first 3 days of school, Truett spent $1 on chicken rice and saved the extra $1. On the fourth day, he spent $1 on chicken rice, and another $1 on a packet of milo in school (I’m not sure if the milo costs $1 or he forgot to take his change from the vending machine – either way, he came home with $0). When it was time to transfer his money to his piggy bank, he realised that he had nothing left to transfer and he was super bummed about it. So he came up with a plan – he asked if we could buy packets of milo from the supermarket for him to bring to school so he wouldn’t have to spend his savings dollar on it. Smart move, because we did. Since that day, he’s been bringing his own milo to school and saving the extra dollar.
It’s been a good start so far but cultivating the habit of saving takes time and I’m all for fun new initiatives that teach kids to save. When I heard about POSB’s National School Savings Campaign recently (it was started in 1969 – why did I not hear about this as a kid??), I thought it was brilliant. In fact, it’s so genius in its simplicity that I sort of wished I had come up with the idea myself (occupational hazard kicking in).
How this works is that each primary school student can get their POSB National School Savings stamp card from any POSB/DBS branch, SingPost outlet and at Pacific or Popular bookstores in schools from 2 February 2015 onwards. Stamps ($0.50 each stamp) will be sold at Pacific or Popular school bookstores and at SingPost outlets. So if Truett has $1 extra from his pocket money everyday, he can buy 2 stamps to stick on his stamp card. Once he completes the stamp card with 20 stamps, he can deposit the stamp card into any POSB/DBS Quick Cheque Deposit location, and the bank will then credit the full value ($10) and a $1 bonus (the bonus is limited to one stamp card per child, per month and only valid for POSBkids account holders) to his savings account. Didn’t I say it was genius?
First, you tackle the issue at the point where it happens. Recess time is when the kids are spending their money, so when they see the savings stamps being sold at the school bookstore, this acts as a reminder that they can (and should) save their money instead of spending it all.
It’s also a great move because kids are into collecting things. At least mine is. Truett has hoarder tendencies – it’s like a mission for him and gets a huge kick out of completing a collection.
And for some bizarre reason, kids love to buy stuff from the school bookstore. I used to have an unexplainable fascination for useless stationery trinkets from the bookstore when I was a kid so I fully understand this. So instead of buying a $0.50 sticker sheet that becomes worthless after it’s pasted on random surfaces, they can buy a cute $0.50 stamp, which is worth every cent. What a deal!
This National School Savings Campaign by POSB is a 10-month long initiative by POSB, supported by MOE. Together with Smiley the Squirrel, parents can pledge their support for the campaign and find out more about it here and encourage non-participating schools to pick it up too .
I told Truett about this campaign and he’s really looking forward to buying “money stamps” in school (fingers crossed that his school turns out to be one of the participating ones). I’m definitely pledging my support on this. :)
*Sign up here for an ePOSBkids account if your child doesn’t have one.