I learned frugality and delayed gratification through my husband. He is the modest and simplest person I know. His clothes can fit into one small luggage. He uses a mid-range Android phone and owns just half a dozen pair of shoes which I think is very few for somebody who can afford more. Back home, we own a third hand super old car. We don’t buy new because we don’t stay for so long in the Philippines. You will find him mostly in sando and shorts or white shirts and jeans. We don’t buy the latest gadgets and cameras and people would sometimes joke about his being kuripot (stingy). My husband has a nice, decent paying job that can buy so much but we opt to choose a frugal life wherein we live within our means and save more for the future or for rainy days.
Now that we are parents, we realized that Frugality and Delayed Gratification are one of the greatest lessons we can ever impart to Lia. We never spoiled her. You will often see Lia at home wearing this cheap white cotton shirt from Divisoria. And when she goes out, you can see her wearing just shirt paired with leggings or shorts or just simple dress that we bought on SALE. You can barely see her on a Sunday dress unless there’s an occasion because let’s face it, kids clothes are really expensive especially the dressy ones. And kids? They just wear them once! I buy clothes that I can easily mix and match so the people will say naman that Lia’s not wearing the same clothes over and over again – NOT! Actually, I really don’t mind what people will say. I mean, Lia, at least for us who love her, is cute and pretty and she doesn’t really need new clothes to show off every time. Her hair accessories don’t overflow in the box either. We buy her just enough. But she’s lucky, a lot of people love her and shower her with occasional Ralph Laurens, DKNYs and Calvin Kleins. 🙂
She doesn’t have her own Ipad unlike other kids who at the young age of 2, have their own tablets on hand. Lia’s toys are carefully picked. We don’t buy her just because she wants a toy. We choose the ones that can boost her imagination and help her to learn new things because toys really cost us an arm and leg so why not buy them wisely, right? And toy shops aren’t always the answer, we take time to spend making DIYs with Lia to make her toys and everything that tickles her fancy. It means more savings and more bonding pa!
I often see lots of fashionista kids with tons of pretty hairclips, headbands, really big collection of nice shoes and a wardrobe close to a real artista. They never repeat an outfit – these cute kids in their elaborate Sunday dresses just going to the grocery or princess gowns when going to malls. Don’t get me wrong! I adore these sugar-spice-and-everything-nice kind of stuff. It’s just that, sadly, I also witness how these kids when they grow up felt that they always need new clothes to look good and beautiful. Consciousness on how they look eat them up an early stage. I even saw kids forcing their parents to get something from a toy store and throwing really bad tantrums when they don’t buy it for them. I really, really don’t like that to happen! Instead of just being “kids” and be able to be happy with the small things, they insatiably wishing for so much more.
While many parents would say that they want to give their kids what they never had in life, my husband and I never believed in that. We don’t want Lia to think that worldly possessions constitute the greatest good and highest value in life. Buying them “all” that they want doesn’t always mean that we love them and yes, I think just buying everything is lame. It detours the road of teaching them self-sufficiency or ability to survive on their own, delayed gratification or their ability to resist something to give way for a later reward and something very important – living entirely within our means and wise spending. These things link to a positive outcome which includes academic success, high Emotional Quotient, good psychological health and social competence. And we want to instill these core values to Lia.
Moreover, there are things we don’t really skimp like books, good food, travel and education. The things we think what Lia really needs. In return, Lia’s growing up to be a well-behaved and a happy little girl. Trips to Toys R Us were never a problem because she won’t be throwing tantrums over a My Little Pony that we did not buy. She knows how to wait for the right time to get what she wants and if she doesn’t, well, she knows that Mommy will just cook her favorite Corn soup instead and she’s very okay with that.
We all have our own way of showing our kids that we love them dearly and it sounds so good to hear that we want to give the world to them. But raising them to be appreciative and grateful is what will make them truly happy for the rest of their lives and that, for us, is what really matters.