Singaporean working mum, Claudia Lim, shares how the POSB Smart Buddy programme is helping her two daughters learn the value of money, cashless.

I’m really bad at managing money. No one really taught me the importance of savings when I was little. I was never told that I should split my daily pocket money so that I have some to spend, to save and to donate. Being the eldest in the family also meant I got a lot of care and attention from my parents, relatives and grandparents. When I needed more pocket money to buy books or the many erasers, pens and highlighters to overstuff my stationery box, I just had to ask from my gong gong and he would give it to me.

Zara and Ayra (Photo: Claudia Lim)

In those days, I was given every opportunity to physically use notes and coins, but I never truly understood the value of money and the importance of saving. The teaching of life values: differentiating between needs and wants, and learning about delayed gratification are much more important life lessons than counting physical notes and coins.

I could have been as rich as him if I had been taught the value of saving and investing from young. (Photo: Claudia Lim)

Imagine if someone had told me I could have hundreds of thousands of dollars in my savings account if I had started saving from young. I would have been able to afford a decent car or even upgraded our family to a more desirable house! Oh well, at least I’m starting to plan ahead for my two girls. I am slowly exposing them to the value of money and its importance. The POSB Smart Buddy programme is a good way for me to get them started on financial literacy and pave the road for them to become a wiser spender and better saver.

Never too early to start!

Personally, I’ve tried several different ways to teach my girls the value of money. However, none were followed through for more than a month. Here’s a list of what I tried over the last couple of years:

Reward $1 for each day they attend school – Two years ago, they hated going to school. So I gave them $1 each after dinner when they behaved well in the morning and went to school willingly. This stopped when I ran out of $1 coins.

Complete a well-behave card to redeem reward of their choice – Each “chop” was for a 50-cents reward. They would get a chop when they completed a chore or task well. When they completed the card which came up to about $10 in value, they would get to use the $10 to get something they wanted. This suffered a silent death because it was too troublesome to dig out the card and give them a stamp. Also, the cards couldn’t be found after the first few days.