Money & Childhood


JD counting his money

I was reading About money and I realised that many people were taught manners and religion  but very little about how to handle money. Let’s face it, how you handle money to a large extent will determine your quality of life.

My first experiences with money was always begging my mom by age three to allow me hand over money to cashiers at the store. By the time I was adding and subtracting in primary one or so, i wanted to count the actual money and try to figure out the change. I also was taught about money being important but not everything…this perspective is probably different from someone that grew up in an environment where there was very little and there is always the drive for money.

I started getting a daily allowance in primary one also…one Naira everyday- are you trying to guess when I entered primary school? 😅And I got school lunch and I was allowed to take food from home in my lunch box – my mother was one of those whatever tickles your fancy type of mothers 😆. I took cornflakes to school a lot with home made soy milk or soya beans moin moin with plenty sugar. Sometimes lemonade with banana fritters etc. I also realised by primary one that it made sense to not spend all my money because if I saved I could go to leventis or kingsway during the weekend and buy somehing “nice”. So i would only spend 30 kobo for maybe biscuit and I would get home and put the remaining 70 kobo in my “kolo” (those wooden piggy banks). I was only willing to disclose to my dad where the key was…I wouldn’t even tell my mom. And I used to count the money in my parents bathroom everyday when I added my daily change to it and I had a mini notebook that I wrote the “balance” in.

My mom rarely bought “minerals”..and we had a lemon tree in the yard, so by age four we all learnt to roll the lemons and make lemonade. I would make lemonade and trade it for half a bottle of coke or 2 pieces of square okin. Sometimes i went back home with my entire 1 Naira. Fridays were special cause I discovered suya…so if i didnt buy anything the whole week, i could but N2 suya and just relax and eat it.

By the time I went to boarding school in Jss 1, we werent allowed to keep money, just an account with the school “tuck” shop.   But I would only spend N300 out of maybe N3k in an entire term. My parents rarely ever replaced that allowance in the three years I was in boarding school.

By the time I got to secondary school – ss1 as a day student, my allowance was bouyant sha:mrgreen:. N400 per day, my mom was against it, but my dad maintained his stance. He gave the money weekly and I got hair allowance -N500 per week- so I was totalling N2,500 a week. And sometimes my dad would mess wih us by giving us allowance at the beginning of the term for the entire term. Then if you also went to meet my dad that they asked you to buy a note book or pens- he wouldn’t give you any extra money- so you had to know how to save. Neither were you getting money for fixing bicycles etc or weekend hangout with your friends. I started looking for ways to save the entire amount- i would walk to the neighbourhood behind my house and do my hair for N100 and then I started baking cakes for the time summer came around, my mom would always tell you your spending budget for summer- I always noticed by the time she was done, you would have to give up a few things or buy all your stuff from payless (please google Payless if you dont know warramtalkingabout) and I wanted to wear Nike😅. So i would offer to buy my Nike sneakers oh from allowance saved.

Oh yeah by age 10 in my house my dad stopped spanking and my mom stopped fighting muay thai (she is a boxer and kicker) – no organised beating spread your hands type mess- you got Jamaican Style beatdown if she caught you. My dad was efficient – he stopped making noise and disciplining- wake up late for school – he could randomly decide to deny you allowance for a week or month- so everybody was on their best behaviour. Because if you lose your allowance and you don’t save, the other siblings would loan shark you- and you might pay interest till the term ends – “it doesn’t worth it”- better to just behave. He never took allowance away if grades fell though – he would just say “even successful armed robbery takes diligence, so nothing is easy”! 😅

When I went to America for University I had amassed quite a bit of money – close to $2k and I was like chai I have arrived. The allowances also stopped- somehow my dad figured if you are old enough for university you can get a job 😅. The point to the entire epistle above- my parents didn’t give any outright lectures about handling money and saving- they just sort of forced it upon us. The one thing I wish we got taught was investing money though. That I had to learn on my own and it has been interesting to say the least.

How were you trained with money? Was it ever even discussed in your household? How has it affected how you deal with money today? If you have kids, how are you teaching them about money? It may help us aspiring parents. Please feel free to share….

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24 Comments on Money & Childhood

  1. Wow! You were really industrious and a good saver. I can’t remember when I started getting an allowance. Probably SS1 cos I started boarding school. I’m prudent with money and if I see something I like but can’t afford, I tell myself that when I can afford it, a better model or design will be out. When I have kids, I’ll start giving them allowances from primary 3, cultivate a saving culture in them and let them know about investments.


    • Mrs. Fab I could have just been cheap from the get go. I hung out with my mom a lot and she is the queen of all things cheap. A lot of people started getting money later it seems. I just have a thing for not spending money per say…not even sure how it came about. My husband makes fun of me a lot. I think once a child is born they should have a piggy bank and once they are 2 or 3 – the conversations should start. I have a five years old nephew who knows how much money he has in the bank. I remember telling him if he broke something he would have to give me the money to buy it back and he told me he had $2420 – he had transposed the numbers but he was quite confident he had enough money to buy back whatever it was. Same way he tells me he is going to take me to lunch for my birthday but I can’t kiss him because its not a date. lol. he empties his piggy bank once every quarter or so and deposits his money in the bank. He already has an idea of the things he should and shouldnt do with money.


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    Stay fab!


  3. Wow…that was quiet smart of you as such a young age to develop such habit
    I started getting pocket money in jss 1 when I started boarding school ,I was never taught about money or savings I just learnt from my environment
    I’ve never actually taught about how early to teach my kids this things when the time comes,I just knew I will do it but starting early is great so I think Primary 1 my kids get allowance.and money talk just so they can grow learning how to be responsible and know how to handle money
    I liked your Dad’s approach to when grades dropped
    Your childhood sounds super cool


    • You know Crimson one thing I have realised in my short life is that no matter what you are professionally or do in terms of income generation – the difference between wealth and the rest is an instrinsic ability to manage money. so it almost leaves one confused as to how we dont get more training on money. Lol my childhood was many things – the only appropriate word would be dynamic- because in retrospect we didnt have much but we didnt realise we didnt have much.


  4. We weren’t really taught how to handle money, and we never got allowances either. Just basic needs met and money gifts whenever dad was around, (he worked out of state then) but I was still am naturally good with money. I was hardly ever broke in uni, I knew how to manage the money I got from home.

    I intend to teach my kids about money pretty early, and also teach them about investments.


    • Lohla you are lucky you learnt how to manage money. Many people still struggle as adult in terms of relationships with money. my own thing is why we werent taught about stocks and bonds and other investments. At least my grand father was an avid investor even though him being an accountant and also Nigeria’s first auditor general likely played a role. But I cant imagine if i had started a stock portfolio by age 10 what it would have been by now.


  5. Seems you were born with a good head on your shoulders so the rest was easy for your folks.

    My parents always gave us just enough but no surplus. They also heavily emphasized how we should not borrow. You could not come home with someone else’s novel or pen or whatever – serious wahala or spanking sef.

    In uni, I had a printer and used to offer printing services for classmates to print projects or assignments and all that. It helped supplement my pocket money.

    As an adult, I HATE borrowing now enh. I’d rather manage the little I have, if I have to borrow, I won’t be able to sleep well at night. I also don’t buy anything on credit, if I cannot afford it or pay in full, I close my eyes and manage myself – also helps to minimise instances of buyer’s remorse.
    I also try to save up to 30% of my salary every month. In an account where I have no ATM and no quick access.

    I really hope I raise financially responsible children. The knowledge of not being indebted to anyone and having a certain level of security is a good feeling.


    • IHeart in my house you could borrow – just not from external parties. One of my siblings was a master debtor in the house. lol. But he gained so much financial knowledge after he had two kids it was amazing. Buyer’s remorse – we all have it at some point or another.


  6. Chrisyinks // July 31, 2015 at 12:14 // Reply

    great post!

    well for me, money wasn’t taught during my childhood, it was just handed when requested for and you bet it had to be a reasonable request. I remember in my early secondary school days – I had saved some amount over the term with a friend and i got duped by my own friend. I learnt my first lesson with money – trust but trust with caution especially when dealing with friends.

    Much later in my growing days, I remember being buoyant enough to always lend to my friends even though i was on a moderate allowance. In undergrad, i often lent to friends who had way bigger allowance but poor spending pattern. I’d say i do well with living within my means but just like you i need to learn to invest and invest right. Entrepreunerial and risk taking activities hasn’t been my forte but i need to rise up to the challenge.

    As for children, as early as possible. I remember reading rich dad, poor dad and realizing how much i could have learnt with financial responsibility at a younger age.


    • Chrisiyinks – You know I have still not read rich dad poor dad yet? I am not sure why – because I remember owning it at a point. As for people with big spending appetites – I believe a lot of us use our spending habits to cover insecurities. I rarely spend recklessly and when I do – I realise I am trying to compensate for something.


  7. I was given everything but cash. I grew up and learnt prudency on my own. Hubby is my role model on that. I don’t do crazy aso-ebis, I rarely do aso ebis, thanks to my mum. I don’t do credit purchases, cos I still love my sleep and won’t want to lose my respect over money. I don’t do impulse buying. I plan my month and have a weekly budget. If you could hear me ask myself over and over again about the need for an item to be purchased……… do you need it? Do you really need it? Will you need it next week? Is it a solution or will it brings about another purchase?


    • Enjay if Only many people sat down and costed how much they spend on asoebi annually, they will realise and pull back. I cant imagine someone who goes to 2 weddings a month with average asoebi cost of N15k per event plus tailoring and makeup up etc another N15k – so total to attend an event would be N30k multiple by 2 every month is n60k by 12 is N720k – almost a million. If for nothing that is a very luxurious vacation for the year. It is cheaper to put N10k in an envelope and give it to the couple as a wedding gift than to buy Aso ebi. even imagine the N720k in a stock portfolio annually for 10 years untouched?

      And as for the do I need it questions – sometimes we arent all that strong. I sleep on big item purchases before I make them and I realise I cant even remember the item I was trying to buy the next day. lol.


  8. I was a saver too, only problem was that my spendthrift brothers borrowed it all and never ever paid back. I really cannot remember or even know my reasons for saving, or know what to do with the money afterwards (now I don’t blame my brothers for their actions). I need you as a friend Miss Pynk…there’s so much that can be learnt from you. U r an inspiration.


    • Nne as for the brothers – you have to learn how to curb them. I have three brothers and they all married before me – even my two younger ones. And I realised they would come to me with half of their drama – Being a sister is like being a mother – you cant throw them away – but you can be firm. Give half or a quarter of what is being requested – if it is a life or death situation then you can give it up. Also a trick is to tie down your money – Buy treasury bills, buy bonds, buy stocks – when you are not liquid it is very hard to give anybody what you literally don’t have. But you also have to make sure that some of those investments are liquid enough that you can sell off in 24 hours without much of a penalty.

      Not everybody is a great saver – I personally don’t save even though I am so cheap its almost a sin.


  9. I wasn’t taught about money and I wasn’t given an allowance till jss 1. I’ve always been good with money naturally. I don’t know how or when i learnt it, but I’m very good at investing and saving money.


    • Zoe you are one of the few naturals – it doesnt come that easy for many people. I dare say you have a very bright future once you have a good hang on handling money.


  10. I remember I had a piggy bank, saved up money and got myself the. Extra stuff I wanted for school.

    I plan to teach my kids veryvery early the importance of saving, investing and delayed gratification.

    God help me


    • Clare delayed gratification is hard – especially in Nigeria. If people arent shoving their “good life” in your face, someone you know is dying and you are wondering what exactly you are saving and investing for. I think while we teach money, that balance has to come in so that insecurities dont help erode what is being built.


  11. Lucynthia // August 1, 2015 at 13:00 // Reply

    I had a piggy bank too and a book to record my savings. Divide your pocket money into 3equal parts. Save one part use one part for snacks in sch and the third part is left till d end of d week. If there is no emergency it goes into the piggy bank which I open at d end of the yr…


  12. In my household, money wasn’t ever discussed until I got a bit older and I was able to understand a bit about it. Of course the basics were taught to me by my parents. My dad will usually call the savings and investments “today’s plan for tomorrow’s peace of mind” and the bits about be content and don’t steal…. I plan to teach my kids about savings, investments and money matters from a young age though particularly cause I’m building a career in investment and finance.


    • Tumi – Your dad was absolutely spot on about “today’s plan for tomorrow’s peace of mind” when i see a lot of pensioners begging it breaks my heart, because i start wondering where they went wrong- was it placing absolute trust in a system instead of diversifying? Or did they even know how to invest or have a clue? Or they just kept faith that they worked in a particular company for xyz years and they would get a stipend monthly post retirement?


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