Recently I set my sights on something new and shiny and decided to save up for it. Can you guess how much I have actually been able to save so far – Zilch, Nada, nothing!
The reason , I fathom is that we hardly spend any cash these days. There is no spare change for me to feed this piggy with. Most of the time we shop with our bank debit ( or credit ) cards unless we are in some small speciality stores which don’t accept plastic money and that’s rare.
The story goes of a young boy who was known and ridiculed in his village as stupid, as he always picked up pennies when given the chance to choose between a penny and a dollar bill (my version was paisa v/s rupee but none the less). The surprised spectator took him aside and tried to teach him a lesson about the value of the mighty dollar. The boy responded that he knew enough to understand the day he picked up a dollar, the pennies would stop coming in. In my childhood imagination , the tale sparked an image of jars upon jars filled with shiny coins which brought me immense happiness. I loved my piggy bank and with joy watched it fill to the top. I was a miser and held on to my allowance money with my teeth. We used to have a bowl on our kitchen shelf where dad would empty his pocket and I stole many a coins from there and gleefully put them in my piggy bank too. I would then exchange my saved coins with mom to get bigger bills and my savings grew. I couldn’t wait to have my own bank account and a passbook(yeah , those were the days before eBanking !)
Small change can add up to big things you know. I was reminded of this fact once again when one of the banking institution introduced a feature where in you could round off your purchases and put your change into an connected saving account. Round off your purchase of $34.30 to 35$ and 70 cents go to your saving. It would be wonderful to see the savings grow trickle by trickle. I am signing up to see my virtual coins stack grow to big bills!!
But few have the patience for saving these days. Time and again , I read articles in the papers advising people to get rid of their debt and start saving , even if it is a small amount. I find it concerning that that the young people are getting further and further from the concept of money. Many homes like ours use plastic money. I know one of my friends’ son receives his allowance in terms of money added to his iTunes store account where he can download music and games from or recharge to his mobile phone. I don’t think this 12 year old has ever broken a full (and heavy) piggy bank to make his purchase. Money appears to be just a number in a bank account not something you have in your pocket and you watch it grow or being spent. I am starting to think this experience is really important, and even though I cannot deny the ease of e-banking I am thinking of reducing our use of the plastic just so our little daughter could get to see how we manage our finances. Right now most of it is online and not in plain sight.
I remember how diligently my mother used to record all the expenses, manage her bills and stick to her budget all with out the use of a computer or even a calculator. But I am not so sure if it is practical anymore. I guess, I have gotten used to the way things are.(gotten lazy…sorry Gail Vaz-Oxlade!) It remains to be seen if I can make a turn-around now and until then the piggy would remain hungry!