I love celebrating Lunar New Year as a child. There is no other holiday I know of that allows a child to make a whopping $200 in a matter of hours (well… depending on how hard one works). By “working,” I mean staking out the married relatives, then slowly moving toward them without being too obvious; once I am within range I would bellow out a well-rehearsed “good fortune to you and your family in the new year” or “may you be blessed with good luck throughout the year.” Then instinctively, they would take a hong bao (red pocket money) out from their pocket and into my eager hands.
Unfortunately, I never get to enjoy the splendor of spending my money. By the end of the night, I must obediently turn over all of the fruits of my labor to my mother for “safe keeping.” As an eight year old, I did not understand her reasoning for seizing a child’s red pocket money. Why can I not spend all my money on candies and toys? What do you mean I have to learn to save money? Now as an adult I realize it was her way of teaching me how to be a financially responsible person.
We have a natural tendency to over spend. In order to control my natural instinct to buy 2 pair of pumps instead of 1 pair because they are having a mad sale at Nordstrom, I incorporate restraint and awareness into my daily routine. Before I make that purchase I have to be aware of what I really need and how much I can afford. If I figure that I neither need nor can I afford this extra pair of pumps I will then invoke the gods of restraint to make me turn away from that sales rack.
Thankful for Smart Spending
I have my mother to thank for teaching me the importance of smart spending. For those who are still learning the ropes of financial responsibility and finding it difficult, do not get frustrated. There are many solutions out that can help put your financial house in order. The right solution for you may be as simple as cutting down your consumption of gourmet coffee, or some of you may need professional advice in order to get a fresh start on your finances.