As adults, our New Year’s resolutions usually revolve around ourselves. Whether we intend to lose more weight, save more money or achieve better work-life balance, we seldom include others in our plans.
But if you’re a parent in Singapore, you don’t need me to tell you that your kids are a huge part of your life. That’s why making New Year’s resolutions centred on them makes so much sense. Here are three New Year’s resolutions that will help to ease the financial pressures of being a parent.
1. Review all the after school activities you’re paying for
Most parents are reasonably circumspect when they enroll their kids in after school activities. Attend any kiddy swimming class and you’ll see a swarm of parents keeping watch by the side of the pool. But after a few weeks without incident, it can be difficult to remember to keep tabs on how things are going, especially when your kid has multiple activities going on each week.
Unless you’re using these after school activities just to get your kid out of your hair in the afternoons, it’s pretty unlikely that all of them are giving you bang for your buck. Your kid may be overloaded with so many activities he’s just snoozing through all his tuition sessions. Or his piano teacher might be such a terror he now hates the sight of the instrument. And if your kid really is an artistic genius, those cookie cutter art classes might have long outlived their usefulness.
Over the course of the year, aim to review each and every after school activity you’ve enrolled your child in with a view to discontinuing those that aren’t worth the money.
Call up the teachers and have a word with them, and also have a heart to heart talk with your child. You just might discover that those classes you thought your child couldn’t do without are actually just a waste of time and money.
2. Volunteer as a family 3 times in the coming year
Spending time as a family can get mighty expensive in Singapore, especially if you have more than one child. Universal Studios tickets for two adults and two kids will set you back a whopping $256, and don’t even get us started on the overpriced food at Sentosa.
Your children’s attitude towards money will have a much greater impact on your own financial health than you think. If they grow up always hankering after the newest toys and gadgets their classmates are flashing, you can bet that’s going to affect you.
Spend quality time with your kids without having to spend a ton of money and also teach them to cultivate an un-materialistic, compassionate mindset by volunteering as a family at least three times in 2015.
The hands-on nature of volunteering is something most kids take to naturally, and you’ll find they enjoy it a lot more than being dragged along on yet another shopping trip.
While some charity organisations in Singapore require volunteers to be at least 13 to 17 years old, many are willing to make exceptions for children who are accompanied by a parent.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
- TOUCH Community Services – This organisation has a long history of providing services to the elderly and youths, and runs a Meals-on-Wheels programme that distributes food to home-bound senior citizens.
- NUS Toddycats – Affiliated with the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, this group organises nature walks, exhibitions and talks. You and your kids can join their coastal cleanups which take place several times a year.
- Action for Singapore Dogs – If your kids are animal lovers, you can help to ferry dogs to vet clinics and foster homes or even foster a pup in your own home.
3. Devise a plan for investing your child’s money
Your child may not have much money now, but he has time on his side. This means even a tiny amount can go a long way given the 20 or so years it will take him to grow up. And that means it’s almost criminal not to invest his money for him. That $1,000 he has now will become $2,652.30 if you invest it at a rate of 5% per annum.
Even if you haven’t been building a little nest egg for your child, chances are he does have a bit of money to his name, saved up over birthdays, bursary awards or Chinese New Year or Hari Raya Puasa visits.
The kind of investing you do for your child might look very different from your own personal investment plan. Speak with a professional if you’re unsure of what steps to take, and aim to execute your plan by the end of the year.
If your child is old enough, involve him in the discussions and decision-making process and teach him about investing at the same time.
Have you as a parent made any other resolutions for the coming year? Let us know in the comments!
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