On the morning of October 2, my five year old wakes up to tell me “We have a holiday because its Gandhiji’s birthday. ” The ambitious mother in me interjected “is that all he would always know about this great leader?”
We set to to learn more about him and realised that the world around us seems to have forgotten the virtues of this great man. It appears that today’s papers want us to spend the day scouring for the best online sales so that the only time we will remember Gandhiji is when we dig into our purses to pay for those offers or mall visits.
So in my attempt to enlighten my son and his generation, I read through the Gandhiji’s history on his official website and came to know about the spending habits that he developed on his own.
1: Account for each rupee you spend and earn
During his law study in England, Gandhiji was as flamboyant as other Indian boys around. He learnt to dance and play the violin, bought an expensive watch and got himself tailor-made expensive suits. But he would always keep an account of every penny that he spent. One day he realized that he can’t keep wasting his money on such pleasures and not study law. He took out his account book, marked the items which were unnecessary and made up his mind to stop spending on frivolous items. He moved into smaller accommodation, took public transport and cooked cheaper food. Years later, a public servant came to him for protection as he was asked to give an account of Rs 1000 he spent for the state welfare. He had no records and receipts. He found little help from Gandhi who told him “To me every such paisa unaccounted for is a paisa misappropriated”
Tips to Teach Kids: Involve kids above 8 years in your grocery budgets. Give them lumpsum amount to buy fruits and vegetables for a week. And let them record their purchases in a diary.
Money lesson 2: Everybody should have just enough for his or her needs
Gandhiji once stated “The World has enough for every one’s needs, but not enough for one man’s greed”Such a profound statement! Surely haven’t most of us fallen into the “hoarding” trap at one day or the other? We often fall for “buy 2 get one free” kind of offers and buy more than what we need whether it is clothes or in groceries.
Tips to Teach Kids: Practice it yourself and they will follow. New purchase in my house carry a disclaimer “since this got old and cant be used, we bought a new one”
Money lesson 3: Spend the money for the purpose it is meant for
Gandhiji once got a donation of Rs 40,000 from a businessman named Somlalbhai for building a school in his ashram. The school couldn’t be built as a mass epidemic broke out in the city. He wanted the money to be returned. He said to one of his fellow workers “We would better send the money back…The purpose for which he has given the money is not going to be served in near future”
Tips to Teach Kids: If your teenager asks for money to buy books or DVD, hold them responsible for the same.
Source for the anecdotes