Money is hard to earn but easy to lose.
It’s a crucial life lesson we've been told to instill at a young age.
So, how does a parent handle “bilmoko nun” requests from the kids?
One Pinay single mom enforced a “hulugan” (installment) scheme in her household!
Entrepreneur Michelle Mangahas has three kids: Mark, 14, Mika, 11, and Matthew, 6.
One day, Mark and Mika came to her asking if they could each have a new phone. They wanted the same model that came with a price tag of PHP10,000.
Michelle was firmly against it.
Not only were the phones too expensive, the kids already owned phones.
“I told them I didn’t see a valid reason why a 14-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl would need such expensive phones," Michelle shared in email interview with SmartParenting.com.ph,
"I also told them they already had phones, which should be enough for school research and a little bit of gaming.”
As expected, the two kids were not happy with mom’s decision.
Mark complained that his phone (cost: PHP2,700) “took low quality photos,” according to Michelle.
Her daughter's phone was free—Michelle received it after she renewed her phone line contract.
“I gave it to her two years ago when she finished the school year as an achiever.”
According to Michelle, her children received monetary gifts from her and their lola, particularly when they receive awards and recognitions in school.
Instead of spending the money, her kids would give it to her to keep and save.
With their savings, the kids now insisted on paying for the phones themselves.
Mika asked her mom what was she and her brother saving up for if it meant they couldn’t buy what they wanted anyway?
“I told her that the reason for saving up is not so they can buy 'wants,' but for them to have money for future needs,” said Michelle.
Besides, they didn't have enough saved to cover the price of the phones.
A few months later, Mark’s phone broke—the touchscreen would not work—and the kids finally got the answer they wanted to hear.
Michelle said, “Pumayag na’ko. May ilang buwan na din kasi nilang hinihiling. Binili ko na sila nung phones, but ang condition is huhulugan nila.”
Michelle couldn't help adding, “I told my kids na hindi obligasyon ng magulang na bigyan ng phones ang anak nila.
"Ang obligasyon ko is to feed them and send them to school.
“Although kaya ko naman sila bigyan, sinasabi ko sa kanila na ang daloy ng pera walang kasiguraduhan.
"Kailangan mag-ready sa posibleng panahon na walang gaanong income,” she shared.
Mark and Mika had PHP3,700 and PHP5,000 in savings, respectively, and it all went to their phone fund. They now had to save up for the remaining amount to give to their mom in installment.
The kids wholeheartedly agreed to the “hulugan” scheme.
“They didn't complain at all. They think na it was a favor kaysa naman mag-ipon sila at saka pa lang bibili. Now they can enjoy their phones already,” said the mom.
And, Michelle was also confident that her kids would pay their dues. “Hindi ko sila tatantanan!” she playfully said.
The mom does not impose a regular schedule of payment (“Flexible naman ako.”), and she keeps track of their remaining balance in a notebook (pictured below).
“Last month, Mika got PHP1,000 each from me and from my mom for ending the school year with honors, so hinulog niya sa akin lahat yun,” said Michelle. As of today, Mika only has PHP1,100 left to pay; Mark still has PHP5,100 to go.
Part of the kids’ payment comes from their baon: Mark gets PHP120 a day and Mika gets PHP100. Whatever they save for the week is what they give to their mom.
“Mark has a harder time sa paghuhulog. Sabi niya malakas siyang kumain di hamak sa kapatid niya, so mas kaunti natitira sa baon niya,” said Michelle.
As a single mom, Michelle does not shy away from showing her kids the reality of earning a living.
“Business woman ako, which means I don't have a regular income. Although my business is doing fine, I always tell them na kahit kumita ngayon ng okay, next year baka hindi, so we have to save up.
“There are also times that I tell them about my investments and how much money we have in the bank.
"Sinasabi ko na we can buy a new car or buy a house if we want to, but I said I prefer not to. Mas importante magpundar para sa pag-aaral nila,” she said.
Michelle gushed that she’s also lucky to be raising good kids.
“Mabait yung mga bata pagdating sa usaping pera. I'm a solo parent, and we get no support from their father. But my kids are not demanding, 'di sila pabili.”
As a treat, the family does indulge in vacations together. The photo below was taken on a trip to South Korea!
Michelle continued, “Sobrang hirap magpalaki ng mga anak, lalo na yung sa akin na tatlo. To be honest, kapag naiisip ko yung malaking responsibilidad ng pagpapa-aral sa kanila, medyo nakaka-praning talaga.
“Nagpapasalamat na lang din ako sa Diyos na He gives me the financial capability na mapalaki ko sila. Malayo pa ang tatahakin ko bago ko sila mapag-tapos,” said Michelle.
Keep on fighting, mom!
This story originally appeared on SmartParenting.com.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the PEP.ph editors.