Know your customer: as taught by my mum.
Financial skills can be taught in different ways especially on the home front.
I remember my younger sister Oyin (the one with the ideas always) discussing with us, siblings that we needed to demand wages (salary in Nigerian terms) from mum and dad. Agreed and armed with her reasoning she approached mum (as far as I remember). The latter was easier to approach in a culture of “do as you’re told” and “obey before complain”. We were all 4 children under 10 and were beginning to see and grasp the power of m-o-n-e-y! We saw its buying power especially when Uncle Bayo (our favourite) uncle would take us shopping and spend his earnings on us. On one occasion, my dad chided him after having spent #60 naira – a lot of money in the 70’s! I always cherished the cooking kit he bought me and had dreams of staring some sort of catering business one day.
Anyway back to the salary story. So Oyin had asked for a salary initiating a conversation between Daddy and Mummy. I heard the latter tell a friend humorously how we had demanded for pay. And she and daddy had discussed it. Anyway when mum asked Oyin how much she wanted to be paid, she asked for 10kobo (like 10 pence). Mum had laughed with daddy and had agreed to pay about 50kobo linked to performance using indicators like doing chores and getting up early respectively. They linked our pay to experience so there was 10kobo extra per older ages. So I got 10kobo more than my younger sibling and vice versa.
Next we were planning how to spend the money, the management in our home had decided on.
My mum noticed that we would sit on the fence outside the house and buy anything the “street hawkers” were peddling so that when the day was up, or rarely, week was up we were broke. For some reason I started learning to save my money as I was not sure about our spending. I would then bail out or help others if they needed money. I remember her saying she would rather the money circulated within the household rather than outside.
What I like best was that my mum studied our spending patterns / habits and realised (market research) we were spending on sweets and worked out the type of sweets we bought by asking – survey.
That’s how we began to run a sweet shop in the store of mummy’s kitchen. It was housed in the room where extra toiletries stayed under lock and key. Mum had to give the key to a home helper and she would open the shop and sell to us at a competitive price to the “hawkers” in the street. It was getting so busy she needed a team to run this shop. So we children took turns to run the shop.
What a way to learn finance at home!