Sunday, 27 December 2015

The Busy Woman's Guide to Financial Freedom

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2016!

If you've been following my blog, I am sure you'll be very, very, very surprised to find such a book here especially as I have NEVER added anything to do with financial planning on my book blog :)

Actually, it all started with The Berenstain Bears' Dollars and Sense, which the kids read at the library earlier in August this year.

Will you believe that I learned about the importance of financial planning when I read the book out to the kids?

It was amazing because we learned so much about setting a budget, planning our purchases and saving for bigger items.

I know, I know...you'd think this is common sense but I have been so busy with work, housework and the kids that I realize that we never got down to writing down our wills (that I had planned to do way back in 2010!)

Anyway, the The Busy Woman's Guide to Financial Freedom is an eye-opener for women, especially women who are busy, busy, busy with anything and everything except balancing the books.

The thing that struck me the most was the case study involving twin sisters who had each invested $2,000 a year and both retired at 62 years old. One sister invested in something with an interest rate averaging 6% and retired with about 500,000 while the other invested in stocks average returns of 12% and she retired with 1 million+

Definitely something to think about, right?

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Banana Pancakes

I was surprised to receive a few emails asking me for this recipe after I posted about my toddler having them for breakfast :-) on the first day of school.

I am NOT a good cook but here’s the recipe. It’s a really easy one from my Mum’s cookbook – I could even make them for school when I was 10 years old! 

Serves 2 Prep time: 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS 
1-2 ripe bananas
4 oz plain white flour
1 egg
1/2 pint milk (about 1/2 a Coke can if you don’t have a measuring cup)
1/4 tsp salt  

METHOD:
1. Using a fork, mash banana in a small bowl.

2. In a larger bowl, sift the flour and salt together. Make a hole in the middle of the flour and break the egg in (it’s always wise to break the egg in another bowl in case you get a rotten one!).

3. Gradually pour in the milk as you use a whisk to stir the mixture. Set aside for 5-10 minutes. Somehow, I find the pancakes smoother when I do this.

4. Drizzle a bit of oil onto a saucepan / skillet and pour a ladle of mixture when the oil is hot. Do not spread the mixture.

5. When bubbles become holes and you notice a hardening of the sides, gently turn the pancake over. As the other side takes a shorter time to cook, you can lift them onto a serving plate for your little tot!
*For added protein, I sometimes chop some walnuts and sprinkle them onto the pancake in Step 5.

We all love the extra crunch I love my pancakes with maple syrup but as I don’t want to encourage a sweet tooth yet, we enjoy them plain…no problems for my fussy eater LOL

Let me know how the pancakes turn out for you ok?

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Rick Stein's India - Recipes from My Indian Odyssey

The kids and I have been watching quite a few cooking and travel shows e.g. an Italian cooking show where the kids learned how to eat olive oil with bread LOL

When that ended, I had to switch channels because the next one was Weird Foods or something equally scary and we got Rick Stein's India.

The sights and sounds of busy streets on India caught the children's attention and we watched this middle-aged British bloke trying out streets foods and hole-in-the-wall restaurants.

Although I think of diarrhea when I think of India, I can't help but feel hungry as Rick wolfs down a mouth-watering wrap, yum yum. 

I was especially tickled when I see him teach us how to cook curry at the end of the show!

I've seen Kylie Kwong's Chinese cooking show, Jamie Oliver's and Nigella's too, which are stellar in their own right but a white guy teaching you how to cook Indian curry?

That's different and I like it. And if I can't go to India, I'd love to learn how to cook a real Indian curry!

Yup, Rick Stein's India: In Search of the Perfect Curry: Recipes from My Indian Odyssey is definitely something I'd appreciate for Christmas.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Lutein for Eye Health

Hello! Do you remember how my Lutein supplements eased my menstrual cramps?

Now that I have a chance to blog, I'd like to share with you my experience with Lutein on my eyes.

Dry, red eyes

Although I'm a bookworm, I pride myself in avoiding glasses by taking extremely good care of my eyes (and my children's eyes). I read in well-lit places and I think I've fared well all these years.

Blue light on computers, iPhone and iPads



Things changed when I had to do a lot of work on the computer and of course, the iPhone.

 After 1-2 hours on the PC or having to plough through paperwork, I emerged with dry, irritable red eyes although I eat carrots and other red/yellow coloured vegetables on a regular basis.

Check out my kitchen when I was on the "real food challenge in 2012": Then, I went back to the article on fruits and vegetables and guess what:

Lutein for Eye Problems

When a lot of friends started blogging about it, I was curious because I had no idea what Super Lutein is.

Then, I discovered that Lutein is a phytonutrient (plant-based nutrient) that helps in protecting our eyes, boost immunity and supports healthy skin, tissues and blood.

No wonder my eyes were feeling poorly from all that reading and working on the computer.

 We have been eating broccoli, cucumbler, spinach and lettuce but at most TWO servings per day.

That's when I appreciate the fact that 3 soft gel capsules of Super Lutein, I get:
- FOUR servings of fruits and
- FIVE servings of vegetables from 6 colours of fruits and vegetables.

What happened after I started the Lutein?

In the first week, I started on a 1 capsule x 3 times a day but didn't feel anything spectacular.

In the second week, I increased my dosage to 2 capsules x 3 times a day (6 capsules) and that was when I felt the positive effects after about 2 weeks.
First, I experienced a lot of gunk (dry crust and then, thicker mucus?) coming out of my eyes for a few days. 
After that, my eyes felt comfortable and moist, which I didn’t feel after using eye drops (prescription or over-the-counter ones). The best part is that I had:
  • NO dry, red eyes after a bout of reading.
  • NO dry, red eyes after sleeping in an air-conditioned room.
A month later, I was pleased to experience freedom from menstrual cramps and the expulsion of a lot of blood clots!
If you're having eye problems that no doctor nor diet seem to help, call/text +6012 9122 436 or email iamsupermum[at]gmail[dot]com

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

What is Super Lutein?

Super Lutein are soft gel capsules made of pure vegetable extracts our bodies, specifically our eyes, skin and blood, need to stay healthy.

Super Lutein has lutein, carotenoids, DHA, vitamin E and vitamins B.

Just by taking 3 soft gel capsules of Super Lutein, you get the pure extracts of 4 servings of fruits, 5 servings of vegetables from 6 coloured varieties of fruits and vegetables.
  • 6 most important carotenoids (lutein, lycopene, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and crocetin) and
  • 5 essential nutrients (including DHA, vitamin E and vitamin B)

Lutein is a phytonutrient (plant-based nutrient) that helps in protecting our eyes, boost immunity and supports healthy skin, tissues and blood.


If you snip off a capsule of Super Lutein and spread out the extract on a damp tissue paper, you'll see the colours of the red, yellow, orange, green and purple fruits and vegetables we need to eat.

NO BINDERS. NO FILLERS. NO ADDED SUGAR. NO ARTIFICIAL COLOURING.


If you're having health problems that no doctor can seem to help, try Super Lutein - you never know what it can do for you :)

Connect with me at www.facebook.com/kit.supermum if you'd like to know more.
You can also call/text +6012 9122 436 or Email iamsupermum[at]gmail[dot]com

Sunday, 23 August 2015

A healthy diet and disease

Did you know that you need to eat A BASKET OF FRUITS on a daily basis in order to get the optimal amount of nutrients for your body?
 

"Fruit and vegetable intake: five a day may not be enough, scientists say":

  • we should instead be aiming for seven a day, and mostly vegetables at that.
  • Eating at least seven portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day was linked to a 42% lower risk of death from all causes. It was also associated with a 25% lower risk of cancer and 31% lower risk of heart disease or stroke.
  • Vegetables seemed to be significantly more protection against disease than eating fruit, they say.
  • There was a surprise finding – people who ate canned or frozen fruit actually had a higher risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.

 We need 7 servings of colourful vegetables & fruits daily

Yes, you need to eat A BASKET OF COLOURFUL VEGETABLES for health:
  • If you eat 1 portion of vegetables per day, you have 16% less chances of premature death
  • If you eat 1 portion of salad (lettuce and other leafy greens), you have 13% less chances of premature death
  • If you eat 1 portion of frozen/canned fruit, you have 17% more chances of premature death
Since our cells grow and die on a daily basis, it's important to keep up a balanced diet on a daily basis to ensure that our bodies get the optimal amount of nutrients to keep everything in balance. If you don't, then your body goes out of whack and you're susceptible to all sorts of diseases.

How can I get 7 servings of colourful vegetables & fruits daily?

If you're a busy Mom like me, you'll need dietary supplements. 

Specifically, you'll need supplements that can give you pure extracts of 4 servings of fruits, 5 servings of vegetables from 6 coloured varieties of fruits and vegetables.

NO BINDERS. NO FILLERS. NO ADDED SUGAR. 
NO ARTIFICIAL COLOURING.



Currently, I am taking a top quality supplement that provide:

- marigold extracts (containing lutein, zeaxanthin), tomato lycopene, carotene, gardenia (containing crocetin)
- refined fish oil for DHA, wheat germ oil, blackcurrant extracts, blueberry extracts, 
- vitamin E and vitamin B1, B2, B6, B12

With only 2-3 chewy soft gels per day, I feel more alert and energized, no menstrual cramps and I sleep better :) 

If you'd like to know more about these supplements, please call/text +6012 9122 436 or Email iamsupermum[at]gmail[dot]com

Free radicals and antioxidants

More and more people talking about "cancer" and "free radicals" that I started to read up on it.

I found this article: "Are Antioxidants the Key to Preventing Chronic Disease?": "Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules through a process known as oxidation.

Let's go back to high school Chemistry class, where we learned the cool term "Redox", which basically describes the process of oxidation and reduction when fruits like apples turn brown or when metal starts to rust.



Photo: Study In "What is Oxidation? Definition, process and examples" Chemistry teacher, Ms. Elizabeth (Nikki) Wyman, explains it as such: "When an atom or compound is oxidized its properties change.

For example, when an iron object undergoes oxidation it is transformed because it has lost electrons. Unoxidized iron is a strong, structurally sound metal, while oxidized iron is a brittle reddish powder.

Most of the time, oxidation occurs in tandem with a process called reduction. Reduction is the process of gaining one or more electrons. In an oxidation-reduction or redox reaction, one atom or compound will steal electrons from another atom or compound.


Illustration: Artinaid A classic example of a redox reaction is rusting. When rusting happens, oxygen steals electrons from iron. Oxygen gets reduced while iron gets oxidized. The result is a compound called iron oxide, or rust. Unoxidized or pure iron is distinctly different from the oxidized form that occurs in rust."

Oxidation and antioxidants

"When the soft insides of fruit are exposed to oxygen in the air, they become oxidized, causing them to break down and turn brown. The process is very similar to the rusting discussed above; oxygen steals electrons from atoms and compounds. The oxidized form of these compounds is different from the unoxidized form that is, unfortunately, unappealing to eat.

Antioxidants and free radicals

On the food tangent, many 'superfoods' are advertised as containing antioxidants. An antioxidant is a compound that reduces the oxidation of other compounds. In theory, consuming antioxidants will help our bodies fight off the harmful effects of oxidation, keeping our cells and enzymes happy and healthy. In other words, eating things like blueberries and chocolate will help our insides from looking like browning fruit." Source: Study "Are Antioxidants the Key to Preventing Chronic Disease?" goes on to explain that because free radicals are missing an electron, they are deemed unstable molecules. Molecules strive for balance, so a free radical, missing an electron, is going to attach itself onto the nearest stable molecule (e.g. proteins/healthy tissue like flesh, muscle, skin; lipids/fats, cholesterol and DNA) it can find and steal one of its electrons. image004 The problem is this could turn the new molecule into a free radical, which will then find another molecule to steal an electron from, causing a chain reaction. Free radicals, in and of themselves, are not necessarily harmful. In fact, they are a vital part of our body's systems and are created naturally in the body. Problems come, however, when there are too many free radicals in the body." (...to be continued)

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Dollars and Sense - The Berenstain Bears

Both of our kids are Millennials and I am guilty of preparing lavish kiddy parties (birthday cake, party deco, party packs albeit from cheapest deals I can from eBay, wholesale shops etc) when they were born till kindergarten.

Now that both of them are in school and are still tempted by the treasures in Toys R Us, I decided to start them on some financial management.

First of all, I am not the best in finances but I grew up in a humble household where all money available was spent on food, household expenses and school supplies.

Clothes? I grew up with A LOT of hand-me-downs.

Anyway, I don't go around telling my kids that "money don't grow on trees" or that "I am made of money" thus the kids laughed in glee when they see Papa Berenstain saying that ;-) when the kids go up to him asking for money to buy baseball cards and a wedding dress for a doll.

I thought that the introduction of the concept of "playing with money" was great since most kids did start off with flipping, rolling and stacking coins.

The plot got intense when the kids were given a PILE of dollars for their weekly allowance - I could see the kids getting interested since they are now sort of on a dollar-a-day allowance hahaha.

They loved it when they saw the Berenstain Bears speed out off the house the minute they grabbed their allowance! Kids are kids...

Despite this being an old book, childish (nor adult) behaviours do not change much through time and thus, the Berenstain Bears soon got bored of the candy and toys they'd bought in a hurry. Sound familiar?

One thing I didn't like about the book is the stereotypical angry, shouting Papa Bear archetype when he's asked for money with Mama Bear coming in all calm and sensible - most of the men I grew up were rather good financiers. In reality, the women were always shopping, shopping, shopping...

Thus, the kids were puzzled as to why Papa Bear was getting all hot and bothered but then we got to the part of the kids writing a cheque in exchange for cash with Mama Bear playing the role of a banker.

I thought that this was a brilliant because the kids could see how dollars and cents added up to something.

I've since started a sort of checking account at home for #1 because he had been buying a lot of books using "cash advances". I'm still figuring out something for #2 though.

Anyway, this is a great book to get kids started on financial planning and financial management. #2 loves it as a bedtime story and I like it that she's learning basic financial planning because she could articulate that the girly bear saved her $10 allowance from one week and spent the following week's allowance to bear the doll's wedding dress.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Hydrogen water for Muscle Fatigue

Why did I start drinking Hydrogen water?

A few months back in April 2015, I developed an ache in my upper right arm that I could hardly lift my hand.
No gym. No running. :-( The muscle ache was so bad that I had to change my lifestyle from being a right-handed person into a leftie! I switched my handbag over to my left shoulder, tried using the left hand button for the mouse (most difficult task). I also used my left hand to reach out for things as much as possible to avoid using my right hand.
What's worse, I stepped on one of the kids' toys and developed a black bruise on my right heel, which had me hobbling for weeks.

I was a depressed woman since I could hardly walk and could not go running, my favourite activity in the world.

Did I see the doctor?

Yes, I did and I went to 3 doctors, in fact, who prodded and poked me and said: "Nothing's wrong". Then, each one of them prescribed Neurobion.

The dutiful patient that I was, I took the Neurobion but after finishing the prescriptions for 3 months, nothing changed.

In fact, the muscle ache in my right arm got worse that I:
a) couldn't turn the steering wheel 
b) couldn't cook!
c) cannot carry my own handbag. 

How am I going to work? Or drive the kids to school?

Anyway, I read about a few blogging buddies sharing about IZUMIO Hydrogen water earlier this year about eczema, health and etc but I was not really convinced :)

Then, I read about another lady's daughter's positive experience with incontinence after drinking this Hydrogen-rich mineral water and I was sold!

Do you know about Hydrogen water treatments?

Check out the various diseases and illnesses that molecular Hydrogen (H2) has been found to help:



  1. Inflammation, autoimmune diseases
  2. Obesity
  3. Haemodialysis, Nephritis
  4. Cardiovascular diseases
  5. Stroke
  6. Radiation effects (chemotherapy, radiotherapy)
  7. Neurodegenerative diseases
  8. Cancer
  9. Infections, sepsis
  10. Metabolic diseases
  11. Type-2 Diabetes
  12. Skin disorders
  13. Neuromuscular diseases
  14. Ulcers

The results?

For three weeks, I drank 3 packs (200 ml each) daily and also took 3 capsules of Super Lutein.

After that, I could use my right arm to do normal stuff without that aching feeling.

I was still cautious and gentle with it - I was just glad to get on with daily life and work. I was just too busy to post about it.

Now, my right arm feels almost as good as new!!!

My bruised foot? I could slowly hike up and down a small hill last Sunday so I think that things are only going to get better from now on.

I am really grateful for IZUMIO Hydrogen-rich mineral water.

If you have persistent muscle/arm ache, try this Hydrogen-rich water. 

Shipping available in Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and the US

If you'd like to know more about IZUMIO, connect with me on FB at www.facebook.com/kit.supermum You can also call/text +6012 9122 436 or Email iamsupermum[at]gmail[dot]com

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

How to make jiao zi (Chinese dumplings)

Ever since we tasted these soft, succulent dumplings during our last holiday in Hangzhou, the kids and I have been hankering for jiao zi (or Chinese dumplings). We were truly fortunate to witness 2-3 Chinese ladies, from Anhui, deftly wrapping these delicacies The ladies smiled kindly at the kids looking on curiously while we waited for our bowl of steaming jiaozi...

Last weekend, I'd bought about 400 g of minced pork, jiu cai (chives) and had ginger and garlic on hand. I'd taken the minced pork out of the freezer down to the cooler section but alas, the meat was still frozen in the evening! It's our new fridge @#$%^&!

Anyway, I decided to make the dough first since we'd need to let it proof a while and then move on to cut and chop the fresh ingredients. Here are 2 videos I'd found helpful: 1) How to prepare the dough and wrap the dumplings:

NOTE: I had to skip the double and triple proofings since I didn't have time In the end, the kids and I managed to produce about 25 *gigantic* dumplings (1/3 frozen for breakfast). I had about a fistful of dough leftover - the girl wanted it to make Olaf LOL. I'd split the dough into 3 sections since the kids wanted to do the kneading too.

We found that overkneading the dough created chewier, tougher dumpling skins...?
Perhaps we hadn't left the dough to proof longer?
Or we hadn't rolled them flat enough?

Here's our home-made jiaozhi:
Also, I must remember to pinch the ends thinner because they turned out quite thick in the end.

VIDEO 2) How to prepare the filling (by Mama Cheung, a HK lady)
 

NOTE: I didn't really include ALL the ingredients but I found her clear explanations helpful during the dinner rush.

Also, she provided a lot of tips especially if you're interested to make gyoza or pot stickers.

Our filling was a simple one of minced meat, chopped chives, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, sesame seed oil, a beaten egg, salt and pepper and on a brainstorm, a bit of potato starch (oops!). Turned out rather tough...needs more flavour too.

All in all, it was a fun and fruitful experiment.

Next is to cut it down to 1 hour's preparation - ours took almost 3 hours O_O

Here's another video I found, which made the preparation as easy as ABC. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Allergic to peanuts?

Our son has allergies plus asthma and eczema episodes (wheezing and starting an inhaler on 21 Aug 2010), breaking out in hives (8 Oct 2011) and an asthma attack on 1 Dec 2012).

We've got him tested and found out that he's allergic to dust, egg white and food colouring.

Due to this, I'm quite particular about his food intake, especially food colouring - he's quite good at reading ingredient labels and reviewing if it's a "healthy" snack or not. Of course, he sneaks in some forbidden fruit sometimes.

A Dust Allergy

For the past few weeks, he's been having a chronic cough, which the paediatrician diagnosed as a dust allergy and he was prescribed the 3 usual suspects: Rhinatiol, Ventolin syrup and Polaramine syrup (he's had these when he was 4+). He also got a nasal spray called Oxy-nase (Oxymetazoline HCL). 

At the same time, I've been trying to clear all the food stocks we have, namely a few bags of pistachio. The kids and I ate these as snacks a few evenings and didn't think anything about it. Then, the kid spotted some peanut candy at the supermarket and asked for them. I obliged since it's once in a blue moon.

Later, we had a family gathering at a Chinese restaurant and steamed peanuts were offered as an appetizer. The kids loved them and helped themselves since we had to wait for other guests to arrive.

   

Coughing, coughing, coughing

Hubby noticed that he coughed non-stop the whole night after that - I was perplexed too because he was OK the whole day (I'd ask if he'd coughed in school) and then he'll have a coughing fit in the evening.

Since the only new foods he's had were the pistachios and peanuts, we suspected a nut allergy. We stopped them immediately, to his dismay, as he actually enjoyed these nuts :-(


Image Source: "What is anaphylaxis (First Aid Course)" by First Aid Brisbane

Benadryl Dosage for anaphylaxis (from Forest Lane Pediatrics, Dallas, TX)

- NOTE - *Antihistamines & inhalers/bronchodilators are not to be depended upon to treat a severe reaction (anaphylaxis).


(Googling this up, I found this Voice of America article about increasing numbers of allergies in developed countries.)

Thankfully, his cough is getting better this week, albeit with 7.5 ml x 3 doses of Prospan syrup, Bricanyl (terbutaline sulphate), Polaramine syrup (Dexchlorpheniramine). He despised the Polaramine syrup because it's a generic brand.

I'm keeping close tabs of his well-being again since he's had to take so much drugs in the past month!
To counter the nasty side effects of the doctor's medicines, I've been boiling soups and cooking home-cooked food ALMOST every day - Mummy is tired :P

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Pocket Money for Kids?

My son is now 9 years old and he reminded me about my plans for his allowance/pocket money recently.

Baby and toddler days

When he was a baby and a toddler, we've just been buying him stuff he needs (e.g. "educational" toys) but we felt the pinch when his little sister came along.

Clothes expense - First, we tried to re-use all the baby clothes and baby equipment, which tide us over for the first 1-2 years. The hand-me-downs didn't really work well for our daughter because our son's t-shirts turned out too big on her small-frame. In any way, I was grateful that at 4 years old, she can still wear his 2 year old t-shirts.

Next, she's a girl who likes PINK thus when she turned 3, she turned up her nose at almost all the navy blue items :)

Thus, I've been shopping for affordable little girl's t-shirts and dresses. Thankfully, she doesn't mind bright colours like orange, sky blue or green shorts.

Toys - Our home looks like a Montessori kindergarten because I have quite a number of wooden toy sets, colourful blocks and other manipulative toys.

I am glad that we bought good stuff where we can afford them because they are coming to 10 years old soon (!) yet they look good and can withstand toddlers' rough handling.

I find that battery-operated toys aren't worth buying even if they are Fisher-Price because we've already discarded 4-5 of them because they stopped working and we don't know anyone who can fix toys.

Building blocks/bricks, cooking toys, Playdoh sets, wooden blocks and LEGO are definitely good buys because the kids play with them again and again and again :)

Pocket money for primary school

The main point about this update is our kids' allowances or pocket money.

When my son was 7, he started primary school and since I pack food for him, I gave him RM1 a day as pocket money. I taught him the concept of pocket money i.e. money he could use or save. He was pretty good and saved up to RM70+ or so, I think.

I even brought him to the bank to open a savings account where he watched the bank teller tallying up all his coins and notes, deposited them and he noted down the amount in his savings book.

When the toddler noticed that he's got all these coins in his piggy bank, she demanded for money too. I would give her spare change when I have and she'd happily insert the coins into her piggy bank :)

When she started kindergarten, she told me about the french fries, sandwiches and Vitagen she could buy from "school". Once a fortnight or so, I'd give her pocket money to buy sandwiches, cautioning her to buy french fries only ONCE in a blue moon. Ugh!

Food expenses

One weekend, I was on my own with the kids and it was raining heavily yet we had to go to the wet market for groceries like chicken, fish, pork bones and vegetables.

Then, I remembered too late that I had forgotten to withdraw money from the ATM on Friday - I only had RM2-3 in my wallet! I contemplated driving to Tesco or something but hated the idea of buying fish or poultry from the supermarket...

The kids had a brilliant idea! They said that they had A LOT OF MONEY in their piggy banks - Mummy can use that money to buy stuff at the wet market :)

I was so touched to see them rushing for their piggy banks and pooling the coins and notes together. We had a grand total of RM25+ Yay, we could go to the market!

I was embarrassed about paying in small change but the wet market vendors were very gracious -

"It's still money! Spare change is better!"

The vegetable vendor even threw in a free carrot or something. I was so grateful :)

All in all, I was relieved that I got enough groceries to cook lunch and dinner - we could even share 2 dishes for breakfast.

Driving the kids back home, I asked them how much I'll have to pay them back but my 8 year old son said,
"It's okay, Mummy. You used the money to buy us food - you don't have to pay us back the money." 
Aww...doesn't that melt your heart?

Weekly/monthly allowance? Rewards? Wages? 

Anyway, my son reminded me recently that he had not received ANY pocket money last year but he would like to again.

Let's look at his monthly budget:

1. Food - RM7 per week x 4.5 = - RM31.50

Last year, I was crazy busy with work, the school run, homework, extra-curricular activities and exams that I've been packing them snacks or giving them almost the exact amount for sandwiches from the school canteen e.g. RM2 for RM1.80 sandwiches. He'd use up the RM0.20 to buy erasers or replace broken rulers etc.

If I had to give him RM2 per day, that'll come up to RM10 per week x 4.5 = RM45/month

2. Toys - RM50 x 3 months = - RM150

We'd bought him B-Daman, 2-3 Transformers, LEGO Ninjago or some other cartoon character toy, which each cost RM100-150+ (each toy is 3 months' worth of food money).

In other words, we'd spent more than RM440 per year on his toys (assuming that he got RM10 per schooling week x 44 weeks) on his toys.

We bought him the special toys because he had been doing well in school.

Since I emphasize on the love for learning, I feel like I'm giving him an extrinsic reward for his school performance :P

Once or twice he's come up to me saying, "Can you buy me the XYZ if I get 100% in ALL the subjects?" I told him it's not the marks that matter, what matters is what he learns from the lessons.

He loves school thus I don't really want to create a direct relationship between studies and rewards.

3. Laundry (wages) - RM10 per week x 2 weeks - +RM20/month

He used to help me with the laundry i.e. folding and storing the clothes, for which I gave him RM10 per week. However, he didn't do this during the weeks when he has ECAs, school projects and exams.

As working parents, we have a FIXED BUDGET:

i) Although he didn't get any pocket money, he still got whatever money we decided to allocate to his gifts. However, I'd like him to have some experience managing a personal budget.

ii) I don't like to pay children for chores because the househould MUST be kept clean, no matter what.

He's asked to earn extra money by helping me around the house again - first, I've got to focus on age-appropriate chores. Here's another article about not paying kids for doing household chores.

I'll pay him RM5 for small "projects" where he's contributed his smarts too if I can figure out the price list:
i) Helping me haul pots in the garden
ii) Sorting out books for sale
iii) Stacking up newspapers for recycle - he and his sister each got RM5

Interestingly, he got RM5 for a job well done from one of his teachers.

In total, he can visualize an amount of RM20-30 spending money per month.

I found a link on Forbes about important money lessons for kids. Here's another financial lesson.