When Rakhee, 13, and Sneh, 8, got a Polaroid camera from their parents a few days before Diwali, they made up their minds to click a lot of pictures during the festivities. Their financial planner mother, Mrin Agarwal, 44, knew the films were very expensive, and asked the girls to think well before clicking pictures so that they don’t run out of films or waste any of them. “I get to hear things like, ‘Oh god! You’re always saying this to us but our friends don’t get to hear this from their parents’," said Mrin, financial educator, founder director of Finsafe India Pvt. Ltd and co-founder of Womantra. She doesn’t mind becoming the villain of the scene sometimes if being firm can help her daughters understand the value of money.

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Mrin started saving and investing from the very first salary she earned. “I opened a PPF account. It was driven by my father asking me to do it. Every month I used to ensure I save some money in PPF or FD," said Mrin. She said she didn’t make many money mistakes because of the financial consciousness her parents instilled in her and she hopes to pass on the same values to her daughters. However, she says she is an impulsive shopper and that’s a trait she doesn’t want her children to pick up. “If I like something I buy it but that’s also because I am at a certain stage in life where I can afford to do it. But I don’t want my kids to pick up that habit unless they can afford to do it."

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For Mrin, living within her means was most important. During her stint with a bank in early 2000s, most of her juniors and colleagues owned big cars while she drove a Wagon R but this didn’t bother her. “I’ve always lived my life like that. I only buy what I can afford," she said.

Rakhee and Sneh don’t get any “pocket money" as such and are encouraged to ask for money as and when required. Rakhee goes for many basketball tournaments which require her to carry money for food and other necessities. “Rakhee once went for a tournament which was held at an international school and children were carrying 1,500-2,000 but she went with 600. She came back and said everything was expensive and the cheapest item was for 300 so she just had that," said Mrin. “And I told her it’s great that she was able to manage and realised how expensive the food there was."

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The younger one, Sneh, knows what she wants to do with her money. She has saved about 68 in her piggy bank plus a few US dollars her grandfather gave her. “I will continue to save till I have a lot of money. Actually my mother goes to the shop and gets me chocolates so I don’t have to use money from my bank. I want to have 1,000 in my piggy bank. I will use this money to start my bakery," said Sneh.

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The girls know how to manage the money they get during festivals and family functions as well. “My mother asks us to put most of it in our bank account but we are allowed to spend a bit of it. I’ve learnt the value of money from mamma. Teachers at school don’t teach us about saving at all," said Rakhee.

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