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From saving coins to reaching goals

Nancy and her daughters, Kate, left, and Kaye, right, practice saving money together using coin banks.

Mom models value of saving for children, community

While it's possible to create good habits at any stage of life, learning them early on is a benefit. Washing hands, brushing teeth, exercising — all of these are things that parents typically teach their children early. Another good habit is saving money.

Forty-two-year-old Nancy in the Philippines has made a lifetime habit of saving. She was raised in a rural part of the Philippines by her mother, who couldn't always afford new school uniforms, shoes or supplies. Nancy shared that she sometimes envied the new items of her classmates, which led her to start saving.

“I made a coin bank using a powder bottle,” Nancy said, “and I put [coins in] there whenever I had remaining coins from my allowance in school, or I find a coin in the street on my way home. That is my first coin bank to save money.”

According to Nancy, having the ability to purchase items for herself helped her build confidence, and now she’s teaching her three children the value of money and the importance of saving. Kate, Nancy’s 8-year-old daughter who is sponsored through Unbound, enjoys the tradition her mother has created.

I learned how to save coins from my mother. All of us here have our own coin bank. We open it all together during Christmas Day. It was good to learn how to save coins because we could buy new things every Christmas. I don’t have to ask my parents anymore.

– KATE

When Kate joined the Unbound program in 2016, Nancy introduced a new method of saving: through a bank.

Saving equals resiliency

In order to achieve a high level of personalization, Unbound has implemented delivery of sponsorship funds through individual bank accounts, where possible. This allows parents and guardians direct access to the funds, so they can use them according to their family needs. Families work with Unbound staff members to set goals for their child who is sponsored and the whole family. They make plans on how to use the benefits deposited in their accounts to achieve those goals. Staff members encourage the habit of saving to reach larger goals.

According to Unbound International Evaluations Manager Becky Findley, “Saving money is an important tool for resiliency and goal achievement. Having money in savings can be the difference between getting necessary medical care and ongoing suffering. It can be the key to larger investment purchases that unlock larger assets such as a new home or higher education.”

Nancy, Kate and Kaye stand outside their home in the Philippines. Nancy and her husband are in the process of adding a second story to their home to keep their family and belongings safe when the nearby river floods the neighborhood during heavy rains.
Nancy, Kate and Kaye stand outside their home in the Philippines. Nancy and her husband are in the process of adding a second story to their home to keep their family and belongings safe when the nearby river floods the neighborhood during heavy rains.

For Nancy, having Kate sponsored through Unbound unlocked a path to a goal — sending her daughter to college — which had seemed hard to reach on her husband’s security guard salary.

"I really wanted this savings account to be kept as far as we can for [Kate’s] future needs,” Nancy said. “I spend money only on what is important, and most of those expenses are for Kate's education. I want to save the money because I want my children to finish their studies until college."

Nancy’s mother worked as a vegetable vendor to support her family and couldn’t afford to send her daughter to college. Living in Metro Manila and being part of Unbound has meant additional opportunities for Nancy and her family.

Parents working together

As part of the Unbound program, Nancy takes part in a parent group and was elected secretary. The parents work together selling rice to generate income for the group members. They hope to open their own store in the future. To reach that goal, they save the income they bring in instead of distributing it immediately. Nancy and family’s habit of saving has been inspirational for other parents in the group.

"I’m really proud of [Nancy's] family and the way she teaches her children to save their money and put it in the coin bank,” said Marizel, a parent volunteer leader of Nancy's group. “This is actually all about discipline; if you don’t have it, you will not stay long in doing this."

Nancy has faced many challenges, but she remains grateful for her family and their continued journey toward their goals.

"It has been a good opportunity to be in Unbound,” Nancy said. “It was a big help and a great blessing to our family, particularly in the education of my children."