Growing up, I was stubborn and short-sighted enough to think I had most everything figured out. This included issues related to money. I lived by my own plans and thoughts and it didn't take too long after college before I was $40k in debt and at the end of my rope.
While my parents didn't do a ton of verbal teaching, they did a lot of teaching by example. And the examples they lived by were worthy of following (even if I didn't until later on in life).
Here are a few of those things I learned and still hope to live by:
- Buy what you need. My parents weren't big spenders. They got what was needed and didn't seem to waste money on junk.
- Utilize those coupons. My mom had a index box full of them and she put them to use.
- Shop the warehouse stores. Dad was really big into the warehouse stores. He loved walking through them trying to find the best deals. I don't think any of our appliances were dent/scratch-free.
- Have a will. I remember once scrounging through my dad's office and coming upon their will. It was a wake-up call to me that someday they wouldn't be here – and it showed me they were concerned about us.
- Be a giver. My mom and dad were both givers. I remember them helping out at church, assisting the elderly, disadvantaged and handicapped. They also weren't cheap in giving their money away to God and others. If relatives were in town, they'd try and foot the bill. And they didn't give to their church begrudgingly. This was an important lesson – it is more of a blessing to give, than to receive.
- Stay out of debt. My parents were not in debt. Nor would they have extended themselves to get into debt. It just wasn't an option for them. They lived within their means, and I never felt as though I was “lacking” anything. Good news to you parents who are trying to get it “all” for your kids.
- Keep the finances current. I remember seeing my dad writing the checks and jotting the expenses down in the checkbook. I always sensed he was “on top of things”.
I'm grateful to have had parents who passed down a debt-free legacy to me and my brother.
Now, I'm curious – what kind of things did you learn from you parents about money?