Since Mother’s Day was this weekend, I wanted to share some money lessons from mom. We’ve tried to use all of these in our journey paying off $650k of student loan debt. My mom gave me life, sacrificed innumerable nights of sleep for me, chauffeured me around as a kid, fed and clothed me, paid attention to me, played with me, and lastly, taught me important things about money, mostly by example. So here are some important money lessons from mom that have helped me, and I know they’ll help you too.
MONEY LESSONS FROM MOM
(1) TRUE UP.
Spend time once a week or once a month doing a true up with yourself and or your spouse. This is where you make sure all of your important bills have been paid and you account for all of your expenses and income to assess where you are and see how you can do better. She never called it a true up, but I remember lots of Sunday nights coming into her room and seeing checks and bills all over the floor, in her own systematic manner, as she paid bills and accounted for my parents’ income and expenses.
(2) PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME.
Always pay your bills on time. It’s easier than ever to pay your bills on time these days with things like auto pay and paperless billing. Back in the day, my mom was really careful to pay bills on time, even when she had to physically send in a check. 😉
(3) IT’S OK TO TREAT YOURSELF SOMETIMES (EMPHASIS ON THE SOMETIMES).
One of the most important money lessons from mom was that it’s OK to treat yourself once in a while. My mom was never a big spender. Which actually made it really fun when she would surprise me with a new shirt or go through the drive through window for a treat. That made treats feel like treats, instead of like normal living.
(4) DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF.
My mom was the best at not sweating the small stuff, and not just when it came to finances. My parents had a couple of really rough patches financially when we were growing up but instead of stressing out about it, she just saw it for what it was and went to work to fix it. Sitting around and stewing never solves any problems.
(5) DON’T BUY DRINKS WHEN YOU GO OUT TO EAT.
Another one of my favorite money lessons from mom was that you shouldn’t buy drinks when you go out to eat because it makes your meal so much more expensive. And my mom is an avid Coke lover, so that’s really showing restraint. As kids, we were rarely allowed to get drinks when we went out to eat.
(6) BUY QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
My mom taught me to buy quality items over quantity. She knows how to pick out things that last when she shops! She is especially good at this with day to day items, like her purse which she’s had for several years. And the purse she had before the one she has now, she also had for several years (I’m talking like 10+) and the purse before that she also had for several years. And she uses them until they are unusable. So rather than having 10 cheap purses sitting in her closet, she buys one more expensive one and uses it forever.
(7) BUDGET FOR EMERGENCIES.
My mom fairly recently got a traffic ticket. When she told me about it, she told me that she literally budgets for traffic tickets because she likes to drive fast! My takeaway from this is that you should always budget for emergencies. 🙂 Also maybe consider driving the speed limit.
(8) BE PATIENT WITH YOUR SPOUSE.
Probably the most important money lesson from mom that I learned growing up was to be patient with your spouse. My parents weren’t always on the same page financially. My dad was kind of the spender and my mom more of a saver. But I never once heard her nagging my dad or treating him unkindly about it. Similarly, my mom handled my parents’ finances almost completely alone because my dad just wasn’t good with money/didn’t want to deal with it. But my mom never complained! She just rolled up her sleeves and got to work and was mind blowingly patient. [Related: Money Lessons We’ve Learned from 10 Years of Marriage]
What money lessons did your mom teach you growing up?
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