With personal finance not being taught in schools, we learn about money from our parents. If they were good with money, odds are we will be too. But if they were bad with money, then the chances we end up with the same bad habits are likely. I was lucky in that my parents were good with money and I learned many valuable skills from them. In fact, I learned most of my money lessons from my mother, since she handled the money in our family. In this post, I share with you 4 money lessons my mom taught me.
4 Money Lessons My Mom Taught Me
#1. Ignore Brand Names
The easiest way to waste money is to pay more than you should. Buying name brands is one way to waste money. When I go grocery shopping, I look for store brands over name brands. The food has the same nutritional value and tastes the same. The only difference is I pay a lot less.
When it comes to clothing, I didn’t listen to my mom when I was younger. I thought name brands made me cool. But it didn’t. It was just a waste of money. I realized this one day after I graduated college while at work. One day I saw a co-worker with a really nice shirt. I asked him where he bought it and he told me at a department store. I was blown away.
I stopped buying expensive name brand clothes and started saving money by buying no-name quality clothes from department stores. No one knows (or cares) who made the shirt except you.
#2. Save First
When I was little and would do some chores around the house to earn an allowance, my mom would take me to the bank on Friday which was pay day. I had to put some money into my savings account. She left it up to me as to how much I saved. I just had to save.
Fast forward to today and I still make it a point to save first. When I worked for a company, I had them take out 15% of my earnings and put it into my 401k plan. I then set up automatic transfers from my checking account to my savings account so that I could fund an emergency fund.
I never missed the money I was saving. It never hit my checking account so I just budgeted based on the money that was in my checking account.
At the time, a few dollars here or there doesn’t feel like much money, but it really adds up over time.
#3. Ask For A Discount
I remember when I was little and would go shopping with my mom, she would always ask for a discount. I can’t remember how successful she was at getting one, I just clearly remember her asking for one all of the time. I’ve carried this on and always ask for a discount when I am shopping too.
I’ll ask if there are any sales going on or if there are any coupons that might be able to be applied to the item. If it is a floor model, I ask for a discount. I’m not always successful at getting a discount. But I am successful more times than not.
I usually get a coupon applied that the store sends out to some customers or the cashier is able to knock off 5% from the price. While it doesn’t sound like much, it is a savings that I get and I am happy not paying full price.
#4. Pay Cash
My parents grew up with their parents not trusting banks because of the Great Depression. As part of this, they always paid for things in cash. I noticed this and pay cash for many things as well. Doing this really makes me think about purchases before I move forward with them. Seeing the money leave my wallet gives me pause.
Plus when I pay cash, I know I can afford the item in question. Many times when we buy with credit it is because we don’t have the cash at the moment. This can quickly lead us to credit card debt.
An added benefit of paying in cash relates to the point above about getting a discount. Many stores will offer you a discount of up to 5% for paying in cash.
In the end, these are just a few of the money lessons my mom taught me. I’m thankful that I was shown good money habits from an early age as it has helped me reach many of my financial goals in life. And I am confident that I will be able to reach more of my goals in the future as well.
Even if you weren’t lucky enough to have seen good money habits when you were growing up, you can still work on changing your habits for the better. Take it slow and start small. Once you change one habit, start working on another one. Before you know it, you will have good money habits as well.