No one in our lives shapes us quite like our mothers. When it comes to our views of money and our personal finance habits it’s no different. So in honor of Mother’s Day I’d like to share a few of the top money tips I learned from my mom.
1. Treat Credit Cards Like They’re Cash – probably the single most important money lesson I ever learned from my dear ol’ mom. She instilled in me long before I ever got my first credit card that I should treat it no differently than cash. This single tip has probably saved me thousands of dollars over the years due to not falling into credit card debt and making expensive interest payments. Judging by the amount of credit card debt most Americans carry around, more people should listen to my mom!
2. Don’t Be A Slave to Brand Names – This applies mostly to the grocery store for me. Sure, as a kid I was probably upset that my frosted flakes had a lion or bear as a mascot instead of Tony the Tiger. But you know what? I couldn’t taste the difference, and my mom probably paid half as much for them. You can save a lot of money on your monthly grocery or drugstore bill by buying generic brands instead of the big labels. The majority of the time there is no difference in quality, but a huge difference in price.
3. Don’t Pay Full Price – My mom is a notorious deal shopper, if there’s a way she can save when buying something she’s all for it! I can’t even tell you how many times as a kid my shopping requests were met with “Let’s just wait ’till it goes on sale.” Sometimes it meant we didn’t have the latest and greatest things, but I’m sure some of the money saved by buying clothes, shoes, video games and whatever else on sale or with coupons paid for some of the family trips we were able to take.
4. Little Things Add Up! – The average family goes out to eat almost 4 times per week. I can assure you, my family brought that average down! My siblings and I would constantly ask to order pizza’s or to buy or lunch at school instead of bringing it from home only to be answered with a chorus of “No”s. It was probably worth it too. It all goes back to that old statistic you’ll read on every finance blog: “If you stop spending $5 per day on X you’ll save $150/month!” My brother, sister and I may have been annoyed that we didn’t get our way a lot, but my mom saved a lot of money. Plus when she did say “yes” it was that much better!
5. Live Within Your Means – As I’m sure you’ve gathered by now, this wasn’t an issue for my family. My mom was very good about separating “need” from “want” and spending accordingly. Sadly this isn’t the case for most families. Creating, and living within a budget is probably the most impactful thing you can do if you’re struggling with your finances. It’s not how much money you earn that makes you rich, it’s how much you keep. Check out my article on creating a killer budget if you need a place to start!
Those are just a few of the lessons my mom instilled in me from a young age, that have stuck with me to this day. I’m very thankful she had a good head on her shoulders when it came to personal finance. I’m even more thankful that I picked up some of those same traits from her!
What are some of the most important money lessons you remember getting passed to you from your mom? Leave a comment below and share with all the other readers!
Most importantly, to all the mom’s out there…Happy Mother’s Day!