I grew up in a household run by my mother. Both my parents worked, but my mother held the reigns to the household budget.
At first, due to the rampant and sexist media of that time, I found it strange.
Wasn’t the father supposed to be the head of the family, the decision maker? But, as I grew older, I realized that this arrangement was for the best. My father, while kind and loving, had no limits.
Anything I wanted he would buy for me.
While it seemed great at that time, looking back, it turned me into an entitled spoiled brat. It wasn’t until I grew up a bit that I finally saw that giving my mother control over our family’s money was possibly the best gift my father could have given me.
1. Be frugal, not cheap
My mother is frugal. I used to call her cheap, but that was wrong of me. As a child, I was sometimes resentful of her choices regarding money matters. Why did our house have a limit on airconditioner hours? Why wouldn’t she buy me that new Barbie doll that just came out? Why won’t she buy me more hours for the dial-up internet (anyone remember that)?
It wasn’t until I hit mid-elementary school that I realized that I already had it better than most of my peers. Our family was not rich, at most we could be considered middle-class, but I went to an exclusive school and had after-school tutoring sessions. At that time, I hated those sessions. But looking back, I probably would’ve been held back a year had it not been for them.
My mother knew what kind of student I was and she did her best to use our funds to help me overcome my weaknesses. Instead of spending them on a doll I probably would’ve forgotten about, she made sure that I could keep up with my studies and not lose a year of my life.
Saving is good, but using money for the right reasons is even better.
2. Earn instead of beg
Another resentment I carried and learned to let go of was my allowance. Unlike my peers, who were given an amount of money per day (remember, rich people school!), my mom gave me only half of theirs and made me work for the rest. For every perfect quiz I brought home, she would reward me with a fiver to pad my allowance.
Back then, I thought that it was unfair. I wasn’t very smart so it wasn’t often I could bring home a perfect score. This forced me to study harder and consequently pull my grades up.
When I reached high school, I realized that my mother had trained me to never believe the money is free. If you want money, you better be prepared to work for it. A lesson that describes the life of an adult quite aptly I think.
3. Be prepared
When I was a child, I would often hear my parents talk about this strange thing called ‘insurance.’ I had no idea what it was.
Fast forward a few years later and a close relative got really, really sick. Thankfully it was curable. This relative of mine was brought to a private room in a private hospital. At that time, little me was super worried about our money. I already knew we were well off but weren’t really rich like my classmates. That particular hospital was very good but also very expensive. The inside looked like a hotel lobby! But it was the closest hospital near out house and we didn’t really have much of a choice.
My relative stayed there for a few days and recovered. When it was time to check out, I was a little afraid to look at the total bill of his stay. Imagine my surprise when I saw how low it was. It turns out that he was a beneficiary of my mom’s health insurance and that nearly his entire stay in the hospital was covered under her plan.
So insurance, get! It definitely pays to be prepared.
4. Take some time to think before you leap
I was already a mini adult by the time I learned this lesson. I was out with my mother shopping for…I don’t really remember. But I do recall seeing a pair of boots I really, really wanted and I decided to get it.
My mom stopped me. She gave no explanations and just dragged me out of the store. That night, as I laid on my bed, I kept on thinking about those boots. How pretty they are, how soft they looked, how nicely they would pair with that one top. Then I began thinking about when I could wear them…and stopped.
I realized that I probably would never get the chance to wear those boots. I hate being uncomfortable and tend to default to wearing my sneakers every time I go out. Will I seriously change an aspect of my personality just to wear those boots? No way!
So yeah, my mom saved me from wasting a few thousand bucks on a gorgeous but ultimately useless pair of boots. Thanks, ma!
5. Use your money to help others
Sounds a little counter-productive but it’s the one lesson my mother made sure I took to heart. Instead of letting your wealth collect dust in the bank, you can use it to help people in need. Pay it forward, as they say. The good karma you gain will be priceless.
I owe a lot to my mom and I don’t think I can ever express how much exactly. Those money lessons above aren’t just for the purpose of saving money, they also teach me valuable life lessons that I’ll carry with me throughout my life.
What about you guys? Any specific things your parents have taught you that has stayed with you until now?
Which money lessons will you teach to your children? Receive cool updates like this when you subscribe to PisoandBeyond!