What money lessons did your parents teach you?

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by StitchesGr8Fan, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. DeaverTex

    DeaverTex Native Texan who's ready to go back to Disney!

    May 25, 2011
    From my parents I learned three lessons:

    1. Never spend money on anything that doesn't leave you with something in your hand.

    2. Don't spend money you don't have.

    3. Don't spend money you do have.
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  3. DisMN

    DisMN DIS Veteran

    Dec 15, 1999
    None. Nada. Zip. My parents were old school and you simply did not talk about that stuff.

    You also didn't talk about sex, pregnancy, childbirth, politics, how much or how little you made or what things cost. My parents both insisted on having a clean house, a perfect yard and all those fine lovely things but we were automatically supposed to know how to do it.
    And it's odd to me that my mother was a fantastic school teacher but she never taught me the things I know now I should have been taught. LOL

    Kinda sucks to have to learn most of that stuff as an adult and I made some ridiculously bad mistakes that I do think could have been avoided had I had any kind of guidance or prior discussions at all.
  4. wilkeliza

    wilkeliza DIS Veteran

    Feb 1, 2013
    I learned a lot as a kid about money because I had my own real savings account from my mom and my elementary school gave us good behavior/grades checking accounts. The real savings account taught me the value of saving, interest, and how to fill out deposit and withdrawal forms. I was so thankful as a hound adult not feeling scared about going to a bank teller to do business.

    The fake checking account from my elementary school was also a great tool. Basically your "account" was loaded with X amount of money each week based on your star chart. You got stars for good behavior and a B or A on an assignment. Every few weeks our school would set up a little store when you could use you money to buy toys, books, and snacks. Each child had their own check book so you learned how to write checks and balance your account. It was great because I know how to use a paper balance sheet when a lot of 25 years olds have no clue how to use it. Also I believe we had fines and "bills" as well. It was a great leaning tool that I wish more school used. I know our accounts started with enough "money" to pay all your bills for the semester so as long as you weren't a bad kid everyone typically had money to spend in the shop. It also helped us grown into adults who realized hard work= bigger pay off.
  5. PizzieDuster

    PizzieDuster DIS Veteran

    Jul 25, 2003
    "We don't have any"

    Like DisMN - I could have posted that exact post. O/T: Seriously, my mother never explained to me my cycle. I was the one wearing the pad with the belt. So embarrassing. I too, learned as an adult, more importantly, as I dated, and most importantly, when I married my hubby. My mom would write a check to the grocery store and add the $15 bounce fee right there. I thought that was normal.

    It's our responsibility to break the cycle and educate our kids. However, I find myself saying things like "this is the only thing we own (our house)! Take care of it! Respect it! Get your hands off the walls! If you break that toilet seat by slamming down the cover, your buying a new one!"
  6. AnnaS

    AnnaS DIS Sponsoor/Veteran

    Jul 7, 2001
    save, save, save,

    do not use credit cards cards (use and pay immediately - never have interest)

    if you think something is ready to go/break/plan something different - start saving for it

    don't buy something unless it's broken or you really, really need it

    live below your means

    do not try to keep up with Jones'
  7. DisneyNutMary

    DisneyNutMary DIS Veteran

    Jan 20, 2003
    There's a difference between frugal and cheap. Frugal searches out the best deal on a high quality item, frugal reuses things that still have a life in them, frugal saves instead of squandering, frugal buys store brand when the quality is the same as name brand ( as in canned veg, etc)
    Cheap buys low quality, cut rate products that end up getting replaced more often. Cheap saves a few pennies now only to have to spend double or triple that later to make up for it (as in going the cheap way with car repairs, home repairs, clothing purchases, etc)
    I learned those differences the hard way.

    I've also learned that college students living on campus should not have credit cards- those debit/visa cards are perfect for controlling your kid's spending habits.
    And I've learned that you need some type of credit to get credit. So if you ever want a mortgage, pay off your student loans on a timely schedule, and have a credit card that you use wisely and pay off regularly to show some type of credit pattern to the banks.
  8. indimom

    indimom Are We There Yet?

    Jul 18, 2008
    Same here. You just didn't talk finances and certainly not with your children!

    I knew we weren't rich and sometimes the answer was "no," we didn't always buy name brand, but we also never went without and took vacations every couple years. I never experienced anything that would have frightened or concerned me enough to bother learning finance or budgeting. I had a checking and a savings account in high school, and got a credit card in college that I never used. I think I thought that as long as you worked hard, it would work out. :scared:

    It took DH and I quite a while to get our act together, especially because my income (child care) could fluctuate month to month and I didn't budget for the occasional bills like taxes and insurance or unexpected emergencies. We finally got our financial life straight, but it took a while.

    Honestly though, I still learn new things. I absolutely talk finances with my children (a lot) and encourage them to take some of the financial courses at school to learn about those things I do not know well. I want them to know that debt is not evil, but must be used wisely. I want them to know that sometimes the cheaper option isn't the better one. I also want them to recognize what is a "want" and what is a "need." I want them to learn how to save effectively and to make sure they are investing wisely for retirement from day one. And a thousand other things...
    Essentially, I want them to make better decisions than I did when I was young, and to have less stress in their life.
  9. PollyannaMom

    PollyannaMom I was a click-clack champ!!

    May 16, 2006
    That money is a means to end, not an end in itself.

    That experiences are generally more worth it than things.

    To be socially comfortable around people with money, and people without it.

    Not to rush to replace something if it can be fixed.

    And the mathematics of money - balancing a check book, interest, etc.
  10. eliza61

    eliza61 http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

    Jun 2, 2003
    Another person who's parents were from a generation that didn't talk money with your kids.

    When I was young not many people had credit cards. Your mom may have had a sears or a JCpenny store card but that was pretty much it.

    Also though when I was young "spending" and "shopping" were not used for entertainment the way it is now. People get bored today and the first thing they think of to do is to "go to the mall". We did not do that.

    One trait my mother did show me by example was how to shop for "quality". I learned that a 9.00 kohls tee shirt is not a bargain because it falls apart after 2 washings so it does pay to pay 20 bucks for the better quality shirt that will look fabulous, wash well and hold up for 2 years.

    Now also imo stuff its just made cheaply. when I was a kid you purhased a washing machine with the full expectation that it would last 18 years. Now, I've had salesman tell me flat out, that will never happen again. :sad2:

    Anyone remember tough skin jeans by sears? the came with a guarantee that if your kid wore them out (not outgrew them) sears would replace them. they were that well made. Now I see the stuff they sell.... uggh. thin material, cotton shirts that you can see through. $100 jeans that are paper thin.

    manufacturers make stuff to fall apart.
  11. indimom

    indimom Are We There Yet?

    Jul 18, 2008
    Isn't that the truth!

    The longest lasting piece of furniture in our living room is a recliner (that DH's grandmother owned for decades and gave to us when we got our first place). We've been through two couches (on our third) in just 17.5 years of marriage, but that recliner is still going strong, not a thing wrong with it. I plan to get it reapolstered at some point (it's just a bland beige), but the mechanics and stuffing/padding are like new.
    As far as the couches, we spent more and got real leather on this last set and it is holding up MUCH better than the fabric couches we had before. It seems like the fabrics are just cheap and do not hold up well anymore.

    DH and I searched and searched for a new bedroom set a few years back. I could never find anything we could afford ($1500-$2000 range) that wasn't cheaply constructed with laminate finishes. Blah. I finally went to an estate sale and purchased a 50+ year old set for $400. It's got a couple dings, but it's absolutely gorgeous and I can feel confident that it will last DH and I for the rest of our lives. :thumbsup2
  12. Colleen27

    Colleen27 DIS Veteran

    Mar 31, 2007
    But there's a reason companies so happily give things away to apply for or use their cards... because the people who can reap the benefit without carrying balances and paying interest are a small minority compared to those who will open the card "for the perks" and end up paying far more in interest and fees than they receive in rewards.
  13. Minnesota!

    Minnesota! Shoeless in Minnesota

    Sep 15, 1999
    :thumbsup2 I cannot believe half the stuff I read on there! The crap people will buy just because it's a "deal"! Tell ya what - don't buy it - AT ALL - and save yourself even more money!!

    They taught me balance....that it's very important to save a good chunk of money, but it's equally as important to have fun with the money. My parents saved a lot. But they were also very good about splurging. I am extremely grateful for this lesson.

    We had it drilled into us from a VERY young age that retirement age goal should be low-mid 50's. So I have always saved to make that my reality. I will be able to retire at 55...maybe 54 if I play my cards right.

    Credit cards are not evil. As long as you are responsible with them....they are a very good item to have.

    MUFFYCAT <marquee behavior=alternate><font color=deeppink>S

    Oct 28, 2002
    Have any credit card you want but pay the balance each month and don't pay interest.Why pay 18% interest on a credit card balance when your savings is earning so much less.
    That $10.00 shirt will easily cost $20 by the time it's paid off.

    Also, always have a savings account. My mother even told me when I got married to keep an account in my name only.
  15. elaine amj

    elaine amj DIS Veteran

    Jan 26, 2012
    So true! Not a game I recommend playing unless u are the type not to carry a balance. dH and I could never bring ourselves anywhere close to doing that for wants in our lives, so we are pretty safe. As it is, DH isn't comfortable unless he has a big safety net in our chequing account. Even though its financially smarter to put it in some low risk investment, it's not worth it for his peace of mind.

    And a lot of what ppl said about cheap vs frugal is very true. I am the kind who is frugal....with a tendency to cheapness. It drives me nuts when my $20 shirt wears out faster than my $5 shirt (which still looks like new). Plus the darn $20 shirt has to be expensively dry cleaned instead of tossed in the washer. sometimes I think its better to buy 3 $5 shirts that last 2 yrs each than 1 $20 shirt that lasts 5 yrs, kwim? Then again, I happily dished out $60 each for jansport backpacks for my kids that should last at least 5 yrs. nearly a whole season now and still looks good as new....I love them!
  16. Colleen27

    Colleen27 DIS Veteran

    Mar 31, 2007
    A big safety net is essential to "winning" the CC reward games in my opinion. We don't play, not because we are inclined to carry a balance or accept debt as part of our lives but because for a long time DH was self-employed and his income was hugely erratic (like some $500 months and some $5000 months). Usually we had some cushion in the bank, but not touching the emergency fund was a personal challenge of sorts. We didn't want available credit as a layer of "insulation" from the ups and downs of his career; we felt it would make us less disciplined and less creative about adapting to changing conditions.

    I tend to spend more for quality only when I want an item to last or expect it to get heavy wear. I'll take 10 $5 shirts over 2 $25 shirts any day, but I get a decade or so out of my winter coat so I tend to spend a nice chunk of change on something high-quality and not overly trendy.
  17. eliza61

    eliza61 http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

    Jun 2, 2003
    Not just credit cards Colleen. This is one of my weaknesses. Like end of seasons sales. I'll be online or in the mall and see an end of season sale. Yes those boots are a great price but then I don't really need boots so how much am I saving?

    I did this last week at Eddie bauer. ***grrrr** i get so mad at myself. went in looking for a basic cardigan in grey, come out with 2 pairs of corduroys that I really don't need simply because they were a great price.
  18. indimom

    indimom Are We There Yet?

    Jul 18, 2008
    Sometimes quality is a real toss up. I bought some athletic skorts at Walmart, of all places, at least 8 years ago. (I know I wore them on a vacation in 05 anyway...)
    They were cheap and I needed something to run around with the kids in, but I didn't expect them to last more than a summer or two.
    I've worn them every single summer since then. They are still in fabulous shape and I'm planning on wearing a couple of them on our trip to Disney this summer. :thumbsup2
    Who knew? :confused3
  19. Gumbo4x4

    Gumbo4x4 Note to the ladies who forgot to

    Jan 19, 2012
    Same here. My parents are well into their 70's and it won't be long before I need to be involved in their finances, but even now I really don't know much about their situation other than they don't need my help so far :rotfl: They did teach things like not paying interest for something you shouldn't have if you can't afford, but that's about it.

    Was a shock with my inlaws (MIL in particular) who knows no boundaries on the topic. I bought a different car when DW & I were still engaged & the first thing MIL wanted to know was what I spent on it. I hadn't a clue how to react to that :rotfl:
  20. ZephyrHawk

    ZephyrHawk Confirmed Disneyphile

    Feb 15, 2007
    I'm going to go against the grain of some others on this thread and say, "Use credit cards, just never let them carry a balance." My parents always had credit cards and used them to pay for everything. The rewards they reap in flights and trip bonuses are huge. But they also know to never buy something they couldn't afford anyways.

    Other things they taught me:

    How to figure a tip in your head.

    Similarly, how to figure out the discount on a percentage off sale in your head.

    Always round prices up in your head.

    Always have a savings account (I didn't for several years after I emptied it for a house down payment and it really bothered me the entire time).

    Allowance is not for chores. Chores are things that need to get done because you're a member of the family. You get your allowance regardless of what you do to help out around the house because allowance is a test that parents give you to make sure you can learn to handle money correctly.

    Designer jeans/jackets/shoes and the like wear out. Memories of experiences never do.


    Discount stores are for everyone.

    Have your children's college funding ironed out before they hit high school.

    Don't buy a boat (This one they taught by failed example. Oh, the money they spent on boats over the years!)

    Edit: I just remembered! Don't "loan" anything to a family member that you can't afford to have turned into a "gift".
  21. minkydog

    minkydog DIS Cast Member

    Dec 8, 2004
    Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.

    My mom taught me to sew when I was 11. I made all my clothes except underwear and jeans all the way through HS and college. In fact, I made money in college by sewing for others. I even made my own wedding gown.

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