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Little eyes are always watching.
How many times have you heard that line as a parent? Probably at least 30,000 if I’m speaking from personal experience. Lately, I’ve been looking back at my childhood and realizing just how true that is. My parents taught me a lot about life in the moments they didn’t know I was watching. They taught me about relationships (both good and bad), respecting my elders, how to be a parent, and they also taught me about money.
One of my earliest memories is of my dad sitting at his desk each month balancing his checkbook. He never paid a bill late and always knew just how much he had in his account. My dad wrote checks for everything, and always took out $20 extra when he paid for groceries so he’d have cash for things he couldn’t use a check for. He was also super cheap, in fact, some things he did I didn’t realize were ‘green’ until I became an adult. My dad just did them because he couldn’t stand to spend unnecessary money.
For example, we never had paper towels in our house, rags were used instead. And the lights were always turned off when we left a room. My dad packed my lunch every single day for school because it was cheaper than buying me the school lunch. Breakfasts were also the same meal most days, oatmeal and toast because it was cheap and filling.
When he did spend money it was to take us to specials nights at restaurants. We never missed an all you can eat buffet night at Pizza Hut if my dad could help it. And he would spend money on our birthdays. He had no idea what to do with a little girl, so he would sit in a chair at Claire’s and let me go to town filling up my basket every Christmas and birthday, which looking back was pretty dang amazing.
My mom, on the other hand, was a shopper. But she didn’t always have the budget for big spending. My mom was not scared of a clearance rack and taught me how to get the best bang for my buck while filling my closet. My mom also holds onto close so long that they come back into fashion, which I’m sure has helped her budget over the years.
Don’t get me wrong, my parents aren’t perfect with their finances. There has been debt and bad decisions, which have taught me a lot as well. Once my dad even told me that car payments were just a part of life. But the way my parents have handled it has shown me I can overcome my own debt. And reach financial freedom some day.
What did your parents teach you about money? What are you teaching your children? Tell me your stories in the comments section below.
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