Growing up, I sometimes had a tenuous relationship with my parents (who didn’t?).
Many of my memories about my parents involve them standing above and lecturing me. They’d wag their fingers about how I should do things a certain way because they said so.
Naturally, I didn’t pay much mind to these little lectures at the time. Looking back now, though, I realize that hidden within all these lectures were a few gems that I should pay attention to.
To be fair, though I must admit that there were also quite a few stinkers in there as well. But, these ones were spot-on.
Five Great Financial Lessons From My Parents
Turn out the lights!
Who hasn’t been yelled at by their parents to turn out the lights when they leave the room?
But, according to The Simple Dollar’s math, turning off just four lights before you leave for work each morning can save you 7.2 cents/day, or $18.72/year. While that’s not going to make you a millionaire, it will get you to start thinking about other ways that you’re wasteful, and how you can cut expenses accordingly.
Of course, you can check how much money you’d save yourself by getting a nifty electricity usage meter.
Related post: How I’m Saving Over $700/Year With A Water Challenge
Don’t go on vacation unless you can afford it
I’ve just started listening to the radio again, and I was surprised to hear ads for vacation loans.
I wasn’t even aware this was a thing.
When I was a kid (and even an adult), we never traveled anywhere unless we could pay for it all up-front, in cash. As a result, the only three places I’ve ever gone specifically for a vacation was New Hampshire, Florida, and Ohio – and that was because family lived there.
Give money to charity
My parents gave money every week to charities, even though they only had a modest income. This is something I’d like to do more of in the future and I definitely feel guilty about not doing more of now.
Financial Samurai shows that the average amount of money that Americans donate to charity every year is around 3-5% of their adjusted gross incomes – that’s a lot of cash!
Related post: What Good Can You Do With $20?
Find cheap ways to have fun
We never did expensive things as a kid. Most of my memories revolve around being outdoors, whether it be hiking, fishing, hunting, or camping.
I still enjoy these activities to this day, although one has to be careful. These activities are generally cheap to do, you can still find plenty of things to spend the big bucks on.
Apply for scholarships
This is one of the biggest financial lessons I should have listened to my parents about (yes mom and dad, I’m admitting it: you were right). I applied for a few scholarships, but mostly as a way to get my parents off my back when they asked about it. I could definitely have applied for a lot more scholarships, though.
As a result the 28-year-old me desperately wants to travel back in time and punch the 18-year-old me in the face.
Related post: My Worst Student Loan Purchases
I Really Should Have Listened To My Parents
Alright, it’s not everyday that I admit my parents were right. Hell hath frozen over (just kidding). But, I think that’s part of growing up; I can now look back with wiser eyes and see things for what they really were, rather than my silly teenage brain.
Each one of these great financial lessons—turn out the lights, pay up-front for vacations, give to charity, find cheap fun, and apply for scholarships—would have saved me a bundle of money in the long run. And today I’m working hard to pay back debt for ignoring those mistakes, believe me!
But, they weren’t right about everything. To see more, check out my next post: 5 Bad Financial Lessons From My Parents.
Did your parents teach you any great financial lessons? Leave a comment below!