We joke about how we’re not going to be like our parents when we grow up. And then as we age, we start acting like our parents. In my case, I was lucky enough to have parents that gave me some good financial advice and examples to live by. There are so many lessons I learned as a kid, many of which were probably unintentional. I’ll share some of the best tips and behaviours I learned growing up:
• Say No, Often – One of the biggest problems with people spending too much is they never want to say no. This could be anything from social outings to keeping up with the latest trends. Sometimes you just need to say no to other people and to social pressures, or to the latest trendy fashions. This will save you money in the long run. My parents didn’t let me have the “in” clothes or the latest gaming system, but often times the fad passed so quickly that I was glad I never had them!
• Sometimes It’s Not in the Budget – There were certain things we did some months but not others. If my parents had spent the budget for the month already, we didn’t go out to dinner or get ice cream at the end of the month. On a good month, maybe we did something special.
• Routine – My parents liked to know what things were going to cost and predict expenditures by sticking to a routine. This meant we vacationed at the same place a few years in a row and ate at the same restaurants. On one hand, it may seem boring, but these also became memorable places since they were so familiar.
• Saving Early – My father showed me a chart once of how much more you save starting at 25 years old compared to 35 years old, even if you invested less as the younger 25-year-old. The power of compounding returns always stuck with me and made me want to save young.
• Earn Money on the Side – My parents both had side jobs that helped them earn extra money. When they were busy they didn’t work as much, but they earned extra when they had time. My father’s main side job was cutting down trees, splitting wood and selling it as firewood. I spent many weekends helping him out and delivering wood. He earned enough to pay for vacations each year doing this.
• Frugal Tips – My parents were frugal. They always made us conserve energy. I remember a funny case where they used to bang on the wall if our shower was too long so we’d use less hot water. Some of these behaviours stick with me to this day!
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