Today we are sharing a guest post on some things I wish my parents had taught me about money, which was written by Tina from GirlsGospel…
Before we get stuck in, I just want to mention that I lost both of my parents fairly young. My dad passed away when I was 23 and he was 54. My Mum followed him when I was 32, and she was 64, so they didn’t have as much time as some parents to share their words of wisdom.
Now we’ve cleared that up, let’s get stuck into the things I wish my parents had taught me about money.
Things I Wish My Parents Had Taught Me About Money
Money is a topic that many families feel uncomfortable openly discussing. Although adults may feel they know everything that there is to know about their personal finances, by keeping quiet about the way the financial world works, they are depriving their children of vital information that could help them to become more stable and confident individuals.
There are a few things I wish my parents had taught me about money; these things would have definitely helped me when the time came for me to fly the nest and make my own way in the big wide world. Had I been taught about budgeting and saving, I’d probably have avoided getting into such a large amount of debt in my twenties and early thirties.
It is my aim to be more open about money with my own children, and to start this off, here are 3 things I wish my parents had taught me about money.
1 The Cost of Living is Expensive!
As we all know, the cost of living is extortionate at the moment, but even when I first ventured out of the family home to start my own life, I was shocked at just how much I was spending each month just to stay afloat.
I was woefully unprepared for the amount of cash that came straight out of my bank account as soon as it went in on payday. With essential bills such as rent, council tax, and utilities all adding up, it left very little money in my bank account to pay for ‘luxuries’ such as phone bills or the internet.
My parents began charging me a small amount of rent when I joined the workforce, but I really wish they’d insisted I either save a good chunk of my salary, or billed me a more realistic amount each month.
I got used to having £1000+ per month of “spare” money, and while I lived within my means, it was unrealistic of me to think it was normal to have so much disposable income. I used to think nothing of getting paid on a Friday, booking a hotel with a friend and disappearing for the weekend, spending well over £500 in the process.
2 Food Shopping is an Art
It took me a long time to figure out how to food shop in a way that didn’t leave me absolutely penniless. Food shopping is definitely an art! When I first started grocery shopping for myself, I was shocked at how much everyday food stuffs, such as cheese, cost!
I would have loved for my parents to have taught me how to save money on my food shop. It would have been really useful to know how to meal plan, use supermarket loyalty schemes, and choose supermarkets’ own brands over the more expensive items.
3 Having an Emergency Fund is Vital
For a long time, I didn’t have any form of emergency fund or savings. I didn’t really think about starting one – after all, I was still reeling about the price of cheese, and losing 90% of my disposable income when I flew the nest!
Saving money is also an art form, however, as I soon found out, having a buffer for when things go wrong is extremely useful. Unexpected bills, such as car maintenance or needing to replace broken appliances, can very easily send you into debt if you don’t have some savings put aside.
Once you’re in debt, it’s not always easy to get back out of it, so I really do wish that my parents had taught me the importance of building up an emergency fund, or at least having some savings put aside to help with unexpected costs.
I’m 40 this year, and still paying off the debt I accumulated when my ex husband’s business folded. If I’d been saving instead of partying in my early twenties, I’d probably have been debt free a decade ago!
Changes I’ve Made
It’s only been the last year or so that I’ve been in a position to put some money aside. For the first time in my adult life, I replaced a broken appliance without taking on finance, last month. That felt like quite an achievement!
I’ve also set up savings accounts for the kids and I. It’s pretty satisfying watching the balances increase every month! My daughter knows how much her phone bill costs, and she is given a clothing budget rather than bought items randomly. This has helped her learn to budget and save, too.
These are just a few examples of things that I wish my parents had taught me about money. Of course, as we grow up and begin living our lives as adults, we naturally begin to learn more and more about personal finance.
However, I do firmly believe that having these money related conversations with children whilst they’re still in the family home can seriously help to give kids a real boost when it comes to budgeting and handling their finances once they fly the nest.
If you want to read more of Tina’s work, you can find her blog here.