4 money lessons my parents taught me as a kid that made me good with money today

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Couple hammock relaxing summerMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock.comThe author’s parents are not pictured.
  • Anna Baluch’s parents taught her money lessons as a child that she still uses today.
  • For instance, they taught her to value experiences over things by prioritising regular trips over regular gifts.
  • They also taught her never to settle, a lesson that helped her start working for herself and have control over her schedule.

My parents are two of the smartest people I know.

I truly believe that I am responsible with money because of them. They have taught me some very important lessons that I hope to pass on to my future children. Here’s what I learned from them:

1. Spend on experiences over things

Rather than buying my sisters and me the latest gadgets and hippest clothing, my parents took us on vacation.

Every December, we escaped the brutal Ohio winter and made unforgettable memories in a tropical destination. We’ve swam with the dolphins in Hawaii, ziplined in Costa Rica, snorkeled in the Bahamas, and had some of the most incredible experiences I will never forget.

This idea of spending on experiences over things is something I abide by as an adult. I won’t go to Nordstrom and add to my wardrobe every week but I have no problem booking a last-minute weekend getaway to Sarasota, Florida.

While I don’t remember any toy that my parents gave me when I was little, I remember each and every vacation they took me on and couldn’t be more thankful that my mum and dad valued fun and exciting experiences over things.

2. Use delayed gratification to your advantage

When I was little, my parents said “no” a lot. While I was mad at them at the time for not buying me anything and everything my heart desired, I couldn’t be more thankful for it today. They said “no” to new shoes, dinners out, and trips to the fancy hair salon so they could accomplish significant financial goals like fully funding a college education for my sisters and me.


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Graduating college without debt has had such a positive impact on my life that I plan to use this idea of delayed gratification or sacrificing temporary pleasures to achieve long-term success to pay for my future children’s college. Just a few months ago, the idea of delayed gratification that my parents instilled in me allowed me to make my very last mortgage payment.

3. Never settle

Both of my parents are registered nurses. They spent years working in nursing homes and hospitals for someone else.

While they had great jobs and made a nice living, they wanted more. They wanted to be able to make more money for themselves while enjoying flexible schedules and living life on their own terms. Eventually, they opened a home health agency, which they ran successfully for 13 years. By never settling, they were able to exceed their financial goals and live the lives of their dreams.

While I was happy at my 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. marketing gig, like my parents, I wanted more. I wanted to work for myself and have more control over my income and schedule. After about four years of freelance writing on the side, I was able to quit my full-time job and start a writing business that I absolutely love.

4. Be generous

My parents are some of the most generous people I know. Even when they had little money, they were always giving. Whether it was treating good friends to a birthday dinner, sending flowers to someone in the hospital, or donating to an organisation they believed in, my parents were (and still are) very generous.

Since I saw how good their generosity made others feel, I started to become generous myself. While I may be frugal with myself sometimes, I take great pride in always giving to others and making them smile.

I am forever grateful for the money lessons I learned from my parents. Without them, I may be in a completely different financial situation than the one I’m in today.


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