Well, this little post is going to divert from some of my others. I’m going into mom-mode and I just need to vent a little.
Let’s talk about money and the hard life lessons we learn from it.
Those hard lessons are also extremely valuable!
There are times in our life when we want to do or have something. Some days we can afford it and other days we cannot.
I have learned a beautiful way of looking at money over the past couple of years. Rather than looking at money saying, “there’s never enough”, we are encouraged to look at money as a tool to help us live life the way we desire most.
To do that, we must decide how to spend our money to make it work best for us and our life plan…a plan that we get to design.
I learned to look at spending money, whether for experiences, expenses (utilities, phone, car, clothing, etc) or pop-up expenses (out of the blue kinds of things) as an investment. If I plan to give you my cash, am I going to get value from your product or service. If yes, great. If no, I’ll hang on to it until I find something that I can benefit from.
For example, if I choose to invest money in a haircut and color, will it make my life better? Personally, getting rid of my gray roots does make me feel better when I look in the mirror. I choose to stretch out my appointments as far as I can so as not to go every 6 or 7 weeks. That’s a little secret I don’t share with many people. (I was raised by a frugal mom.)
Clothing. Should I invest in the latest trend or go with a classic purchase that will last me for more than one season? When I was younger, I’d lean toward the trends. Now that I’m older and hopefully wiser, I lean toward longer lasting styles.
Cell phone. While owning a cell phone seems like a necessity in today’s world, we did seem to get by without them when I was growing up. I look at cell phones as an investment for communication with my family, my business and for pleasure. I don’t always get the latest phone that comes out each year because I choose to make it last as long as it can.
Furniture. As a designer, I do love new looks but replacing furniture every year is pricey. Again, I like to invest in quality pieces that will last a long time and we made it a point to teach our kdis how to respect what we owned. I also know how to update rooms easily by paint, accessories or simply rearranging a room to inspire a fresh look…and the costs are minimal if none-at-all.
College. Most universities tell you that graduating with $35,000 in debt is “acceptable debt”. We think differently. We don’t believe in having our kids go into debt if there are ways to avoid it. We’ve done so much research on this issue that I’ll eventually have a book on what we’ve learned. I hope to have it out this Fall. (If you care to get a copy of it, send me a message.)
College is an (expensive) investment for sure! But you can make wise decisions on how to go about getting the education you need without incurring crippling debt. My niece had a full ride to Alabama, which was a blessing to her single mom. She now lives in Vietnam and works a variety of jobs, travels around Asia and is experiencing the world while she can at the ripe old age of 25.
When we saw each other last month, I asked if she ever wanted to go back to school. She said she didn’t think so, mainly because her friends were struggling to repay their monthly school loans of $800/month! OUCH! They have no way of enjoying life like she does because they made different money decisions without realizing the bigger picture.
Why am I writing this…
Recently, my daughter was gifted a hair color treatment by her grandmother. She loves to spoil them! My daughter did a lot of research on costs and we had discussions on why I wasn’t a fan of them starting down this path as teenagers who didn’t have incomes to support the maintenance. Hair color is a luxury item in my book. Monthly expenses have to be met first, savings next, charity and then things like this.
My husband and I work hard at teaching them how to look at and use money wisely.
Since this was a gift, I agreed to her having this done.
She finally found someone to help her achieve the look she so badly desired. While her hair turned out beautifully, she learned a very hard lesson. She failed to confirm how much the lady charged before it was all said and done. She assummed the woman charged the same as other stylists she had researced. When the treatment was done, she learned the woman charged twice the amount she was expecting to pay.
It was a little too late to decide if that investment was worth it.
I did speak to the hair stylist because I felt like she did my daughter a disservice.
As a new client, I believe the stylist should have consulted with her on services and prices. My daughter would have been able to make a much more informed decision. The stylist understood my concern and was very apologetic, again a little too late. She did promise to make sure every new client understood what they would be charged if they agreed to purchase her services before they actually get it done; as she should.
As an interior designer and stager, I’d never go about a job without a client’s approval of my fees. It’s just smart business.
So in teaching our kids about money…
Make sure they ask lots of questions to know what they are investing in. Making money requires hard work and effort. It’s easy to spend frivolously without much thought, especially if it’s given to us without effort, but that’s when we can get into a big shortage.
Money is an important topic to learn about and discuss as a family. Having two kids in college now, with only one more high school student at home, we talk a lot about it. At first, they didn’t like hearing the hard truths, but we try to make it as normal a conversation as possible.
Personally, I wasn’t taught about money. It was something that my parents kept quiet about. When times were tight, I remember hearing them say we couldn’t do such and such…but then miraculously, the money came through. We lived a nice life but I walked out into the world without any financial knowledge. I had to learn it on my own, as did my husband, and we came from two different mindsets…which made our progress even slower.
Take time to understand what money is.
Money is a tool to help you live a great life. You don’t need a ton of it to live the life you choose to design. Make smart and informed decisions on where you want to invest your money. Teach your kids to do the same. They’ll thank you for it!
If you need a resource to teach your family about money, check out Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money Smart Kids.Money is just a tool. What you do with it shows your character. Author unknown.Click To Tweet
Have you ever had a hard money lesson learned? If so, please share. Our stories help others learn.
Here’s to healthy money management in your family!
Cheers to you and yours!