Sunday is Father’s Day.
Since I won’t be able to see mine face to face (we live a few countries apart), what better way to celebrate the day than by reflecting on the most important good financial money habits I learned from my dad!
One of my very first “financial related” memories with my dad is from back when I was only a kiddo in elementary school.
I can’t remember what I wanted back then, but I remember being ready to burst into one of those tantrum-emotional-hissy-fit-crisis if I didn’t get it.
My dad kept yelling at me to cut it out. It didn’t work. So my mom took me aside and explained how my dad always sacrificed his own wants to save money for the family’s needs.
Learning my dad preferred to stay thirsty until arriving home, instead of spending money on water was eye-opening, even for a little girl.
Granted, I now know the difference between being cheap and being frugal, but that’s not the point! (sorry dad, had to mention it!)
After that particular money saving example, others have followed.
To this day I am grateful for the good financial money habits I learned from my dad!
Throwback Father’s Day:
5 financial money habits
I learned from my dad
Always have a budget (a.k.a. the envelope system)
Budget apps are great, but back in the 80’s and 90’s we didn’t exactly have access to technology.
However, my parents always had a budget!
I still clearly remember both my parents coming home with their cash envelopes (yeah… we didn’t have debit or credit cards back then either). They’d put all their money together and my dad would start budgeting:
- monthly house expenses envelope – check!
- electricity bill envelope – check!
- phone bill envelope – check!
… and so on and so forth.
I can’t remember how many envelopes there were, but each had a clear ‘purpose’.
That was the first and most important money lesson I ever learned: create a budget!
Related article: Learn how to budget money in 5 easy steps
Always budget money for fun
One of the most famous envelopes (and one of my personal favorites!) was the vacation envelope!
No matter how tight money was, my dad always made sure to keep adding to our vacation funds.
Each year my parents made sure we spend at least a few days at the seaside. Even if that meant making financial sacrifices for a few months prior to us leaving.
Fun activities and vacations are always worth budgeting for. Especially if you have a family and would like to create life-long memories.
Frankly, no one remembers being angry about not buying the ‘stuff’ we wanted, but we all remember the great times we had on vacation! (I have pictures to prove it!)
Related article: How to enjoy a low-cost city break
Always research and shop around before buying
My dad, after careful and prolonged researched, bought our first family computer back in 1998. After months and months of research and after betting we’d all grow beards faster than him making a final decision!
It was worth waiting though.
First of all, he got a great deal! It would have cost a lot more if he didn’t shop around.
Second, my schoolmates were bragging about their IBM’s long before I even knew how to turn a PC on. However, I’ve used ours all through middle and high-school (with minor upgrades), while they often complained it crashed or stopped working or – true story – caught on fire.
Although it’s sometimes tedious work, shopping around and doing extensive research before buying anything important is worth it!
Related article: 5 extremely cheapskate things I wouldn’t do to save money
Save for your wants (avoid debt at all cost!)
Both my parents hated debt and my dad would do anything to avoid it! He always believed in saving money and delayed gratification.
When I became a teenager, I was about to learn my first saving money lesson.
I had just started high school and, to my surprise, was the only one in my class without a cell phone. Phones were such a ‘big deal’ back then, I felt like the uncool kid on the block for not having one.
I asked my parents to buy me one, but they couldn’t afford it. Thus began my money quest to save for my very own phone!
I started saving my daily allowance: I would brown bag my lunch to avoid buying food, I’d carry a bottle of tap water to avoid buying sodas, I’d come straight home from school to avoid spending money with my schoolmates after-hours.
It took quite a while, but I did it! It was the very first thing I bought with cash!
Although I was mad at the time, I have to say, this was one of the most important money lessons my folks could have taught me! Even if it wasn’t intentional.
Related article: 3 types of good debt
Build a substantial emergency fund
Our family had just moved into a bigger home, my dad was happy about his recent career advancement and we could finally afford a night out and give mom a break from cooking every now and then.
Unfortunately, as Murphy never sleeps, a few months into our newfound financial happiness, my dad lost his job.
The biggest chunk of our family income – gone!
Can you imagine how such an event can affect a family of 4? Just when you think everything’s going so smooth, money suddenly becomes a problem.
It was back then I learned about stashed away emergency money.
I can’t remember all the details, but I do remember having food on the table despite the recent income loss. I also remember nobody mentioning borrowing money! We got by without loans or financial help from friends.
An emergency fund is often overlooked. Many think of it as an unnecessary precaution. Why bother keeping money stashed away, when you clearly have a good job with a great prospective?
You never know what might happen and even a good career can suddenly come to an unexpected end.
Related article: Are payday loans good or bad for your finances?
My dad’s not perfect, as I’m sure nobody is. But I’m grateful for the many good financial money habits I learned from him.
Being responsible with money and adopting a frugal lifestyle is all thanks to what my parents taught me. My mom was the frugal one in the family, but my dad was the one who handled all family finances and up to this day, still does a good job!
What financial money habits have you learned from your parents?
Have you kept following them throughout the years?