I remember growing up and seeing some of the things my parents did, then thinking to myself, why do they do that? I did not grow up wealthy or dirt poor, my family started below middle-class and made it up to middle-class level. My parents worked hard at their jobs and saved money as much as possible. They had many different methods of saving money, including using everything they had to it’s limit. Thinking back, I was very lucky to have parents that practiced being frugal. They passed along a lot of their habits to me, maybe not the extreme ones though.
My father has always worked at least two jobs. He is actually nearing retirement age now, but has not really slowed down. He still works hard at two jobs and fixes everything around the house himself. I can’t imagine him being retired one day. I think he is going to be extremely bored and end up fixing other people’s houses for free.
My mother raised my sister and I mostly by herself when we were young. My parents had traditional dual roles in the household, moneymaker and housewife. Once we were able to attend school she started working full-time to bring in more money.
Both of my parents work very hard at their jobs. I know that my mother is not in her ideal role, but it is a job that brings in money. They both sacrificed a lot through the years. They both believe in hard work and do not shy away from it.
Around my parents house are items that have been used for over twenty years. A blow dryer in the bathroom is actually almost as old as I am! It still works so why throw it away? They are the opposite of many people who throw away things as soon as they break or get old. Even if they have something newer they might not throw out the older item. They wait as long as possible to buy something new if the old one is still good.
My father would wear his white shirts until there were holes in holes, the shirt was falling apart, and the white was not so white anymore. We would literally have to take away the shirt from him and use it as a rag before he would stop wearing it. He has nicer clothes he wears for work and going out, but these shirts are the ones he wears around the house or for exercising.
If you took a tour of my parents home you would find many items that were made by my father. He is a real handyman and can fix or make almost anything. The entertainment center is entirely built by him alone. It is a custom made large corner unit that can hold a large TV and has plenty of space for DVD players and storage. Other furniture he also made include a corner shelf in the hallway and a stand that holds the fish tank. He does many home repairs himself and saves a lot of money. He has replaced all the windows in the house and created a bigger kitchen.
Growing up with parents that worked hard, practiced frugality, and saved money, definitely helped give me a head start in personal finance. These are basic principles that are hard to adhere to unless you are already used to it.
What finance lessons did you learn from your parents?