Life Lessons in Personal Finance from a Single Mom

Basic financial lessons like budgeting and paying bills can be the start of good financial health for a lifetime

One of the recurring themes throughout these scholarship essays has been that simple financial lessons like budgeting and paying bills on time can stay with a person for a lifetime. It’s easy to overlook these basic financial beginnings but they are the building blocks to good financial health.

Today’s essay is by Brooke Sayre-Chavez, a student at Colorado State University. She shares how her mother got her started with some very important life lessons.

Check out Brooke’s story and please share on social media. The most-shared essay on how parents can teach their kids about money will win our $500 personal finance scholarship, announced August 31st!

Starting late and need to get your personal finances going? Check out this resource guide on getting started in budgeting, saving, investing and making more money!

What My Mother Taught Me about Personal Finance

My mom taught me almost everything I know about personal finance. She is the reason I am able to go to an out-of-state school, and the one who taught me what it meant to save money and be responsible with money.

Growing up, she worked very hard to afford the house my brother and I grew up in. My parents got divorced a long time ago so she has been the one providing for us all these years. One of the most important things she taught me was that having a job teaches responsibility and time management, along with social skills, and accountability.

Budgeting Savings No Matter How Small

Starting when I was 15, I got a job as a soccer referee for the summer. Then when I was 16, I got a job at Walgreens and have been working in a restaurant ever since then. I personally enjoy working, and the money I make it just a bonus.

I was taught that I should set aside a portion of each paycheck just for savings. So when I started working, my mom and I sat down and figured some things out. I didn’t pay bills at the time, like she does, but I did pay for gas in the car I drove and when I do fun things like go to the movies with my friends, I pay for that too. So we decided that I should set two thirds of my paychecks aside just for savings, and the other third would go in my checking account, where I can spend it on whatever I find reasonable.

Now that I am in college and paying for more of my own things, I adjusted the percentage and try to save as close to half as I can, and use the other part on things like rent, groceries, and textbooks. I didn’t quite realize how important savings is, until I was a little older and realized how much things in life can cost.

Like textbooks. I spent close to $700 on required textbooks the second semester of my freshman year. I had a concept of what things in life would cost but it really became real to me when I paid for them myself.

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Saving Money by Paying on Time

Another important thing my mom taught me was that bills need to be paid on time. It just doesn’t make sense to pay extra in late fees because you forgot to pay something. If not having the money was the issue, then that’s a different story, but simply forgetting or not being organized is not a good reason to miss a deadline.

Also, although there are advantages to using a credit card, paying with cash ensures that you have the money you are spending, and that you can see how much it costs more visually than just a number before you swipe a card. Lots of people don’t quite get it but I prefer to pay in cash for almost everything I can, and if I can’t then I would rather use a check over a credit card.

These are just a few of the important things my mom has taught me about personal finances.

I want to thank Brooke for her essay on personal finance lessons her mother passed on to her. Be sure to support Brooke by sharing the article through social media and check in August for the winner of the personal finance scholarship.

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