We teach our kids so many things but one of the most important is to prioritize saving and good money habits

Of all the lessons we teach our kids, one of the most important is to put good money habits first even if it means sacrificing the luxuries. Teach kids that needs come first in budgeting and they will learn the power of saving and good financial habits.

Today’s essay is by Meggy Adorno, a student at UConn in Global Health. Her story is about the importance of priorities in spending and how to teach your kids good money habits.

Check out Meggy’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!

Sharing our personal finance successes and challenges is what PeerFinance101 is all about. Check out one of the most important lessons I learned about saving and making financial goals.

Worrying about Money but Making Saving a Priority

I’ve grown up in a household where money was something we worried about…kind of a lot.

My mother is the kind of woman who saves her money and puts it aside as she earns it. She keeps in mind her financial responsibilities as a priority. Over the years, she has become diligent on paying bills on time. But no one is perfect and every now and then a bill would slip by and we’d find our home without electricity and hot water. Now, in college, my mother warns me of the importance of personal finances. I’ve learned everything is a matter of priority and knowing whether or not you can afford the luxuries.

The first step in actually understanding how to manage your personal finances is understanding the power money has and what goes into earning it. At seventeen years old, I found my first job at a coffee shop. I smiled and tolerated the rudest customers, cleaned up after messy teenagers, and furiously scrubbed dishes that shriveled my fingers meanwhile settling for minimum wage.

When I received my weekly checks every Thursday in the mail, the number I saw printed never seemed to accommodate the kind of work of I was doing. As naïve as I was, I was sure I should be earning more. Nonetheless, I had to stretch my earnings to fulfill my needs.

In high school, I worked after-school and spent my money on the weekends with friends. I’d go to the movies, train tickets to the city, on-line shop, and most of all I ate. Going out was part of my culture and high school experience. I can’t say I really worried about money. Even though, I had my own money, my mother didn’t make me pay my phone bill. I had little experience responsibly managing my money but I knew it was important to me and I knew I worked hard for it.

Sometimes the only way to save more money on a limited income is just to earn more of it. Check out this Work from Home Directory of six ways to make money from home.

Saving Money in a Culture of Shopaholics

Now, in college, my perspective on money has changed. I didn’t work during school so not to distract me from my studies however, the social culture in college is more expensive than back home. The irony to it is that most people understand this, yet we continue to spend money on luxuries. I have a bad habit of getting money and immediately spending it on going out. With the cost of a nice outfit, transportation, and admission, I end up spending all my savings.

teaching kids put money habits firstAs my budget decreased and more money escaped my bank account, I did what any broke college student with no job would do. I called my mother and asked for more. But at the sound of her voice, I couldn’t muster the courage.

Growing up, I’ve heard my parents come through the door with tired eyes, slumped posture, and a sigh at the sight of their bed. My parents have worked in factories and caregiving for elders for most of their lives. I know how hard they work. At times, I would have to give up my money to help pay bills.

The best advice I got from my parents is to save my money for what really matters. Working hard and time management are among the other things I’ve learned but I find saving my money the best advice. It seems obvious but it’s truly a practice of will.

Meggy’s right that saving money sometimes takes a huge amount of willpower but sometimes it also helps to trick yourself into saving. Check out these 5 Budget Tricks you Won’t Believe Actually Work.

Throughout my first year in college, I come into the art of minimalism. At this point in my life, my education is the most important thing to me. Before I go out with my friends, I make sure all my books and fees are paid for. When I work during winter and summer sessions, I put aside money to go towards loans. In an attempt to build good credit, I only buy what I know I can afford and save it for the time when I’m billed.

Of course, a lot of things go into personal finance, time management and investing. But I’ve found saving money by addressing necessities before luxuries is what has helped me. In order to properly invest in my future, I know I have to be responsible when I spend my money.

I want to thank Meggy for her essay saving money and putting good money habits first. Be sure to support Meggy by sharing the article through social media and check in August for the winner of the personal finance scholarship.

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