Schools don’t teach personal finance so it’s all up to parents to teach their kids about money matters

Even the most basic personal finance matters have all but been removed from school curriculum. Schools don’t know how to test personal finance so they don’t teach it. It makes teaching money matters so important in the home.

Today’s essay is by Emma Peterson, a student at the University of Arizona. She shares how her parents taught her money matters like budgeting and prioritizing spending.

Check out Emma’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!

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Families Matter with Money Matters!

My parents have had an extremely strong influence in my life, whether it be as simple as what to wear for the first day of school, or as serious as personal finance.

In this aspect, I learned a lot from their example. Growing up, I had three siblings and my mother was a stay at home mom who took care of all the grocery shopping, budgeting, and other money matters while my dad worked hard to support all of us. I was taught at a young age the value of money management tools such as coupons, deals in newspapers, and savings. In addition, they also taught me the value of hard work and that truly, every penny counts.

When I was an early teen, my dad and I started a checking and savings account for myself at the bank. It was also at this point that my parents granted me more financial independence in my money matters. I began paying for my own gas, some of my food and clothes, as well as anything extra that I wanted. I used the checking account for my expenses, and the savings account to deposit money for college. I had done various babysitting jobs before, but I got a part time job my junior year of high school and would earn my money from that.

Learning Realistic Budgeting Goals that Work

I learned many valuable lessons from my parents, including lessons about finance. My mom stressed the importance of showing responsibility with my money. She would continually pay her bills on time and walked me through the process of paying those bills.

teach kids money mattersShe demonstrated how personal checks worked, and outlined what everything meant on the pay stubs I received from work. She outlined a monthly budget for my family, and still has one currently that we use efficiently. In this budget, she makes several different categories for things we need and sets a dollar limit each month on what we will spend.

She makes these goals realistic and adjusts the budget as time goes on to what my family needs. As I have moved out of the house and gone to college, I established my own budget that I keep.

This reminds me of my first money mistake, that it’s not enough to set a budget. You need to set a budget you can keep and have realistic financial goals. Check out how the financial equivalent of yo-yo dieting helped teach me how to set realistic financial goals.

Prioritizing Money Matters for Personal Finance Success

My parents also taught me how important it is to prioritize. Of course, the necessities come first. In college, I typically pay for rent, gas, electricity, and phone before anything else. While it’s not good to spend all of your money on extra, unnecessary items or activities, it is good to allow yourself some financial freedom as long as you do it wisely.

Even in these extra, fun expenses, it is still as important as ever to hunt for deals and coupons. Websites like are very valuable and offer great deals. There are also coupon books that schools use for fundraisers, and many businesses participate in promotions or have specific days of the week where they offer deals.

Even with fun things, it is important to budget and plan. So you can have the same experience, just without the damage to your bank account! While I have watched for deals with my own activities, I have noticed that these habits have affected my everyday spending and I feel confident in myself when it comes to finding the best price.

It is also important to be financially aware. I believe some of the greatest financial mistakes are made when they are spontaneously decided. With the more research you put into something, the better the outcome will be.

I have had an experience with this with college textbooks. They sell them at the University Bookstore, where most students purchase them. However, buying them used or online is exceedingly cheaper, and typically it is for the exact same thing. This sort of planning and research has allowed me to save more of my hard earned money than I would have if I unknowingly knew what I was purchasing.

This strategy applies to much more than college textbooks. I feel very fortunate to have received so much budgeting knowledge from my parents, and I know they have prepared me to be a financially stable adult and to teach my children these money habits as well.

I want to thank Emma for her essay on how her parents taught her money matters like budgeting and spending. Be sure to support Emma by sharing the article through social media and check in August for the winner of the personal finance scholarship.

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