Sometimes the most powerful lessons come early on in life. Maybe it’s because we are more impressionable at that age or maybe it’s just because we look back fondly upon those times. Regardless of the reason, those lessons stick with us for the rest of our lives and often shape who we are and how we perceive things.
Our early experiences with money are one of those things that can go a long way. If we learn the value of money and how to save, later in life we are a lot more likely to put a priority on sound money management. On the flipside, if we are allowed to squander money when we’re kids, guess what will probably come naturally to us when we’re older? Of course, things can change our views as we mature, but those early memories can have a bigger effect than you might think.
If you’ve read my about page, you’d know that I didn’t grow up in a very wealthy family. I don’t recall either of my parents splurging on anything expensive. As I wasn’t raised in a wealthy neighborhood, I didn’t see that within other families either. I didn’t even watch much tv to be exposed to celebrity lavishness. This upbringing probably played a big role in how tight I am with my money these days.
In my 20s I did spend like there was no tomorrow, but I suspect that was just an extension of my late teens. In my teens my mom’s business was thriving and my part time job there ensured I always had money to blow. I just wasn’t mature enough to fully appreciate things and reflect upon my childhood. Nor was I mature enough in my 20s when those habits continued. Now that I’m older and wiser, I see the light
One of my fondest memories related to money was when I happened to find some cash outside the local convenience store. You can read about that story here. The initial excitement was pretty awesome, but I learned a valuable lesson about wasting money. In one day I had gone from rich (in my eyes anyway) to poor again with very little to show for it. I made the mistake of blowing the money on some unnecessary toys that didn’t last long at all. Talk about a lesson in not wasting money.
Since money wasn’t a big part of my childhood, I really can’t remember much else to do with money from when I was very young. Instead I learned how to be happy without relying on spending money. That may be why these days I am pretty content just hanging out at home or going out for a hike. It’s that kind of mindset that is helping me quickly catch up on my savings goals. Spending less can be even more important than earning more money.
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What are some of your early money memories? Do you think it affected how you manage your finances now?