Money Lessons I Learned From Mom

Mothers are miracle workers, teachers, chefs, nurses, and so much more. But did you realize that your mom is also a financial adviser? We often don’t like the advice when we get it but more often than not, it does come in handy. They are usually buried deep within us until we’re all grown up and get that “Aha!” moment. While they are only a fraction of the many lessons we learnt from her, there were many money lessons we learned from Mom.

1)Make do with what you have
Mom could create the tastiest dishes from only a handful of ingredients. Mothers know how to make the best of what they have, or as we say, they know how to “tun dem hand mek fashion” not just with food but with clothes and other things her family needs. Now, thanks to her skills, we know how to make the best of what we have instead of spending a small fortune to get the things we want.

2) Don’t develop a habit of owing people.
Like riding on the back of the dogs, borrowing was frowned upon in my home. When it came to borrowing money from our parents, Mom would want to know when we’d be paying her back and how, then suggested we get the money first then we might talk about the loan. That was frustrating. After a while, we realized we would have better chances of getting a loan if we showed some initiative. When you have to save for weeks, sometimes months, you realize that immediate gratification with debt pales in comparison to saving for what you want and we enjoy the fruits of our labor even more.

Now, as an adult, the same principle applies when it comes to larger, more expensive items. For example, instead of purchasing home appliances and furniture on hire purchase, I save and pay with cash, usually getting a nice discount in the process. How do I do this? By prioritizing, saving, and making purchases in the order of priority. I do not leave the money in easily accessible places where I’ll be tempted to “borrow” it. Instead, I use my Victoria Mutual iSave account. That way, I’ll set the time frame and amount I plan to save each month via salary deduction.

3) Brand names aren’t always the best buy
Instead of the JanSport© bag I desperately wanted a  when I was in school, there was  a leather bag with a drawstring and a flap that lasted years despite my many efforts to “accidentally” damage or lose it. Later in life I accepted that Mom was right and that brands really don’t always matter. Now when I shop for myself and my family, I look beyond the brand name and seek affordable but durable goods. 

4) Be on time
Punctuality doesn’t sound like financial advice at first but I assure you that it is and is applicable to many financial situations. Paying bills on time means no late fees. Being on time to the Bank means no standing at the door pleading to be let in while the security guard stands on the other side of the door shaking his head and pointing to his watch. Being on time means paying your rent early and having a structured plan to do so. Being early means having less interest fees to pay on your credit card.

5) Be Prepared
The sweater, umbrella, and raincoat made my bag bulky and heavier than it needed to be but my Mom insisted we never leave home without them, even if the sun is out and every weather channels promised clear skies. It seems like such a small thing at first, but being prepared financially is very important. Prepare for financial emergencies, and retirement. She didn’t know that it would rain and we can never know when we’ll have an emergency.

6) Save but don’t overdo it
My dad was mad when he discovered the coffee can of money my brother and I had saved. We had labelled it “Laptop Fund” because, as I said before, we learned to save for what we want. We were proud of our efforts and the rolls of money that we had stuffed into the can so we were quite confused as to our father’s reaction until our Mom explained his reaction to us. We had saved 60-100% of our lunch money every week. We would eat a big breakfast, bring snacks from home, then eat our fill at dinner (which was not a lot at times).

It’s great to save, but not at the expense of your health and happiness. For many adults, money for food and entertainment is whatever is left after all the other expenses are paid.  Now, I don’t budget all my income towards savings and expenses. This doesn’t mean not paying all your bills, but budgeting to spend less on bills and working to stay within your budget. There has to be a balance.

7) Don’t buy more than you need but buy more than you will need
Buy only what you need or follow your mom’s example and buy more than what you need when you can. It seems a bit redundant at first but like many motherly lessons, I understood when I was older. For me this means not buying multiple pairs of shoes and exorbitant amounts of clothes. Instead I follow my Mom’s example and buy some food and non-perishable household items in bulk so I spend less money in the long run.

There are many other tips that I have learned from my Mom. What are some of the money lessons your mom taught you?


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