We all probably grew up thinking that the saying “money doesn’t grow on trees” was something our mums came up with. We may even be saying it to our kids now. The moot point being the sentiments have stuck and we have come to learn the true value of money, thanks to our parents.
In many Asian households, it is the father who brings home the money and the mother who manages it. Our mums may not hold a finance degree, but when it comes to personal finance tips, they are the real gurus.
On the occasion of Mother’s Day, it’s worthwhile that we revisit some of the common money lessons that our moms taught us which laid the foundation of our financial understanding.
I spoke to a number of mums for this blog, and these are the 5 valuable money lessons I learned from them.
1. Always ensure you save up
Now that’s a common lesson that every mom will tell her kids to follow, and boy, they are the real savings experts. You may recollect countless occasions when our mom’s savings came to the rescue in the face of a financial trouble or even to fund a sudden purchase!
So the first lesson we learned is to exercise frugality and budgeting to boost savings.
In this context, you may follow the 50/20/30 rule to improve your financial health. According to this strategy, your income should be divided into three categories.
Essentials (50%) – expenses you have to pay utility bills, housing, food, and transportation.
Savings (20%) – think of this as your ‘rainy day’ fund or one that allows you to get ahead later in life. It could also be a significant stride towards a hefty down payment on a future home or to pay for your children’s higher education.
Personal (30%) – with your essential expenses and savings in place, it’s time for lifestyle expenditures on things you want, like holidays and shopping sprees.
2. Go for slow and steady investments
We all know the importance of investments in growing our money, but with a family in tow, it’s always best to play it safe.
3. Never befriend a credit card debt
Approximately 3.6 million Malaysian credit card holders have an outstanding balance of RM36.9 billion, according to a report in August last. With staggering statistics like that, no wonder mums are so staunch about protecting their family from the big black hole that is debt.
It’s a fact that credit cards make our lives way more convenient, but one must also use them responsibly like always repaying the full outstanding balance of a credit card in time and not just the minimum amount. By doing so, we ensure that we take full advantage of the benefits offered, and a good credit score, without denting our finances and burying ourselves in debt.
4. Say yes to a good sale
Who doesn’t love a good sale? For the practical mum who has her family’s best interest in mind, sales are heaven sent for discounted items so that savings can be passed on to more savings!
One such mother of three I spoke to never shops for full priced items –, especially clothes. She says when shopping at hypermarkets like Tesco or Aeon, always opt for the in-store brands for the best prices.
That said, many moms would also tell you not to get overboard with discounts (that’s easier said than done) and only stick to things you really need.
Also, there are certain things you shouldn’t buy cheap as in the long run they have the potential to jeopardise the very savings you wanted to safeguard in the first place. Read our blog to find out which are things you should never skimp on to ‘save money’.
5. Time is money
Time is valuable, like money, which we spend, save and even waste sometimes. This popular metaphor was first coined by America’s founding father Benjamin Franklin and can be applied in almost any situation.
At home, things like the air conditioning, fan, television or anything that uses electricity is money. So when mum told you to turn everything off when you weren’t in the room, was not to annoy you, but to make sure unused energy wasn’t wasted.
To understand why mum was so adamant on saving electricity, check out Tenaga Nasional Berhad’s guide to Usage Cost Of Electrical Appliances At Home for an idea on how much you spend and how you too can save. You’ll be surprised at how even usage of the kettle, rice cooker, and washing machine add up.
Also, don’t forget to read our other Mother’s Day blogs: