Everyone knows that mom is always right. But on Mother’s Day we could all use a little reminder.
We’ve talked to some of our favorite financial experts about the best money advice their mothers have ever given them – and how you can apply that wisdom to your own life.
Why you should wait before buying something
When CFP Nate Nieri of Modern Money Management was little, he saved enough money to buy a video game. He asked his mother for a ride to the store to buy it, but she would only take him if he waited two weeks to make sure he really wanted it. As his mother had predicted, he changed his mind before the time was up.
“It was a very valuable lesson about impulse buying and patience and something that I really care about,” he said.
How to use it: As a rule of thumb, you have to wait at least 24 hours before buying anything, or a week if the item is particularly expensive. Add it to your wish list or special folder in your browser and walk away. Chances are you’ll forget about the item – and if you don’t, it might be worth buying.
Plan your meals early
Mindy Jensen, host of the BiggerPockets Money Podcast, said to her mother, “Always know what you have for dinner by 8am.”
Jensen got this advice when she was a home mom and forgot to plan dinner late in the day. Usually this meant take out or going to a restaurant.
How to use it: The advice is right whether you are cooking for a family or just for yourself. If you can schedule dinner first thing in the morning, you won’t be tempted to get DoorDash at 6pm. Starting in the morning, you’ll have plenty of time to thaw something, toss a chicken breast in the slow cooker, or run to the grocery store for ingredients.
Set specific savings targets
Ricardo Pina of The Modest Wallet said his mother always told him to save up for a certain item instead of stashing money just because it was the responsible thing.
“Whether we’re saving money to buy a new video game or a brand new bike, she always said that when you have a savings goal, saving is so much more fun,” he said.
How to use it: Set a savings goal in Mint. For example, every time you transfer money to your account called “Italy Travel”, you’ll remember why you were saving in the first place.
When you are saving for retirement, get a clear picture of what type of retirement you want. Whether you live in a Tahoe cabin or a Florida beachfront condo, a more specific image will make it easier to save.
Marcus Garrett, author of Debt Free or Die Trying, said his mother encouraged him to start saving early by taking him to open a savings account when he was 16. When he got his first job in a movie theater, she agreed to fit whatever he was saving towards his first car.
“At the age of 16 I already saw and understood the value of an” employee match “,” he said.
How to use it: If you have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, you might get a company match. This means that the company will deposit money into your retirement account, usually up to a certain amount. Always contribute enough to earn the full company game because it’s essentially free money.
If you are a parent, you can also use this strategy on your own children by matching every dollar they save. It will encourage them to save more because every dollar they put away is doubled.
Do not rely on future earnings
Jacob Wade of I Heart Budgets said his mother-in-law gave him some vital advice when he and his wife first married: Always live on last month’s income.
“That changed everything for us and helped us avoid everyday financial burdens,” he said.
It took him and his wife six months to save a full month’s income, but it was worth it. Even 13 years later, they are still living on the income from the previous month.
How to use it: When you have a monthly income in the bank, you don’t have to wait for payday to pay your bills. This is especially important if you are self-employed as customers can pay late. When you have enough money in your checking account, you don’t have to dip into your savings to make rent.
Zina Kumok (123 posts)
Zina Kumok is a freelance writer who specializes in personal finance. As a former reporter, she has covered murder trials, the Final Four, and everything in between. It has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth, and Time. Read how she repaid $ 28,000 in student loans at Conscious Coins in three years.