Financial lessons from my father

My father taught me many important life lessons: how to tie my shoes, how to ride a bike and to never change the station during a baseball game. But some of the greatest lessons he taught me were ways to be wise with money.

Save for a rainy day. Dad preached the value of savings. Like any rebellious kid, I didn’t appreciate the wisdom of his words until I needed money that I didn’t have. I quickly began squirrelling away a little extra for the times I needed it most.

Over the years, this lesson has prevented unexpected expenses from becoming crises, and it’s meant that I don’t live paycheck-to-paycheck.

Don’t run up debt. (But if you have to, pay it off early.) My clunker of a car spent three impressive years gasping its dying breath. My husband and I were paying off his vehicle, and though I payed extra each month the amount was miniscule. I believed we still had several payments to go. Would my nearly twenty-year-old Civic hold out until his debt was settled?

When the final clang came from under the hood, I checked the balance of his loan: $90.84. The extra I tacked on every month though small in dollars was huge in results. It meant I could pay off his car and begin shopping for my new ride.

Spend a little something on yourself. Dad taught me that life isn’t all rainy days and car deaths. He also taught me to prioritize my wants.  I purchase the things I really desire when it’s financially  practical. If I can’t buy it right away, I save up to get it when I can.

It means I get to treat myself without worrying I won’t be able to pay a bill or manage an unexpected expense, and that’s true financial freedom!