If this is your first time here, Molly’s Money is a regular series I write on this blog that includes ALL things personal finance – debt management, budgeting, home buying, savings, investment, etc. I am NOT a financial advisor, but I am married to one! These are just things that I have learned over the years as I struggled with my own personal finances and ultimately, became debt free in 2012. Got a question about money that you want answered? Leave it in the comments below or email me!
In my own personal experiences AND in the past almost-three-years that I’ve been writing this particular money series on this blog, I’ve learned that money is a TRICKY subject for people… it’s awkward and for some reason has become taboo, in many ways, to talk about it!
That’s gotta change. Whether we like it or not, money is everywhere and we need to do a better job of educating ourselves on certain things so we can learn to really be good stewards of it.
That’s basically the whole goal of this money series… I want to share lessons that I’ve experienced, lessons that I’ve learned, etc. and share with y’all so that you, too, can learn to be good stewards and managers of your own finances!
Here’s are six money lessons that everyone should learn and know.
First, learn how to talk about money.
In our relationships with our spouses, our significant others, or with our families… talking about money can be really difficult because it can often lead to conflict. But, I’ve found that, more often than not, the conflict arises when money ISN’T talked about. It’s basically like a bubbling volcano… it’s there, it’s active, and eventually, it’s going to erupt. So, instead, why not just address it head on and let it “flow” naturally rather than ignoring it and thinking it’s just going to go away.
When I found myself $36K in debt after college and when I started working towards eliminating all that debt, NO ONE knew my situation. It was awful. My friends, family, and significant others had no clue. And so when I said I couldn’t go to things or couldn’t do things or whatever because I was so broke, it was so awkward and created tension because I didn’t just explain to people my situation.
The second I shared my struggled with my now husband, John, is when the weight was lifted off and I was able to actually start REALLY working towards fixing my situation.
So, instead of keeping all your money worries, thoughts, whatever all bottled inside… TALK about them. Regularly.
Second, learn how to budget.
Yep, you knew I was going to say it. But it has to be said. Learn how to budget. If you don’t know how… now’s the best time to do it.
Third, learn how to treat money.
We need to learn to treat money with care and respect. I don’t believe it should be worshipped, ever… but it can either be used as a tool or as a weapon. We need to respect it for what it is and what it can do… and we need to be smart with it.
Think about things we treat with care and respect… our friends, our spouses, our families, etc. We don’t throw them around. We don’t abuse them. We don’t take them for granted. Etc. It’s the same with money. It shouldn’t be abused. It shouldn’t be thrown around. It shouldn’t be taken for granted. It should be spent wisely and carefully. The moment we drift into a pattern of treating it like it’s nothing is the moment we open ourselves up to getting into bad financial habits.
Fourth, learn how to prioritize your spending.
This is something I’ve talked a lot about when it comes to budgeting, but it’s something that needs to be addressed on its own.
This basically falls into the category of learning the difference between needs and wants. I believe that those two things have become VERY blurred in our culture and we often confuse the two. NEEDS are things that are basic necessities. Food, clothing, shelter, utilities, paper towels, toilet paper, etc. WANTS are things that we, well, WANT.
A new handbag? Not a need. That’s a want.
A new car? …When the one we have currently runs just fine. Not a need. That’s a want.
Pasta sauce and milk and bread etc.? Those are needs. You know, because they are food.
You get the point.
Learn to prioritize what is actually a need and a want in your life and adjust your spending accordingly.
Fifth, learn the importance of saving.
Saving has, in many ways, become a lost art. Or something. I just don’t feel as much importance is placed on it as I think there should be.
Save for that emergency fund. Save for retirement. Save for vacations. Learn to save and learn to save wisely. If we spend every dollar we earn, we’re doing ourselves AND our future generations a massive disservice.
Sixth, learn the JOY of giving.
I get no greater joy than giving financially to causes I am passionate about. I truly believe that our money is best spent helping others… and that is something that I didn’t always understand because I spent so much of my life clinging on to every dollar that came my way.
We need to learn what it really means to GIVE and give generously and we need to learn how much JOY it can bring us to be able to bless others with our finances.
Now, what about you? What do you think? What money lessons do YOU think people need to learn?