Does money stress you out? I feel ya! Finances, budgeting, and retirement are never fun to think about, but taking control over them will empower you to have so much freedom from that stress.
In this first episode of Clocking In, I’m throwing it back to my childhood and sharing 5 important lessons my mom taught me about money when I was growing up. Listen in to hear how her lessons influenced my mindset around money and pushed me to have a positive outlook on finances.
Clocking In with Haylee Gaffin is produced and brought to you by Gaffin Creative, a podcast production company for creative entrepreneurs. Learn more about our services at Gaffincreative.com, plus you’ll also find resources, show notes, and more for the Clocking In Podcast.
Review the Show Notes
5 Lessons My Mom Taught Me About Money
Lesson 1: Pick an amount of money to be “$0” in your account. (1:05)
Lesson 2: You don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck (2:08)
Budgeting Tip: Review everything that you’re spending money on in a month. Can you live without it?
Lesson 3: Credit cards are not to be used unless you can afford to pay it off now. (3:54)
Lesson 4: Retirement isn’t as far off as it seems – invest now. (5:31)
Lesson 5: It’s ok to splurge on yourself if you save for it. (7:02)
Let’s Recap (8:10)
Review the Transcript:
Hey y’all. Welcome to the Clocking In Podcast, the podcast for entrepreneurs and professionals making their way in the working world.
I’m your host, Haylee Gaffin!
This podcast is produced and brought to you by Gaffin Creative, a podcast production company for creative entrepreneurs. Learn more about our services at Gaffincreative.com, plus you’ll also find resources, show notes, and more for the Clocking In Podcast.
So, let’s clock in and get to work.
When I started planning for this podcast, I knew that a primary topic for this show would be money and finances. I’m not a financial advisor and I’d never claim to be one, but I’m here to share my experiences with money, loans, and everything in between.
In today’s episode, I want to share 5 lessons that my mom taught me about money. Some I absorbed immediately. Others took a little while longer to sink in. So mom, if you’re listening, thanks.
1. Pick an amount of money to be $0 in your bank account.
From the time I opened my first bank account, my mom made me promise that it would go under $200. At the time that I opened it, I had about $500 from a babysitting gig when I was 15. Before then she’d managed my savings account and I never really had a reason to have a bank account.
Why $200? It was a buffer—a buffer that allowed me to overdraw without penalty, a buffer that allowed me to have a small emergency fund, a buffer that allowed me to always have a little money left in my account even when I felt broke.
Making myself always view $200 as having $0 in my bank account stuck with me through adulthood and even subtly into my marriage. When I graduated college, my buffer increased. At first it went up to $500, then $1,000, then $5,000 and so on. It’s allowed me to not only value what I’ve made, but also bring me to actually living and understanding her second lesson.
2. You do not have to live paycheck to paycheck.
In today’s society, it’s pretty common to live paycheck to paycheck. We’re taught to spend money when you have it, to buy the newest items when they come out, even if what you have works perfectly fine, and that money made it money meant to be used.
Don’t get me wrong, I love having updated technology, new clothes, and spending money. I really do. What I’ve learned though, is that money can be even more valuable when you have it as a security and safety net.
I know it’s hard to give up living paycheck to paycheck and all of the purchases that come with it, and sometimes it’s even harder to budget in a way that gets you out of living paycheck to paycheck. It’s not easy to make the transition when your bills equal what you’re bringing in.
That’s where my one and only budgeting tip comes in. Review everything that you’re spending money on in a month… Can you live without it? I’m not talking about cutting your grocery bill or moving to a cheaper place… I’m talking about the extra stuff… the eating out, the subscriptions, the starbucks, the shopping. Each every thing that you’re spending $5-10 a month adds up. Most of the time, those small items equal $100-200 a month that you’re unnecessarily spending. Give yourself one month to see how much you can save by eliminating those items. For just one month.
3. Credit cards are not to be used unless you can afford to pay it off now.
I actually didn’t know that credit cards were meant for anything other than earning rewards points until I worked retail in college, where it part of my job to sell credit cards. I had no idea what I promoting, until one day a woman came in to pay $25 on her credit card bill and handed me her statement that had $5,000 on it.
I was so confused, or rather, naive.
Thankfully, I’ve never had credit card debt. BUT I do have credit cards. I still have and use the credit card from that retail store (because I get 10% off every purchase when I use it). I also have a Capital One card that helps my husband and I pay for plane tickets with our travel points. That card get paid off at the end of every month when the statement comes in.
Most people who are sharing their thoughts on finances will encourage you to not use credit cards for the temptation that comes with spending you don’t have. If that helps you to stay away from spending money or being tempted to when you’re not sure that you can pay it off, by all means do not open a credit card.
If you’re like my husband and I, and want to reap the benefits of credit card points, consider it, but be careful with them.
4. Retirement isn’t as far off as it seems – invest now.
This is the piece of advice I did not take as early as I should have. When I started working after college, I didn’t work for a company that offered any type of retirement investing opportunities. So, i spent the first few years of my career placing the blame on that. When I went to work for a company that did, I just ignored it. They didn’t offer any type of match, so I didn’t see it as a good opportunity. It wasn’t until I was almost a year into marriage when I realized, wow, I’m ‘getting old” and should probably think about this whole investing into my retirement thing.
When I officially opened Gaffin Creative and was at the bank opening up a business account for it, I casually asked about options. The woman helping me grabbed all the paperwork, asked when I wanted to put in every month, and advised me on how it would grow.
I didn’t start investing in my retirement until I was 25 years old, which looking back doesn’t seem that old anyway… but consider what 4 additional years of investing could have looked like, and I’ll always wished that I started sooner.
5. It’s ok to splurge on yourself if you save for it.
And her final and probably her favorite tip of all… splurge on yourself every once in a while when you can afford it.
My mom has always been the type of person that you want with you when you’re shopping because she’ll never make you feel bad when you’re buying something. There are scenarios that always occur when shopping with my mom.
The first is when you’re struggling to pick which item to buy and ask her to pick her favorite… she responds with Oh, they’re both cute, just get them both. Splurge a little.
The second is when you’re struggling with the price of something and you ask her, “is it worth it?” If you’ve ever been shopping with my mom, you know her response.
“How much is it? Oh $75? Will you wear it 75 times.”
It’s the Sandi Robinson Shopping logic. If you’ll wear an item 1 time for every dollar you spend on it, it’s worth it. If you won’t, then don’t get it.
This helps you avoid things you’ll never wear, and things that just unreasonably priced.
To recap, the 5 lessons my mom taught me are
- Pick an amount of money to be $0 in your bank account.
- You do not have to live paycheck to paycheck.
- Credit cards are not to be used unless you can afford to pay it off now.
- Retirement isn’t as far off as it seems – invest now.
- It’s ok to splurge on yourself if you save for it.
The commonality and underlying theme between each of these lessons is taking responsibility and power over your own finances. So mom, thanks again for teaching me lessons, you probably hoped but didn’t realize would stick with me through adulthood.
If you enjoyed this episode, keep an eye out for episodes about finances, paying off students loans, and yes, even an episode about paying off our mortgage, and being debt free.
This has been another episode of the Clocking In Podcast. You can find the show notes for this episode and more at gaffincreative.com. Thank you so much for your listenership and support! If you loved this episode, I’d be so honored if you’d leave me a review in the Apple Podcast App. Until next time, I’m your host, Haylee Gaffin, clocking out.