Since it’s mother’s day, I asked my mama some tips that she could share with me about money management.
I’m glad she’s open-minded and she shared her money lessons willingly.
Our mothers are undoubtedly the first teachers in our lives.
The most little of things that we know today, we have our mothers to thank for them.
But motherly wisdom goes way beyond what we give it credit for.
The little things that our mothers do in their day to day lives can teach us a lot about how to instill healthy financial habits.
Here are 6 money lessons that I have learned from my mother:
1. Creating a Budget
The first money lesson my mother taught me is creating a budget.
According to her, creating a budget will help you understand how much money you bring in each month and how much you spend.
When we were kids, Mama was the one working while Papa was the one taking care of us. Our family’s income only comes from my mother’s salary as a government employee.
Because she earned limited income, she strictly followed a monthly budget for our family expenditures.
Kailangan kong pagkasyahin ang maliit na sweldo para sa mga gastusin at pangangailangan ng ating pamilya. – Mama
It is amazing, how accurately and efficiently our mothers create a budget for monthly expenses. I think I got my budgeting skills from her and I thanked her for that.
2. Creating an Emergency Fund
Another important money lesson Mama has taught me is creating an emergency fund.
Mama said she always had some money tucked away for difficult times or for emergency expenses.
When she receives her salary, she always tries to keep 10% of it for emergency fund.
When I asked her where she keeps her emergency fund, she said she hides it in the drawer inside her closet.
I laughed when I remembered that I and my siblings tried to open that drawer out of curiosity, but we failed because it was locked.
I asked her why she did not save her money in the bank. She said that while she tried to keep a portion of her salary for savings or emergency fund, she could hardly keep it untouched before her next salary arrives because she always had something to spend on – either for our family or for relatives.
Aside from the fact that our family barely made ends meet, the bank was also far from our place. It would have been an additional expense to go to the bank to deposit money only to withdraw it a few days later.
I’m glad it’s easier to keep an emergency fund in the bank nowadays especially with the help of online banking facilities. But if you have limited budget like Mama, you may keep your extra money in a safe place in your house.
3. Being Frugal
Mama has always taught us to appreciate the value of money.
She worked so hard and sacrificed her time to be with us and to take care of us when we were kids just so she could earn money for our family.
Mama was very frugal. She never buys something she doesn’t need. She doesn’t indulge in any sort of wasteful expenditure whatsoever. She calculates and plans as to where can she get the cheapest and best quality grocery or school supplies.
She always makes our basic needs and school expenses a priority over her personal wants.
When I was younger, I would sometimes feel bad to my mom for not buying the things I wanted to have. I hated it when she say, “hindi mo naman kailangan yan” o kaya “gamitin mo muna yung luma, okay pa naman. ”
I realized that it wasn’t because my mom didn’t want to buy it for me, but she was just trying to be frugal.
When I became a mom myself, I realized that every peso counts and being frugal is one quality every mom should have no matter how big or small you earn.
4. Living Within Your Means
My mother has always re-enforced on the fact that we should live within our means.
To live within your means is to spend only as much or preferably a little less than what you earn.
Knowing the difference between a want and a need will help you live within your means and keep you out of debt.
For Mama, before she makes a purchase, she asks herself or us if we really need it. If we don’t, she let us wait for a week or even a month before she buys it. More often than not, we change our mind.
She also taught us not to compete with our friends or neighbors.
I remember when I was in high school, a new brand of backpack became trending in school, and most of my friends had it.
I got so envious so I asked my mama to buy one for me, but she refused because it was beyond her budget. She said,
Sure, your friends might have that nice bag, but that doesn’t mean you have to do the same.
I realized that she was right.
Sometimes living within your means might not be as glamorous, but you will be much better off for it long term.
I might have not gotten that bag during high school, but that experience taught me how to be frugal, patient, content, and humble. I also learned that if you really want something, you have to work for it.
5. Taking out a Loan as Last Resort
It is no secret that many government workers have loans.
My mother, who worked as a government employee for several years, had also taken out a number of loans from GSIS, Pag IBIG Fund, and other private lending institutions and individuals.
She said it was a privilege to be a government employee because they can easily take out loans with minimal requirements, but she doesn’t advise taking out a loan for unnecessary expenditures.
Even though she got loan offers from various sources, she only availed of a loan when she needed extra fund for our college education, and sometimes for home improvement.
Her advise is to avoid loans as much as possible. Instead of taking out a loan for your next cellphone or appliance purchase, save as much as you can now so that you can afford to pay it in cash when you need it.
You should only consider taking out a loan as your last resort.
I was aware that Mama took out loans from time to time, especially when I was in college, but I was not aware that she used our house as collateral for one of her loans.
I didn’t know about it until the house was almost foreclosed. I remember, I was at home sleeping after working night shift in the call center, when she called, crying and worried about our house.
Thank God I had some money invested in a coop and some money saved in the bank. I was able to help my mom pay her loan and we were able to save our house from the foreclosure.
It was a stressful experience, but it taught us valuable financial lessons. I avoided taking out loans for unimportant purposes and only do so when needed.
I admit I incur debts too, but I am learning to stay out of debt by living within my means and managing my finances efficiently and effectively.
6. Preparing for Retirement
You do not want to work in your whole life, that’s why Mama said it is very important to prepare and save for retirement.
Even if she was just earning very little from her job as a Telegraph Operator in the government, she’s happy that her job allowed her to save up for her retirement.
Actually she didn’t receive that much when she retired. I was even surprised when she told me that she only received a lump sum of around one million pesos after working for almost thirty years in the government.
It might seem to be a small amount, but for Mama, it wasn’t just about the money.
Yes, money is important, but it’s not all there is. It is also the freedom and peace of mind that I am now enjoying after working for several years.
Mama also said she’s happy and grateful that we, her children, are doing well with our own families and we’re able to give her and Papa additional financial support, even if they don’t ask or expect it.
Mama is right. We need to prepare for our retirement.
Sometimes, we delay our preparation for retirement because we think, matagal pa naman yun.
It reminded me of my goal of retiring at the age of 50, or even earlier at 40.
But like what Mama said, whether I want to retire at 60, or 50, or 40, I need to prepare for it and I need to work for it. Nothing comes easy without hard work.
I now understand why mothers are called the Finance Ministers of the house.
Moms’ money management skills are truly an art and a world-class one at that!
Now, whenever we make a good financial decision, we know whom to give credits.
Thank you Mama for the money lessons you’ve taught me. I will do my best to be as good as a money manager as you are, and I will also try to teach these lessons to my children.
Happy Mother’s Day to my Mama and to all the wonderful Mamas out there!