This post was sponsored by SunTrust Bank
Growing up, both my parents were educators. They didn’t make a ton of money, and times were sometimes tight for us. With three kids who were active in a lot of activities, my parents had to learn to prioritize their finances so that there was enough to go around.
I gleaned some important lessons from my mom. Here are a few of them:
Make sure the kids have what they need first.
I know that my mom scrimped and saved, and sometimes decided to forgo things she wanted so that my sisters and I could be involved in afterschool activities and summer camps. We didn't get everything we asked for, but when it came to enrichment activities, there was always enough. I feel the same way with my own kids. I would rather have my kids be able to take lessons or be involved in sports then making sure we all have brand-new, perfectly on-trend clothing.
Value experiences over things.
We can always have the latest toys, but we did make sure to go on the vacations every year. There wasn't always money for material things but my mom sent us to the camp we loved over the summer. My parents valued making memories over material objects, and I definitely parent the same way.
Don't talk about financial stress in front of the kids.
Things were tight sometimes, but my parents never had these conversations in front of us. I think that some things don't need to be discussed in front of children, and I appreciate that my parents didn't put that on us. They were honest in saying that we couldn't afford certain things, but they did not do well on the subject or ever put their anxiety around money on us. They talked to us about budgeting, but they also let us be kids, free of the financial worries of adulthood until it was developmentally appropriate.
Make your own money.
Even though my mom stayed home with us girls we were younger, she always emphasized the importance that women be financially independent, and able to support themselves. She encouraged each of us to get degrees and start a profession before we started having our children, so that we always have something to fall back on. She continued to work after each of us went to school. She modeled the value of avoiding financial dependence, and I appreciate that. I've seen too many women stuck in unhealthy relationships because they don't have the means to leave. My mom taught us to always have the ability to support ourselves, no matter how comfortable we feel in our relationships.
Don't be entitled about your job.
My mom taught me humility when it came to work. She taught me that you don't to sit around and wait for the perfect job. You hustle, and you humble yourself if needed. When I was younger, my mom took a second job teaching karate in the evenings, despite having a masters' degree and a job as a college professor. When times are tight, you do what you need to do, and you don't worry about your status or entitlement. When I was in college, I worked a lot of unglamorous jobs to pay the bills. Later, when my husband was in an accident and we desperately needed more money and better insurance, I took a job in a furniture store despite the fact that I had a masters degree and a license as a therapist. I could have felt that job was beneath me, but my mom set the example that you do what you need to do in moments of crisis.
Put college first.
This was a huge value in my family. Ironically, my parents did not pay for our college. They paid their own way through college, and philosophically felt that it was beneficial that each of us do the same. It was difficult, but despite the financial stress, each of us paid our own way through college because we knew how important education was.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.