How Money Makes Memories

On a walk yesterday, I was thinking about how money can have different meanings to each person and how a big part of that comes from the way you are raised to think about money (what can I say, I am a thinker). Seeing how each of your parents manages money leaves childhood money memories that can shape YOUR money management style for better or worse.

It reminded me of a couple of my “money memories”. My very first money memory was when I wanted a pair of lace gloves out of the JCPenny catalog.   My parents told me if I saved part of the money, they would cover the rest. Let’s just say I was a proud little girl wearing my new gloves on Easter Sunday!

That was an excellent first money memory but the one that has affected my money management to this day is the time I was in an accident with my Mom’s sweet Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight.

I had just turned 16 and volunteered to return VHS tapes to the video store (I know this dates me). Being the teenager, I was I took the turn into a parking spot too fast and BOOM! I clipped the bumper of the unlucky car beside me. Immediately I felt sick because I knew I was going to have to call my Dad. So after I sat in embarrassment and fear for a while, I worked up the nerve to call him on a payphone (No, I didn’t have a cellphone). He promptly arrived to inspect the damage.

Thankfully, my Dad worked it out with the car owner for “us” to pay for the damage. This way my brand new insurance record would not be tarnished (there was plenty of time for that). As soon as we arrived back home my Dad informed me that I would be paying for the damage myself. Of course, my response was “how” and his was “get a job”.

That was the end of the discussion; I immediately started finding ways to make money. There was bagging groceries at the commissary (supermarket for non-military brats) and then I found a job bussing tables at a restaurant. Each day that I made money meant each night counting it out to my Dad. We kept a chart on my closet door to track how much I had paid off, complete with my Dad’s initials for payments. To my surprise, and probably my Dad’s too, I had paid in full by the time the car repair was complete.

That situation taught me the hard way to manage my money, and I am grateful for it every day. Even though it wasn’t a money goal I wanted, it happened, and I was able to learn to budget my money…on the fly.

Identifying money memories is an important part of your financial life. In relationships, a money memory you are holding on to could be causing stress in your family’s budget. Are you extreme saving because that is what your parents did? Are you not paying bills on time because that is what your parents did? Was money a happy or sad topic at your house? These are all memories that could be affecting the way you deal with money today.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with a friend. Do you have any memories of money that affect the way you deal with money today? If so, I would love to hear them.

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