Moms do things that make us shake our heads. (And if you’re a mother, you probably do those things, too, even if you don’t realize it.) From saving paper napkins she gathered at a fast food restaurant to employing the “sniff test” on the baby’s diaper, mothers do the darndest things – and we love them for it.
All kidding aside, however, you can learn a lot from the stuff moms do and say, if you apply the principles behind those things to your personal finances. Turns out, Mom gives good money advice, even when she’s talking about the importance of clean underwear just in case you’re in a car accident.
Here are some of our favorite “mom quirks” and how they can apply to your budgeting and money-management efforts.
Saving Those Silly Napkins
Have you experienced the embarrassment of watching your mom stuff a wad of fast food napkins into her purse as you’re finishing your meal? Only to have those napkins reappear for the next week and a half in your school lunch box?
The takeaway from this experience is the value of saving and reusing something rather than just throwing it away. Interestingly, this principle has become a hallmark of the green movement, summarized in the chant “reduce, reuse, recycle.” In terms of your finances, reusing and making do with what’s at hand means spending less on new things.
Killing You with Caution
Maybe your mom covered you head-to-toe in an inch-thick layer of sunscreen every day before you left the house. Perhaps you endured the ritual of suiting up like an Eskimo before you were allowed to walk to the bus stop on a winter morning. While she might have been over-the-top sometimes, Mom was right to take protective steps. When it comes to your finances, you should take precautions too, such as keeping an eye on your credit, monitoring your report, and building an emergency fund.
If you’re a parent, you’ve probably done this, but moms seem to raise it to an art – sniff the baby’s bottom to see if a diaper change is needed. “Oh come on,” you say. “How does that apply to money?” Well, as you move through life you’ll encounter many opportunities that may look harmless. The lesson here is to do a little inspecting and trust your nose for trouble. If something smells suspicious, it probably really does stink. Following your nose could help you avoid scams.
Showing the Love
Whether she wrote “I love you” with a big smiley face on the outside of your lunch bag or shouted it at you from the car window after dropping you off at school, Mom’s show of love could get downright humiliating.
While it may have been difficult to understand her motivation when you were a mortified pre-teen, as an adult you’re probably much better at spotting the lesson behind this behavior. Yes, paying your bills and bringing home the bacon are important things in life, but never lose sight of what’s really important – the people we love.