Isn’t it strange that the topic of money is still seen as a taboo subject in some households? When I was growing up, money wasn’t openly discussed, so I never had a realistic grasp of our financial situation. If I was told that we couldn’t afford something, I either assumed we were ‘poor’, or that my parents simply didn’t want to purchase the thing that I wanted.
In some households across the nation, the subject of money is still a bit of an enigma for our children. Despite the huge economical effect that the COVID 19 pandemic has had on financial situations across the globe, many children are still clueless when it comes to personal finances and money management.
It wasn’t until I fled the nest and began living on my own two feet that I started to learn more about how to handle my money. I was so inexperienced and found that I had no idea how to complete a lot of money-related tasks. I was never taught the things that I needed to know about money, and so I’m sharing 3 things I wish my parents had taught me about money today, in the hopes that it’ll help parents, teenagers, and children to openly discuss money within their family unit.
So without further ado, here are just 3 things that I wish my parents had taught me about money!
The cost of living is much, much higher than I ever expected.
First off, let’s just start with the basics. Before I moved out and started living in my own home, I had no idea how expensive the most common household items were. I remember being genuinely startled by how expensive basic things like cheese and toilet rolls were.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I wish my parents had taught me about money and prepared me for the cost of living. I found myself having to pay rent, council tax, and household bills – and that was all just so that I could survive with a roof over my head. Next, I had to figure out how on earth I was meant to afford the household bills, and then pay for things like the internet, phone contracts, running a car, and buying food each week.
When I was younger and I asked for something like a new toy or some new clothes, I’d always assumed that when my parents said they couldn’t afford it, it was code for “I don’t want to buy it.” Living on my own shed new light on this saying, and I realised then that maybe they truly couldn’t afford it. With the cost of living being so high, perhaps I had resented my parents for not buying me something when they may have wanted to, but simply couldn’t afford it.
If that was the case, I definitely think that I would have appreciated a discussion about money that would have explained this situation in an age-appropriate way.
That’s just one thing that I wish my parents had taught me about money when I was growing up. Next, we have…
Budgeting your incomings and outgoings takes practice.
After I realised how high the cost of living was, I had to try and figure out how to properly track my money. Having had no previous experience with personal finances, bar maybe figuring out what to spend my pocket money or paper round money on, this was a tough nut to crack.
I wish my parents had taught me about money and how to properly budget my monthly incomings and outgoings. For a long time, I just hoped for the best. I had money coming in and I estimated how much was going out. After a few months of this, the anxiety and uncertainty was too much for me to handle, so I decided to start taking budgeting seriously.
I set up a spreadsheet using Google Sheets and input all the information about my incomings and outcomings. When I realised how much money I had left in my account after all my necessary bills had left my account, I realised that I really had no clue at all about how much money I had to pay for food and other expenses. I wish my parents had taught me about money and how to properly track your expenditure, as well as how to create a practical budget that would help me to navigate my monthly expenditures.
Having an emergency fund is so important.
There is nothing worse than an unexpected bill. These big expenditures always seem to be so important and they always come at the worst time. For a while, I didn’t have an emergency fund, or any form of savings pot. I was spending all my leftover money instead of putting it to one side, and when the first unexpected bill hit me, I was completely unprepared.
I wish that my parents had taught me about money by explaining the importance of having an emergency fund, or some kind of savings scheme. Having this safety net would have been so useful when I first moved out of the family home and would have enabled me to stay calmer and a lot less stressed when the time came to tackle large, unexpected bills.