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Childhood Memories of Money

Last post Thu, Sep 8 2011 12:12 AM by RobertaD. 37 replies.
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  • Tue, Aug 30 2011 6:16 AM

    Childhood Memories of Money

    What Do You Remember About Money Managed by Your Parents? 

    Find a quiet space in your life and take a few minutes to reflect on your childhood. What do you remember about your parents or guardians while you were growing up? Did your family have a consistent source of income? Who paid the bills, mother, father, someone else? Were you  included, and did they show you what was spent for food, clothing or utilities? Were you completely excluded from the process? How did this influence your current spending?

  • Tue, Aug 30 2011 9:19 AM In reply to

    • Gary
    • Top 150 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 28 2007
    • Posts 412

    Re: Childhood Memories of Money

     My parents were raised during the depression. That experience left a lasting impression. They were very cautious about debt. Dad never wanted to owe anyone for anything.That translated into a thrifty lifestyle. As it turned out that was a good thing. Life threw them some health issues that were made easier because they had learned to live within their means. 

    All that left a lasting impression on me, too. I'm not as frugal as my parents, but still make every attempt to use money wisely. Guess it's not surprising that my work is all about helping others to do the same!

  • Tue, Aug 30 2011 9:53 AM In reply to

    Re: Childhood Memories of Money

    My dad worked outside the home & mom stayed at home with three kids until my brother started kindergarten.  During those years we managed--Dad brought home the check & Mom paid the bills. I remember that Dad was paid on Thursday, so we always did our grocery shopping that day after school.  Mom would deposit his check on Friday. 

    We might eat out once a week, either Friday or Saturday night.  I know we ate out with my maternal grandparents, who lived next door, but I don't know if dad paid for our meal or if my grandparent's did.  I'm pretty sure dad paid our way. 

    We wore hand-me-down clothes except for Christmas & Easter & my grandparents would buy us a dressy outfit for those two occasions.  We had a pair of tennis shoes, boots, & dress shoes.

    One winter, when mom was pregnant with her last baby, mom & dad rearranged the furnishings to try to cut off heat to some of the rooms in the house.  After a couple of months they saw there was not much different in the electric bill, so things went back to normal there.  As kids, we just thought it was fun that mom & dad's bed was in the living room, the dining room table was in the foyer, & the living room furniture was now in the eat-in kitchen.  My sister & I now slept in the guest room, closer to the main part of the house.  It was kind of like camping in your own house!

    Mom started working as a teacher's assistant when my brother started school.  This way she was still with us after school & during the summer.  She didn't make much, but she used all of that money to get cable tv & to put new clothes into layaway for us.  Every couple of months we would get to pick out a new outfit for ourselves.

    During the summers we would gather all of our change together to go to the "corner store" for a deli lunch or to get pizza delivery.  When I was in high school, I would have to raid my change bucket to help buy school supplies.

    As kids, we didn't know that we didn't have much, because all of our friends & family were in the same condition! Mom & Dad knew let on that we didn't have extras---I see know that all the extras we did have went to having all three kids in extra-curricular activities five days a week! Mom & Dad never got to do those things, so they put us into everything going in our small town---I don't know how we had time for homework, but I guess since mom was on our school schedule, we really did do most of our things from 3-5 p.m., getting home just as Dad did, & immediately sitting down for our family dinner.

  • Tue, Aug 30 2011 11:45 AM In reply to

    Re: Childhood Memories of Money

    My father was in the Royal Navy in Britain so he was away a lot.  We lived on a street where they was a few Navy families and we all helped one another out.  Sheila my Mum and Pat across the road used to borrow from each other and repay back on payday.  There was 4 kids in my family and when my Dadwas home on leave, he had a side job doing construction work to bring in extra money.  This stopped after he was promoted and got a decent wage.  But I do remember my Mum sitting at the dining room table and crying because all the money was gone and we had to eat bread and jam for dinner.  We survived and my parents got a freezer and we went to a farm and got sacks of carrots and peas and put them in the freezer.  Then they joined a freezer club and we choose meat to buy and put in the freezer once a month for a set price.  We also went to the strawberry fields and picked strawberries and also raspberries when they were ready too.

    Out of the 3 girls in the family, I am the only one that knows how to can, pressure cook and stretch a dollar in so many ways.  My youngest sister has been through  the mill and had some troubling times but she smoked for quite a few years and never managed to keep her family going on low wages quite the same as I did.  She was always asking for handouts and going to food banks, whereas I just did what I could by shopping the sales and scratch and dented cans etc.  Always checked to see if best before date had come and gone and asked for a reduction in price.  Mind you she had 4 kids herself and I only had 2.  But I had a very picky husband who would not eat a lot of items.  It was tough making dinner with meat and 2 veg every night and always making dessert too.  He would not eat any foreign foods (to him) like macaroni, italian dishes, chinese foods,rice, stir fries.  Had to be chicken, beef and sometimes fish and mainly english type meals.  His whole family was like that and still are. 

    My 2 daughters have watched me over the years and they are careful and good with their own wages etc.  Both have RRSP plans and earn a decent wage.


  • Tue, Aug 30 2011 12:06 PM In reply to

    • grame
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on Tue, Feb 22 2011
    • Kingdom of Callaway
    • Posts 1,950

    Re: Childhood Memories of Money

     Dad always worked and mom went back to work when my younger sister started school.  Six years after that, my brother came along and she stayed home again, providing daycare for other kids.  That lasted until my father was seriously injured and was off for 18 months.  Mom went back to work and kept working until she finally quit to help care for 2 elderly family members.

    When dad got paid we all went to the store as a family, so of course we overheard comments about what they could spend.  We did know that if they were really needing to watch funds, it was homemade potato soup (still one of my favorites).

    My parents had very different views on money so it is a good thing that mom took care of the finances!   Dad was from a hard working, but wealthy background,where money was not an issue.  Mom, on the otherhand, was from a single parent farm family.

    My mom's view point was that she was "tight" because she wanted to make sure she had money for the things that were really important.  And she did. 

    Except for the time when dad was hurt, money was never an issue.  We had a second house at the Lake of the Ozarks, money for me a car in high school, opportunities to visit Europe, go to college, etc.

    We were expected to buy our clothes if we wanted above what she thought was necessary when we started high school and provide our own spending money above $5 per week.  (Dad slipped me extra)  In other words, work for what we wanted instead of waiting until someone hands it to you.

    Dad was a different story.  He would bave bought us anything we wanted if he had control of all the money.  I used to have a little game I liked to call Take Dad Shopping.   The rules were simple, pick out an outfit, regardless of the price, then tell Dad about an upcoming event and that you would like to have a new shirt to wear.  After he set the time we would go.

    Now this next part is really important.  I would try on everything else in the store except the outfit (getting just a shirt was never an option) I really wanted.   Timing was key.  I would wait until I could see he was getting irritated and bored, then try on what I really wanted.

    By then he is telling me, "Just get something!",

    "Oh but Daddy, it's sorta' expensive",

    "I don't care!  Just get the d---n thing and lets GO!"

    Worked every time!

    Hmmm?  Wonder if that explains some of the money problems I had in the past?


    I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand. ~Susan B. Anthony
  • Tue, Aug 30 2011 12:47 PM In reply to

    Re: Childhood Memories of Money

    Hello Sallybabe 56, 

    Thank you for your message. It is interesting for us in the States to learn about life in Britain.

    The Virtual Thrift Club offers us an opportunity to share thoughts and strategies. Many of those you mentioned may be used by those of us in the USA.

    You mentioned that you learned to can, pressure cook, and stretch a dollar. I see these a ways you used limited resources to provide necessities for your family. 

    You mentioned your mother having a good friend in the neighborhood. The two of them supported each other. They borrowed from the other when there was a need, with the assurance that items would be returned.

    You said your 2 daughters watched you over the years and are careful and good with their wages. I think it is interesting to see how children, as adults, often echo the strategies their parents used.  

  • Tue, Aug 30 2011 1:19 PM In reply to

    Re: Childhood Memories of Money

    Hello grame,

    Thank you for the message on your childhood.

    You brought up some interesting points

    1. Two parents with different ideas on spenging money.
    2. A mother who did a good job on using family resources to best advantage.
    3. How your parants compromized and worked out their roles so that the family thrived. 



  • Tue, Aug 30 2011 1:31 PM In reply to

    Re: Childhood Memories of Money

    Hi whitney37354,

    Thank you for your message. I think it describes a family that really worked together to obtain those items that meant a lot. You had your share of deprivation but it seems you didn't dwell on it. Instead you accepted the need for managing money a little differently.

    I think those who practice Thrift frequently "think outside the box." To me that means that, when needed they will do things in slightly different way. They can be creative and try new strategies. This might mean freeing up money and supplies to obtain vital projects or items.


  • Tue, Aug 30 2011 5:19 PM In reply to

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 28 2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Re: Childhood Memories of Money

    My parents are not the sort to discuss money so I never really knew what was happening financially. I know that we never we really wanted for things.

    As a child I knew that my father was a work-a-holic who worked a shift on a push or tugboat in the oilfield and owned a fishing boat that he would use to shrimp commercially on his time off for extra income. My mother worked on and off as needed or when we were old enough for her to be able to manage a job.

    My mother was the bill payer and her best saving technique was to hide money from my father. Their best money strategy was owning instead of owing when it came to the big items. My grandparents gave my mother her grandfather's house to live in so we lived in a mortgage free house for years. My mother would save to pay cash for their vehicles.

    I have an own not owe attitude. My decision to do without if we can and use it up or wear it out comes from my grandparents.


    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager

  • Tue, Aug 30 2011 6:37 PM In reply to

    • Karen K
    • Top 75 Contributor
    • Joined on Tue, Feb 24 2009
    • New York Mills, MN
    • Posts 1,327

    Re: Childhood Memories of Money

    My childhood memories of my parents dealing with money are the "silent fights".  They never came right out and fought about money but I remember the fights.   They never showed me anything about living out on my own and paying bills, etc.  Now, I think we are doing ok when it comes to money.  We are self employed so we always have to consider what is around the bend.  My husband and I talk about everything ... everything.  Before we got married we made a conscious decision to not live and treat each other the way our parents did.

    My dad was a mechanic working on the big ships during the war and then on big trucks and semis when we were growing up.  I remember him being at home more than going to work.  He always had someones car in the yard to work on to make extra money and/or he was working on our car(s).  He was also the one who took care of the bills.  I'm not sure if my mother knew how to balance a checkbook or even write a check.  My mother was at home with us 5 kids until my youngest sister was in high school. 

    We lived on 80 acres in a house that was over 100yrs old.    I recently went through a ton of pictures that my dad had taken during our growing up years, that house was looking rough!  Between the family garden and growing our own meat and dairy, we never went without.  I know they didn't have much money but we were never without food, shoes and clothes.   As an adult I have learned that my grandparents - maternal - helped my parents alot. 

    So, did I answer the questions?  I am more influenced by how they treated each other as opposed to how my childhood influenced my adult spending habits.

    Karen K

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